The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about The Jesuit Missions .

There was a break in the mission in 1627.  Noue lacked the physical strength and the mental alertness essential to a missionary in these wilds.  Finding himself totally unable to learn even the rudiments of the Huron language, he returned to Quebec, since he did not wish to be a burden to Brebeuf.  For a year longer Brebeuf and the Recollet Daillon remained together at Toanche.  But in the autumn of 1628 Daillon left Huronia.  He was the last of the Recollets to minister to the Hurons.

Save for his French hired men, or engages, Brebeuf was now alone among the savage people.  In this awful solitude he laboured with indomitable will, ministering to his flock, studying the Huron language, compiling a Huron dictionary and grammar, and translating the Catechism.  The Indians soon saw in him a friend; and, when he passed through the village ringing his bell, old and young followed him to his cabin to hear him tell of God, of heaven the reward of the good, and of hell the eternal abode of the unrighteous.  But he made few converts.  The Indian idea of the future had nothing in common with the Christian idea.  The Hurons, it is true, believed in a future state, but it was to be only a reflex of the present life, with the difference that it would give them complete freedom from work and suffering, abundant game, and an unfailing supply of tobacco.

Brebeuf’s one desire now was to live and die among this people.  But the colony at Quebec was in a deplorable condition, as he knew, and he was not surprised when, early in the summer of 1629, he received a message requesting his presence there.  Gathering his flock about him he told them that he must leave them.  They had as a sign of affection given him the Huron name Echon.  Now Christian and pagan alike cried out:  ’You must not leave us, Echon!’ He told them that he had to obey the order of his superior, but that ’he would, with God’s grace, return and bring with him whatever was necessary to lead them to know God and serve Him.’  Then he bade them farewell; and, joining a flotilla of twelve canoes about to depart for Quebec, he and his engages set out.  They arrived at Notre-Dame-des-Anges on the 17th of July, to find the Jesuits there in consternation at the rumoured report of the approach of a strong English fleet.



Charles Lalemant, superior of the Jesuit mission, had no sooner landed on the shores of New France than he became convinced that the mission and the colony itself were doomed unless there should be a radical change in the government.  The Caens were thoroughly selfish.  While discouraging settlement and agriculture, they so inadequately provided for the support of the colony that the inhabitants often lacked food.  But the gravest evil, in Lalemant’s mind, was the presence of so many Huguenots.  The differences in belief were puzzling to the Indians, who naturally

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The Jesuit Missions : A chronicle of the cross in the wilderness from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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