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Saint of the Day: St. Isaac Jogues and the Martyrs of North America

Missionaries to the New World

© wellcomeimages.org Le martyre d'Isaac Jogues, gravure de A. Malaer.

Jesuit Martyrs (d. 1642-1649)

Their story

+ The eight members of the Society of Jesus honored today were tortured and killed by Mohawk and Iroquois tribesmen near what is now Auriesville, New York.

+ Honored as the “North American Martyrs,” the group includes Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Gabriel Lallemant, Noël Chabanel, John de Lalande, and René Goupil. These missionaries preached the Gospel in a mission field that extended from present-day Nova Scotia to Maryland.

+ Motivated by a desire that God be known and loved, the missionaries committed themselves to serve the Native Americans amid extreme hardships, willingly accepting the likelihood of torture and death.

+ Saint Isaac Jogues and his companions were canonized in 1930 and their memorial was extended to the Universal Church in 1969.

For prayer and reflection

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, what can I give you in return for all the favors you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name. I vow before your eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, before your most holy Mother and her most chaste spouse, before the angels, apostles and martyrs, before my blessed fathers Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier—in truth I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy would offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.”—Saint Jean de Brébeuf

Spiritual bonus

On October 19 we also remember the priest and martyr Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko. A vocal opponent of the Communist regime in Poland, Father Jerzy worked closely with the “Solidarity” union movement. He was kidnapped and killed by the secret police on October 19 or 20, 1984; he was beatified in 2010.

Prayer

O God, who chose to manifest
the blessed hope of your eternal kingdom
by the toil of Saints John de Brébeuf,
Isaac Jogues and their companions
and by the shedding of their blood,
graciously grant that through their intercession
the faith of Christians may be strengthened day by day.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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