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 .

The story brought to Cape Victory was that the tragedy had been due to the treacherous conduct of three evil-hearted Hurons who coveted the goods the priest had with him.  On the advice of the traders, who feared that the Hurons were in no spirit to receive the missionaries, Brebeuf and Daillon concluded not to attempt the ascent of the Ottawa for the present, and returned to Quebec.  Ten years later, such a report would not have moved Brebeuf to turn back, but would have been an added incentive to press forward.



The Jesuits, with the exception of Brebeuf, spent the winter of 1625-26 at the convent of the Recollets, no doubt enduring privation, as at that time there was a scarcity of food in the colony.  Brebeuf, eager to study the Indians in their homes, joined a party of Montagnais hunters and journeyed with them to their wintering grounds.  He suffered much from hunger and cold, and from the insanitary conditions under which he was compelled to live in the filthy, smoky, vermin-infested abodes of the savages.  But an iron constitution stood him in good stead, and he rejoined his fellow-missionaries none the worse for his experience.  He had acquired, too, a fair knowledge of the Montagnais dialect, and had learned that boldness, courage, and fortitude in suffering went far towards winning the respect of the savages of North America.

On the 5th of July the eyes of the colonists at Quebec were gladdened by the sight of a fleet of vessels coming up the river.  These were the supply-ships of the company, and on the Catherine, a vessel of two hundred and fifty tons, was Champlain, on whom the Jesuits could depend as a friend and protector.  In the previous autumn Lalemant had selected a fertile tract of land on the left side of the St Charles, between the river Beauport and the stream St Michel, as a suitable spot for a permanent home, and had sent a request to Champlain to secure this land for the Jesuits.  Champlain had laid the request before the viceroy and he now brought with him the official documents granting the land.  Nine days later a vessel of eighty tons arrived with supplies and reinforcements for the mission.  On this vessel came Fathers Philibert Noyrot and Anne de Noue, with a lay brother and twenty labourers and carpenters.

The Jesuits chose a site for the buildings at a bend in the St Charles river a mile or so from the fort.  Here, opposite Pointe-aux-Lievres (Hare Point), on a sloping meadow two hundred feet from the river, they cleared the ground and erected two buildings—­one to serve as a storehouse, stable, workshop, and bakery; the other as the residence.  The residence had four rooms—­a chapel, a refectory with cells for the fathers, a kitchen, and a lodging-room for the workmen.  It had, too, a commodious cellar, and a garret which served as a dormitory for the lay brothers.  The buildings were of roughly hewn planks, the seams plastered with mud and the roofs thatched with grass from the meadow.  Such was Notre-Dame-des-Anges.  In this humble abode men were to be trained to carry the Cross in the Canadian wilderness, and from it they were to go forth for many years in an unbroken line, blazing the way for explorers and traders and settlers.

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