Wednesday, June 10, 2009

God Story #6

Although I don't normally post about the Catholic believers in our Christian religion, St. Isaac Jogues was truly an individual who was dedicated to serving and helping others for the cause of Christianity. Trained as a Jesuit Priest in the early 1600's, St. Isaac was sent to New France in 1636 in what is now Michigan and Minnesota in the United States to minister to the Native Americans there. Unfortunately, Jogues faced many setbacks, trials, and tribulations in his brief ministry to these Indians. In 1642, while on his way by canoe to the country of the Hurons, Jogues was captured by a war party of Mohawk Iroquois, in the company of Guillaume Couture, René Goupil, and several Huron Christians. They were taken back to the Mohawk village where they were gruesomely tortured. It was during this torture that several of Jogues' fingers were cut off by this captors. Jogues survived this torment and went on to live as a slave among the Mohawks for some time, and what is even more admirable about him is that he even attempted to teach his captors the basics of Christianity. Eventually, with the help of some Dutch merchants passing through, he was able to make it to Manhattan and then back to France in 1644. As a "living martyr," Jogues was given a special permission by Pope Urban VIII to say Holy Mass with his mutilated hands, as the Eucharist could not be touched with any fingers but the thumb and forefinger. Yet the missionary of this great man was not dimmed by the unfortunate treatment he received from the Mohawks. Within a few months, he was on his way back to Canada in 1645 to resume ministering to them. After arriving there, a tentative peace was reached, and his ministry continued even he was finally martyred a year later in late 1646. Would to God that there would be more dedicated men and women that even after having their fingers cut off would still have a heart for helping foreign people in a foreign land! There is a statue in Auriesville, NY showing this man teaching two young children, shown here:

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