25 September 2008

September 26, 2008: St. Isaac Jogues and St. Jean de Brebeuf

Tomorrow being their feast day (though only a commemoration this year due to Ember Friday, here is a repost from last year:

Today is a good day to pray for the intercession of these holy martyrs, and to spiritually accompany the Annual Pilgrimage for Restoration to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs.

From Wikipedia:

Saint Isaac Jogues (January 10, 1607 – October 18, 1646) was a Jesuit missionary who traveled and worked among the Native Americans in North America. He gave the original European name to Lake George, calling it Lac du Saint Sacrement, Lake of the Holy Sacrament. He is regarded as a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1930 Jogues, St. Jean de Brébeuf and six other martyred missionaries, all Jesuits or laymen associated with them, were canonized as "The North American Martyrs," or "St. Isaac Jogues and Companions." Their feast day is October 19 in the U.S., September 26 in Canada (note: Sept. 26 is their feast day in the traditional calendar, even in the U.S.).

Born in Orléans, France, Jogues entered the Society of Jesus in 1624. In 1642, he was sent to New France as a missionary to the Huron and Algonquin allies of the French. While on his way by canoe to the country of the Hurons, Jogues was captured by a war party of Mohawk Iroquois, in the company of Guillaume Couture, René Goupil, and several Huron Christians. Taken back to the Mohawk village, they were tortured in various gruesome ways, Jogues himself having several of his fingers bitten or burned off.

Jogues survived this torment and went on to live as a slave among the Mohawks for some time, even attempting to teach his captors the rudiments of Christianity. He was finally able to escape thanks to the pity of some Dutch merchants who smuggled him back to Manhattan. From there, he managed to sail back to France, where he was greeted with surprise and joy. As a "living martyr," Jogues was given a special permission by Pope Urban VIII to say the Holy Mass with his mutilated hands, as the Eucharist could not be touched with any fingers but the thumb and forefinger.

Yet his ill-treatment by the Mohawks did not dim the missionary zeal of Jogues. Within a few months, he was on his way back to Canada to continue his work. In 1645, a tentative peace was forged between the Iroquois and the Hurons, Algonquins and French. In the spring of 1646, Jogues was sent back to the Mohawk country along with Jean de Lalande to act as ambassador among them.

However, some among the Mohawks regarded Jogues as a sorcerer, and when the double-calamity of sickness and crop failure hit the Mohawks, Jogues was a convenient scapegoat. On October 18, 1646, Jogues was clubbed to death and beheaded by his Mohawk hosts near Auriesville, New York, along with Goupil and LaLande.

Today, the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, maintained by the Jesuits, stands on or near the site (ten years after Jogues' death, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in approximately the same place). Brebeuf and five of his companions were killed in Canada in 1648 and 1649.


Anonymous said...

Did you ever notice how zealous missionary work has basically ceased since Vatican II. Nowadays they go to Third World countries and dig wells and call that missionary work. The reason why, I think, is this doctrine from Vatican II: "For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man." Paragraph 22 of the Pastoral Const. on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes. John Paul II repeated that quotation in many of his writings and speeches. If Christ is united in any fashion to every man, then what is Baptism for? I believe it is indisputable that today's Catholic Church holds that St. Isaac Jogues's theology was flawed, since St. Jogues believed that if he didn't get those Indians baptized and into the Catholic Church, they, the Indians, has little or no chance of gaining eternal salvation. But today, the Catholic Church says that all persons who follow their conscience sincerely have an equal chance of gaining eternal salvation, regardless of which religion they are in or even if they have no religion. I know this shocks some Catholics to hear. But read the documents of the Vatican II Council, and read the new Catechism, and you will see that the Church really has shifted on this. Pope Pius XII said, in Mystici Corporis, that non-Catholics had a possibility of salvation, but that it was definitely a reduced chance for those outside the Catholic Church. But that proviso, that qualification, is gone from all documents issued since 1962. If the writer-editor of this blog knows of any case of that proviso being stated in the Vatican II Renewal Era (1962 to present), I would like to know of it. I would be grateful if he would post it. This new teaching that all men are united to Christ and can be saved equally well in any religion as long as they sincerely follow their conscience is the foundation of the Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Dialogue that was begun with Vatican II. If St. Jogues were working in the mission field today, he would be setting up Inter-Faith Dialogue with the Mohawk Indians, wouldn't he? Isn't this just the reality? Tell me if I'm wrong, but, if you do, please quote some official document from the Vatican II Renewal Era (1962 to present). Thanks you. Lord have mercy.

thetimman said...

OK, anon, you get one crack at this.

Certainly, there appears to be a lessening of zealous missionary activity in certain places by certain orders, but this is not because any teaching of the Church has changed. It is the fault of those orders and persons who compromise with the world and leave their fellows in the dark of ignorance, and not the fault of the Church. I don't think the missionaries of the Institute of Christ the King in Gabon, for instance, would merit such a criticism.

In any event, Mortalium Animos, Unam Sanctam and Mystici Corporis are as valid as ever. The Catholic Church is the One True Church and already possesses the trait of unity. The author of Dominus Iesus (issued after the second vatican council) sits on the throne of Peter. Just becase order X has become a social service organization without imparting faith doesn't diminish the glory of the Catholic Church one iota.

Your quote from Gaudium et Spes does not prove your point. It is susceptible of more than one interpretation. As such, as a Catholic you must interpret it in light of the unchanging faith. And so the answer is not problematic. All human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus is God, the Word apart from Whom nothing was made, as St. John tells us. Therefore, he is united in "some way" with all men. Doesn't mean they're all going to heaven.

Many of those who are proponents of "ecumenism" and "interreligious dialogue" are way off base. Non-Catholic in many practical ways. I can think of some in this Archdiocese, as any casual reader of this blog can attest. However, that doesn't mean they are right. A truly charitable relation with other religions always has the end of imparting the true faith. To the extent is doesn't, it is misdirected.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend the book; A Saint Among the Savages by Father Francis Xavier Talbot S.J. It is inspiring and difficult to put down.

Reading about him and the North American Martyrs led us to make 2 trips to the North American Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, one during this past summer vacation. While the Coliseum (Church on the grounds of the Shrine) is old, tattered and 'in the round', we were able to venerate relics of the saints that were on display in the building. There is a rather large Stations of the Cross walking path with several outdoor Altars that are used in processions, but most of all, there is the Ravine!

The Ravine is a large, undeveloped, mostly untouched by man area that encompasses the spot where St. Rene Goupil was martyred and subsequently buried in secret by St. Isaac Jogues. It is one of THE most peaceful, serene and 'holy' places you can find in North America. Sitting and meditating there, one can truly feel the Presence of God.

I highly, highly recommend it! It is also in one of the most beautiful parts of Upstate New York. A Spring, Summer or Fall trip (very beautiful in the Fall) but you might want to avoid winter...unless you like snow.

Mark S.
New Haven, MO