October 19: The North American Martyrs
Also known as Canadian Martyrs; Isaac Jogues and Companions; Jesuit Martyrs of North America; Martyrs of New France.
Memorial: 19 October; 26 September (Canada)
The eight North American martyrs, also known as the Candian Martyrs, the Jesuit Martyrs of North America or the Martyrs of France, included six priests and two lay brothers. They were heroic members of the Society of Jesus who were martyred in North America in order to bring the Faith that is necessary for salvation to the Huron, the Iroquois and the Mohawk Indians. Five of the eight North American martyrs were put to death in what is now Canada, and three of them in New York State. There is a shrine to the United States’ martyrs at Auriesville in New York, and there is a shrine to the Canadian martyrs at Fort Saint Mary near Midland, Ontario. The names of the eight North American martyrs are:
Saint Rene Goupil, a lay brother martyred in 1642 in New York State,
Saint Isaac Jogues, a priest,
Saint John de Lalande, a lay brother, martyred in 1646 in New York State,
Saint Anthony Daniel, a priest, martyred in Canada in 1648,
Saint John de Brebeuf,
Saint Charles Garnier,
Saint Noel Chabanel and
Saint Gabriel Lalemant, all priests, and all martyred in Canada in 1649.
Saint Isaac Jogues, after thirteen months’ imprisonment by the Mohawks, had several fingers cut off of his hand. He went back to Europe, but returned again to North America and was killed by tomahawk blows at Ossernenon, now called Auriesville, in New York State. Saint John de Brebeuf declared before he died, “I have a strong desire to suffer for Jesus Christ.” He was tortured terribly, and a burning torch was put into his mouth, which strangled him.
Saint Rene Goupil, thirty-five, was the youngest of the martyrs, and cried “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” as he died. Saint Noel Chabanel was thirty-six, and Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Gabriel Lalemant were thirty-nine. The oldest of the eight North American martyrs, Saint John de Brebeuf, was fifty-six when the Indians killed him.
They were canonized June 29 of 1930 by Pope Pius XI. Their memorial is October 19, and Spetember 26 in Canada.