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 .
they ascended the Illinois and then the river Des Plaines.  From the river Des Plaines they portaged their canoes to the Chicago river and descended it to Lake Michigan.  They arrived at Green Bay at the end of September, having travelled in all, since leaving this spot, over twenty-five hundred miles.  Marquette was too ill to go farther; and he remained at Green Bay to recruit his strength, while Jolliet hastened to Quebec to report to Frontenac the results of his expedition.  Unfortunately, the canoe in which Jolliet travelled was upset in the Lachine rapids and the papers containing his charts and the account of his journey were lost; however, he was able to piece out from memory the story of his Ulysses-like wanderings.

By the autumn of 1674 Marquette thought that he had completely recovered his health, and, having received permission from his superior, he set out for the Illinois country on the 25th of October to establish the mission of the Immaculate Conception.  He was accompanied on this journey by two assistants—­two true heroes—­known to history only as Pierre and Jacques, and a band of Potawatomis and Illinois.  In ten canoes the party paddled southward from Green Bay, for nearly a month buffeting the tempestuous autumn seas of Lake Michigan.  They ascended the Chicago river for six miles and encamped.  Marquette could go no farther; he was once more prostrated with illness, and a severe hemorrhage threatened to carry him off.  But his valiant spirit conquered, and during the winter he was able to minister to some Illinois, who were encamped a short distance away and who paid him occasional visits.  By the spring he had so far recovered that he decided to undertake the journey to the Mississippi, his heart set on founding a mission among the tribes there.  On the 13th of March he and his two helpers broke camp and portaged their canoe to the Des Plaines.  Near the junction of this river with the Illinois was the Indian town of Old Kaskaskia.  The Indians of this town gave him a welcome worthy of a conqueror, such as indeed he really was.  He went among them teaching and preaching; but brain and body were burning with fever; he felt that he had not long to live, and if he would die among his own people he must hasten home.  He summoned the Indians to a grand council.  And, in one of God’s first temples—­a meadow decked with spring flowers and roofed by the blue vault of heaven—­he preached to a congregation of over three thousand—­chiefs, warriors, women, and children.  His sermon finished, he blessed his hearers, and, leaving his words to sink into their hearts, bade them farewell.

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