St. Isaac Jogues and Companions

North_American_MartyrsSt. Isaac Jogues was one of several French missionaries who worked for the conversion of the native Indians of the Great Lakes area of North America. There was latent animosity between the Iroquois and the Hurons and their French allies which broke into the open in August, 1642. St. Isaac Jogues and the lay oblate Rene Goupil were seized and tortured by the Iroquois, and a number of Huron converts slain.

The Frenchmen were taken to the Iroquois camp at Ossernenon, the modern Auriesville, New York. There Goupil was martyred, but St. Isaac was helped by the Dutch to escape to Fort Orange (Albany). Well-treated by the New Netherlanders, be was allowed to return to France. At his own request, be returned to Montreal in 1644. In the same year Pere Bressani was also tortured, though ransomed by the Dutch. Meanwhile the Iroquois preyed upon the Huron settlements, eventually almost annihilating that tribe.

Despite his treatment, St. Isaac braved the Mohawk camp a second and third time as peace commissioner. Prospects were not entirely hopeless, but on October 18, 1646, he was tomahawked along with Jean le Lande by an irresponsible warrior who, nevertheless, was later converted. The Iroquois bloodlust was roused anew and brought martyrdom in 1648 to Daniel and Garnier, and in 1649 to Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant. Together with Noel Chabanel these martyrs were canonized by Pius XI in 1930. Besides these Jesuits, other priests and lay brothers were killed and numerous Catholic Hurons tortured and slain rather than yield the Faith.
(Adapted from Catholic Church History)