News Detail
Society of Jesus in the U.S. Celebrates the Feast of the North American Martyrs

October 19, 2018 — Today, the Society of Jesus in the United States celebrates the Feast of the North American Martyrs, sometimes known as the Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions. The Jesuits in Canada celebrated the feast day on September 26.

The French Jesuit priests St. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) and St. John de Brebeuf (1593-1649) and their companions St. John de Lalande, St. René Goupil, St. Anthony Daniel, St. Charles Garnier, St. Gabriel Lalemant, and St. Noel Chabanel were among the first missionaries to the North American Indians, and were the first martyrs of North America. They served missions in remote areas of eastern Canada and New York state between 1625-1649.

 
  Clockwise from top: John de Brebeuf, Anthony Daniel, Charles Garnier, Isaac Jogues, Noël Chabanel, Gabriel Lalemant. Center: René Goupil and John Lalande

Although each of these missionaries had heard about the severe environment of the area called New France, none could fathom what the situation was actually like: disease, severe weather, lack of food, unsanitary living conditions, impassable forests, solitude and a hostile population. Travel was by canoe on treacherous waterways or walking for miles through dense insect-filled and uncharted forests.

Despite the anticipated hardships, the Jesuits sought out and even begged for missionary duties in North America. The Native Americans they sought to evangelize were primarily the Huron Nation made up of between 20,000 to 30,000 people. The Hurons lived mostly in the interior of Canada, some more than 1,000 miles from the primary Jesuit mission center at Québec.

The Jesuits were mostly accepted by the Hurons, but that was not the case with the Iroquois, who hated both the Hurons and the French. The French were trade partners with the Hurons and, as such, sided with them against their longtime enemies, the Iroquois. Aggravating the situation was the fact that in 1613 the early French explorers had used muskets against the Iroquois’ bow and arrows, slaughtering many Native people. 

 

In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized the whole group of missionaries, known as the eight North American Martyrs, whose feast the church now celebrates every October 19.

The National Shrine of the North American Martyrs is located in Auriesville, New York, the site of the martyrdom of St. Rene Goupil, St. Isaac Jogues and St. John de Lalande and also the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The Martyrs’ Shrine is located in Midland, Ontario, Canada. Saints John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, and Anthony Daniel died near this shrine.

[Sources: Our Sunday Visitor, Jesuit Curia,America Magazine, Catholic Culture, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online]





Recent News

November 15, 2018 — Kenyan Jesuit Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo, 62, was murdered on Nov. 15 when unknown assailants attacked the Daniel Comboni Jesuit Residence in Cueibet, South Sudan, where he resided.

November 14, 2018 ­­— The Society of Jesus in the U.S., Canada and Haiti welcomed 40 new Jesuit novices this fall at novitiates in California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Quebec and Haiti.

November 11, 2018 — Jesuit universities are recognized by many veterans’ associations as exemplary when it comes to reaching out and helping veterans succeed.

November 9, 2018 — Speaking on behalf of all adult Catholics, Pope Francis formally closed the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 28 by asking young people for forgiveness.

November 5, 2018 — Today is the feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus, when we remember the Jesuits who have lived Ignatian values in inspirational ways.

October 31, 2018 — Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ, patron saint of Jesuit brothers.


view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/29/18

America 10/22/18

America 10/15/18



Campion Renewal Center
Campion Renewal Center, situated 20 miles west of Boston, is located in a peaceful setting that provides plenty of walking trails through the woods and fields.