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 .

At length a fishing and trading party of Mohawks took him to the Dutch settlement at Fort Orange (Albany).  Already the Dutch authorities had tried in vain to gain his release.  They now took advantage of his presence among them, generously braving the wrath of his tyrant masters, and aided him to escape.  He found shelter on a Dutch vessel and finally succeeded in reaching France.  The story of his capture had arrived before him, and his brothers in France welcomed him as a saint and martyr, as one miraculously snatched from the jaws of death.  But he had no thought of remaining to enjoy the cloistered quiet and peace of a college in France; back to the hardships and dangers of North America his unconquerable spirit demanded that he should go.  According to the rules of the Church he could not administer the sacraments with his mutilated hands; but, having obtained a special dispensation from the Pope, he once more fearlessly crossed the ocean, in search of the crown of martyrdom.

The next missionary to reach the Iroquois country was Father Joseph Bressani, an Italian priest who had been attracted to the Canadian mission-field through reading the Relations of the missionaries to Huronia.  On April 27, 1644, with six Hurons and a French boy twelve years old, he set out from Three Rivers.  It was thought that the Iroquois would not yet have reached the St Lawrence at this early time of the year; but this was an error, as the sequel proved.  A party of twenty-seven warriors in ambush surprised Bressani and his fellow-travellers, slew several of the Hurons, and carried the rest with Bressani and the French boy to the Mohawk towns.  Bressani they put to torture even more severe than that which Jogues had endured; not sparing the young lad, who manfully faced his tormentors till death freed him.  Bressani escaped death only because an old squaw adopted him; but so mangled were his hands, so burned and broken was his body, that she deemed her slave of little value and sent him with her son to Fort Orange to be sold.  The Dutch acted generously; paid a liberal ransom; and gave Bressani passage on a Dutch vessel, which landed him at La Rochelle on November 15, 1644.  But, like Jogues, his one thought was to return to New France; and in the following year we find him in Huronia, his mutilated hands, torn and broken by the enemies of the Hurons, mute but efficacious witnesses of his courage.

For a time the hopes of the Jesuits for a mission among the Iroquois were damped by the experiences of Jogues and Bressani.  But in 1645 an incident took place that opened the way for an attempt to carry the Gospel to this savage people.  A band of Algonquins captured several Mohawks and brought them to Sillery.  The captives fully expected to be tortured and burned; but the Jesuits at Quebec and the governor, Montmagny, were desirous of winning the goodwill of the Iroquois.  They persuaded the Algonquins to free the prisoners, then treated them kindly, and sent one of them home

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