Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Notes on the Feast of the North American Martyrs.

In the Roman Catholic dioceses of the United States, today is the Feast of the North American Martyrs. Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Jean de la Lande, René Goupil, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Gabriel Lalemant and Noel Chabanel had very different personalities and died under differing circumstances, but all were bound together as Companions of Jesus and as men united in a common mission. Though accounts of the North American Martyrs' lives have traditionally emphasized the bravery with which they faced torture and death, their pioneering efforts at what we would now call inculturation also deserve note. Brébeuf, Jogues and their Companions were forced by circumstances to fit the Christian message into a very different mold than the Western European (and specifically French) environment which had nurtured their faith. I could say a lot more about the North American Martyrs - I happen to be a big fan - but I'll stop there. If you want a fresh perspective on their life and work, see what Rich has to say about them here. AMDG.


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