The North American Martyrs

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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All Hallows College, Ireland (1840)
Catholics in Public Service: Senator Francis Kernan, New York (1816-1892)
All Saints Day Homily, St. Paul the Apostle, Manhattan, 1913
Catholic Poetry: “Believe and Take Heart,” by John Lancaster Spalding
About Pat McNamara
  • Sal

    The 1991 Bruce Beresford film "Black Robe" is an account of similar missionaries. One of the North American martyrs (can't remember which one) makes a brief, but critically important, appearance in a flashback explaining the young priest protagonist's decision to become a missionary.Beautifully filmed and very evocative- I call it the 'coldest film ever'- but NOT for young viewers. Some adult content and graphic violence.