Monday, October 19, 2015

The Price of Canada II

Holy Canadian Martyrs

    The Holy Canadian Martyrs are eight Jesuit Missionaries and many Christian Hurons who died from 1643 to 1649 in,which was already  called  Canada. One was St. Isaac Jogues. He was captured by the Iroquois, was tortured, escaped and made it to France with the help of the Dutch. He begged to return to Canada where he was killed.

The following are excerpts from a letter written to his Provincial in France in 1643.
 “One old man led a woman toward me and commanded her to cut off my thumb...She cut off my thumb at the place where it is joined to my hand.......
I thank God for preserving my right thumb so that by writing this letter I may invite my Fathers and Brothers to pray for me at the Holy Sacrifice....

Just as we were leaving there the savage who brought me there regretting the loss of my shirt, was going to send me away completely naked except for a miserable, soiled loincloth....Moved by pity he gave me an old hempen cloth that....I could cover my shoulders and at least a part of my body. However my poor shoulders, sore from all the wounds and blows they had received , refused to bear this harsh, rough material , and since it covered me so poorly and in places not at all, while we were making our way in the heat of the sun, ‘my skin was burnt as in an oven’( Lam. 5:10) and soon began to peel from my neck, my shoulders and my arms.......

At the entrance to the second village, contrary to their custom of beating their captives only once, they did not moderate the blows they rained upon us in the least.

Stripped and bound, we spent the rest of the day on the stage and the night in a cabin on the bare ground. Persons of both sexes and all ages tormented us. As a matter of fact , we were handed over as playthings for the children and the adolescents . They threw coals and live embers on our bare flesh.  We could not throw them off because our hands were bound. This is the way the Iroquois apprentice their youth to cruelty and accustom them gradually to greater tortures. We spent two days and two nights there, with almost no food or sleep. My soul was in great interior anguish because from time to time , the savages would climb up on the stage and cut off the fingers of my Huron companions , or they would bind their wrists so tightly with hard ropes that they would lose consciousness.  Whereas each one of them bore his own pain, I endured those of all of them. I felt the same intense grief a loving father might experience at the sight of his own son’ sufferings. Indeed, except for a few who had been Christians for a long time, I had only recently by baptism brought forth in Christ all of them.....

Paul Ononhoraton, who died from a hatchet blow after the usual torment by fire in the village of Ossesmenon ...was a young man about twenty five years old possessing very great courage. It is men such as this that they prefer to put to death in order to diminish the vital forces of their enemies.  The hope of a better life gave this young man a strong contempt for death, which he did not hesitate to express during the journey. When the Iroquois approached me to tear off my fingernails or to do any other harm to me, he would offer himself in my place asking them to leave me and to vent their fury on him instead.  May our Lord frant him the hunderfold with interest for that outstanding charity , though which he gave his life for his friends and for those who, while in chains, had brought him forth in Jesus Christ.”

From: pp.261-267 , Francois Roustang, S. J. JESUIT MISSIONARIES TO NORTH AMERICA.