The American Jesuits: A History

By Raymond A. Schroth | Go to book overview

3
The Pioneers

Jogues and Brébeuf Suffer the Ordeal

It is January 5, 1644, and a ragged traveler knocks at the door of the Jesuit college at Rennes, France. He is gaunt, poorly dressed in clothes that do not fit him. He is bearded and young, 38 years old, but, with thinning hair and a lined face, looks much older. His hands are mangled stumps, his left thumb is gone, and his forefingers, from which the nails have been torn, useless. He asks the porter if he may speak to the rector, for whom he has news from Canada.

The rector is vesting for Mass, but he lays aside his vestments to hurry to the door. This poor man, he says, may be in need.

The visitor hands him a packet of letters, but the rector peppers him with questions. Has he heard anything of Father Isaac Jogues?

“I knew him very well,” he answers.

“We have heard that he was taken by the Iroquois. Is he dead? Is he still captive? Have not those barbarians slain him?”

“He is at liberty,” the stranger replies. “And it is he, my Reverend Father, who speaks to you now.” Then he falls on his knees to ask the rector's blessing. Word spreads through the house and everyone rushes to see him. He is Lazarus raised from the dead.

In fact, he has less than two years to live.

Isaac Jogues, along with Jean de Brébeuf, is the best known of the eight North American Jesuits and their lay assistants who were martyred—Rene Goupil, Jean de Lalande, Gabriel Lallement, Charles Garnier, Noel Chabanel, and Antoine Daniel—in the story of the French penetration into New France. Their world, from the Jesuits' first arrival in French Canada in 1611 until their expulsion, in stages, in the 1770s, reached from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Northeast Canada down through the Canadian territory north of the river to and around the Great Lakes, in New England and upstate New York, and into the West and down the Mississippi River to Louisiana. Among

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The American Jesuits: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Part I - In the Beginning 1
  • Prologue: The First Sight 3
  • 1: The World Scene 15
  • 2: The Maryland Tradition 21
  • 3: The Pioneers 28
  • Part II - Suppression and Return 47
  • 4: Death and Resurrection 49
  • 5: The New America 58
  • 6: A Nation and Faith Divided 77
  • 7: Schoolmasters and Preachers 86
  • 8: The Turning Point 102
  • Part III - Engaging the World 113
  • 9: The Social Question 115
  • 10: At War 131
  • 11: The Cold War 146
  • 12: The Golden Age 170
  • Part IV - The Modern Society Emerges 197
  • 13: Freedom from Fear 199
  • 14: The Arrupe Era 217
  • 15: Into the 21st Century 259
  • Notes and Sources 285
  • Select Bibliography 297
  • Index 307
  • About the Author 313
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