Saturday, October 20, 2007

Isaac Jogues

Yesterday, the 19th of October, marked the feast day of one of my favorites: Saint Isaac Jogues, Catholic Priest and missionary to the New World. Father Jogues was an instrument of God who dedicated his entire life to the commision of Our Lord, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

Fitting and noble then to recall that it is to men like St. Jogues you and I are indebted. 361 years ago Thursday, Isaac Jogues passed from this life into the next and heard these words addressed to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant...Enter into the joy of your lord." (Mt 25:23)

Condensed from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
[After six years of missionary work in New France] Father Jogues was taken prisoner on 3 August, 1642, and after being tortured was carried to the Indian village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, on the Mohawk, about forty miles above the present city of Albany. There he remained for thirteen months in slavery. The Dutch Calvinists at Fort Orange (Albany) made constant efforts to free him, and at last, when he was about to be burnt to death, induced him to take refuge in a sailing vessel which carried him to New Amsterdam. From there he was sent across the ocean and landed Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany. Thence he found his way to the nearest college of the Society. He was received with great honor at the court of the Queen Regent and was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off.

In early spring of 1644 he returned to Canada, and in 1646 was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He followed the same route over which he had been carried as a captive. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. He started for Quebec on 16 June and arrived there 3 July. He immediately asked to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary, but only after much hesitation his superiors acceded to his request. The Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards decapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk. Jogues was canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930, with seven other North American martyrs.

1 comment:

pyrosapien2819 said...

I am not that strong. I can only pray that my cross and my struggles don't take me to where he went, because I'm not sure what I would do. I know what I'd hope to do, just not sure I would do it.

Lord increase my strength and fortitude.