St. Isaac Jogues, St. John de Brébeuf & Companions, Martyrs

St. Isaac and St. John were among eight missionaries who worked among the Huron and Iroquois Indians in the New World in the seventeenth century. They were devoted to their work and were accomplishing many conversions. The conversions, though, were not welcomed by the tribes, and eventually St. Isaac was captured and imprisoned by the Iroquois for months. He was moved from village to village and was tortured and beaten all along the way. Eventually he was able to escape and return to France. But zeal for his mission compelled him to return, and to resume his work among the Indians when a peace treaty was signed in 1646. His belief that the peace treaty would be observed turned out to be false hope, and he was captured by a Mohawk war party and beheaded.

St. John worked among the Iroquois and ministered to them amid a smallpox epidemic. As a scholastic Jesuit, he was able to compose a catechism and write a dictionary in the Huron language, which made possible many conversions. He was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Iroquois.

St. Isaac, St. John and their companions inspire us to take up the mission: to make Christ known, relying on the treasure of grace he brings us and promises us, and accepting that this world’s glory is not worth our aspirations. This will not be easy, of course, in a culture that largely rejects the promises of heaven in its pursuit of instant gratification. But perhaps the witness of these French Jesuits would help us to bravely witness to the Truth with the same zeal for the mission that they did. Our mission may not be to a culture so different to us as the Indian cultures were to these men, but that mission is none the less vital to the salvation of the world.

Ss. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions, Martyrs

St. Isaac and St. John were among eight missionaries who worked among the Huron and Iroquois Indians in the New World in the seventeenth century. They were devoted to their work and were accomplishing many conversions. The conversions, though, were not welcomed by the tribes, and eventually St. Isaac was captured and imprisoned by the Iroquois for months. He was moved from village to village and was tortured and beaten all along the way. Eventually he was able to escape and return to France. But zeal for his mission compelled him to return, and to resume his work among the Indians when a peace treaty was signed in 1646. His belief that the peace treaty would be observed turned out to be false hope, and he was captured by a Mohawk war party and beheaded.

St. John worked among the Iroquois and ministered to them amid a smallpox epidemic. As a scholastic Jesuit, he was able to compose a catechism and write a dictionary in Huron, which made possible many conversions. He was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Iroquois.
St. Isaac, St. John and their companions inspire us to take up the mission: to make Christ known, relying on the treasure of grace he brings us and promises us, and accepting that this world’s glory is not worth our aspirations. This will not be easy, of course, in a culture that largely rejects the promises of heaven in its pursuit of instant gratification. But perhaps the witness of these French Jesuits would help us to bravely witness to the Truth with the same zeal for the mission that they did. Our mission may not be to a culture so different to us as the Indian cultures were to these men, but that mission is none the less vital to the salvation of the world.

Ss. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions, Martyrs

St. Isaac and St. John were among eight missionaries who worked among the Huron and Iroquois Indians in the New World in the seventeenth century. They were devoted to their work and were accomplishing many conversions. The conversions, though, were not welcomed by the tribes, and eventually St. Isaac was captured and imprisoned by the Iroquois for months. He was moved from village to village and was tortured and beaten all along the way. Eventually he was able to escape and return to France. But zeal for his mission compelled him to return, and to resume his work among the Indians when a peace treaty was signed in 1646. His belief that the peace treaty would be observed turned out to be false hope, and he was captured by a Mohawk war party and beheaded.

St. John worked among the Iroquois and ministered to them amid a smallpox epidemic. As a scholastic Jesuit, he was able to compose a catechism and write a dictionary in Huron, which made possible many conversions. He was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Iroquois.

St. Isaac, St. John and their companions inspire us to take up the mission: to make Christ known, relying on the treasure of grace he brings us and promises us, and accepting that this world’s glory is not worth our aspirations.  This will not be easy, of course, in a culture that largely rejects the promises of heaven in its pursuit of instant gratification.  But perhaps the witness of these French Jesuits would help us to bravely witness to the Truth with the same zeal for the mission that they did. Our mission may not be to a culture so different to us as the Indian cultures were to these men, but that mission is none the less vital to the salvation of the world.

Ss. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions, Martyrs

Today’s readings
Mass for the school children.

When I was your age, I used to like watching movies about the “wild west,” and playing cowboys and Indians.  It was fun to think about our history in those days and to re-enact what we thought it must have been like.  But the truth is, the history of the frontier that included our nation was pretty dark, and pretty barbaric, and quite often very sad.  Just like in lots of times and places in the world and in history, men and women who were people of faith gave their lives for the faith.  Life was dangerous and brutal, but courageous people brought faith to this land.

Saints Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf were Jesuits from France.   They lived in the seventeenth century and worked among the various Indian tribes, bringing them the Christian faith.  Father Isaac worked among the Huron Indians.  The Hurons were constantly being attacked by the Iroquois.  Father Isaac was captured and tortured for thirteen months.  When he finally managed to escape back to France, he returned with many fingers missing from his torture.  Priests aren’t allowed to say Mass if they don’t have all of their hands, but Father Isaac received special permission to say Mass from Pope Urban VIII who said, “It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ be not allowed to drink the Blood of Christ.”  Now you’d think that having escaped to safety, Father Isaac would have stayed put, but he didn’t.  He still had a deep concern and love for his friends the Huron Indians and so he returned to the New World.  But on the way, he was captured by a Mohawk Indian party who tomahawked and beheaded him on October 18, 1646.

