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

Missionaries to the New World

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© 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

My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings.”—Saint Isaac Jogues

Spiritual bonus

On October 19 we also remember Blessed Thomas Hélye. Trained as a teacher and having served for some time in education administration in the area around Cherbourg, France, felt called to dedicate himself to prayer and penance and was ordained a priest in 1235. Known for his gifts of preaching and evangelization, he served a missionary, traveling from village to village, seeking to strengthen the faith of all those he encountered. Blessed Thomas died in 1257 and devotion to the holy priest was approved by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1859.

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,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

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

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