The North American Martyrs were a group of French Jesuit missionaries and their lay associates working among the Native American peoples of Canada and upstate New York. They were killed between 1642 and 1649, and were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. The Martyrs are St. Jean de Brébeuf (1649), St. Noël Chabanel (1649), St. Antoine Daniel (1648), St. Charles Garnier (1649), St. René Goupil (1642), St. Isaac Jogues (1646), St. Jean de Lalande (1646), and St. Gabriel Lalemant (1649). These were men of tremendous personal courage who saw martyrdom as a goal to be sought rather than avoided. An excerpt from one of Father Brebeuf’s letters gives a sensse of ther outlook:
Jesus Christ is our true greatness; it is He alone and His Cross that should be sought in following after these people. For if you strive for anything else, you will find nothing but bodily and spiritual affliction. But having found Jesus Christ in His Cross, you have found the roses in the thorns, sweetness in bitterness, all in nothing.
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