Father John de Brébeuf lived and worked in Canada for 24 years until the English expelled the Jesuits from the land.  He returned four years later, also to work among the Hurons.  He composed catechisms and a dictionary in Huron, and saw 7,000 people converted to the faith before his death.  He was captured by the Iroquois and died after four hours of extreme torture.

Father Isaac and Father John were two of eight Jesuits who gave their lives for the faith in North America.  They were canonized – made saints – in 1930.  They knew what Jesus meant in today’s Gospel when he said, “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.  Do not be afraid.  You are worth more than many sparrows.”  Those eight men lived during very dangerous times.  They had seen a lot of violence in the New World, but they were not afraid.  They gave their lives willingly so that people would come to know the Lord Jesus who gave his own life for all of us.

Now, you probably won’t ever have to decide whether to keep believing in Jesus and die or renounce him and live.  But you absolutely will have to decide to keep believing in Jesus even when it’s unpopular.  To believe even when your friends want to do something wrong.  Even when you are tempted to cheat in school, make fun of someone because everyone else is doing it, or try drugs, or look at things on the Internet you’re not supposed to, or hang out with the wrong crowd.  It’s going to be hard and maybe even a little scary to say no to those things and yes to your faith in God.  But that’s what Jesus is asking you to do today.  And he is telling you not to be afraid to do that, not to be afraid to stand up for your faith.  Because he will help you do the right thing.  And saints like Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf will intercede for you and will be your guides.  All you have to do is to decide to do the right thing.  Remember, Jesus tells you today, God takes care of even the little sparrows.  And you are worth more than many, many sparrows!

St. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions, Martyrs

Today’s readings

St. Isaac and St. John were among eight missionaries who worked among the Huron and Iroquois Indians in the New World in the seventeenth century. They were devoted to their work and were accomplishing many conversions. The conversions, though, were not welcomed by the tribes, and eventually St. Isaac was captured and imprisoned by the Iroquois for months. He was moved from village to village and was tortured and beaten all along the way. Eventually he was able to escape and return to France. But zeal for his mission compelled him to return, and to resume his work among the Indians when a peace treaty was signed in 1646. His belief that the peace treaty would be observed turned out to be false hope, and he was captured by a Mohawk war party and beheaded.

St. John worked among the Iroquois and ministered to them amid a smallpox epidemic. As a scholastic Jesuit, he was able to compose a catechism and write a dictionary in Huron, which made possible many conversions. He was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Iroquois.

St. Isaac, St. John and their companions inspire us to take up the mission: to make Christ known, relying on the treasure of grace he brings us and promises us, and accepting that this world’s glory is not worth our aspirations.  This will not be easy, of course, in a culture that largely rejects the promises of heaven in its pursuit of instant gratification.  But perhaps the witness of these French Jesuits would help us to bravely witness to the Truth with the same zeal for the mission that they did. Our mission may not be to a culture so different to us as the Indian cultures were to these men, but that mission is none the less vital to the salvation of the world.

St. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions, Martyrs

Today’s readings

St. Isaac and St. John were among eight missionaries who worked among the Huron and Iroquois Indians in the New World in the seventeenth century. They were devoted to their work and were accomplishing many conversions. The conversions, though, were not welcomed by the tribes, and eventually St. Isaac was captured and imprisoned by the Iroquois for months. He was moved from village to village and was tortured and beaten all along the way. Eventually he was able to escape and return to France. But zeal for his mission compelled him to return, and to resume his work among the Indians when a peace treaty was signed in 1646. His belief that the peace treaty would be observed turned out to be false hope, and he was captured by a Mohawk war party and beheaded.

St. John worked among the Iroquois and ministered to them amid a smallpox epidemic. As a scholastic Jesuit, he was able to compose a catechism and write a dictionary in Huron, which made possible many conversions. He was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Iroquois.

St. John prayed for the grace to accept the martyrdom he knew he may one day have to suffer. He wrote about it in his diary:

May I die only for you, if you will grant me this grace, since you willingly died for me. Let me so live that you may grant me the gift of such a happy death. In this way, my God and Savior, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it. My God, even if all the brutal tortures which prisoners in this region must endure should fall on me, I offer myself most willingly to them and I alone shall suffer them all.

What we see in St. Isaac and St. John and their companions is that we can never relax our zeal for the mission. Whatever the costs to us, Christ must be made known, those who do not believe must be converted, and sin must be driven out of every time and place. Today’s Gospel reading calls us to store up treasure in heaven, knowing that the things of this world are fading.  St. Isaac, St. John and their commandments inspire us to do this very thing: making Christ known, relying on the treasure of blessing he brings us and promises us, and accepting that this world’s glory is not worth our aspirations.  This will not be easy, of course, in a culture that largely rejects the promises of heaven in its pursuit of instant gratification.  But perhaps the witness of these French Jesuits would help us to bravely witness to the Truth with the same zeal for the mission that they did. Our mission may not be to a culture so different to us as the Indian cultures were to these men, but that mission is none the less vital to the salvation of the world.