Sts Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
by Catholic.org | Source: Catholic.org
In 1642 the Huron country was in great distress. Harvests were poor,
sickness abounded, and clothing was scarce. Quebec was the only source of supplies, and Isaac Jogues
was chosen to lead an expedition. It reached its objective safely and started back well supplied
with goods for the mission, but the Iroquois, the bitter enemies of the Hurons, and fiercest of all
Indian tribes, were on the war-path and ambushed the returning expedition. The story of the
ill-treatment and torture of the captives cannot be told here. Suffice it to say that Jogues and his
assistant, Rene Goupil, besides being beaten to the ground and assailed several times with knotted
sticks and fists, had their hair, beards and nails torn off and their forefingers bitten through.
What grieved them far more, was the cruelty practiced on their Christian converts. The first of all
the martyrs to suffer death was Rene Goupil, who was tomahawked on September 29, 1642, for having
made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children. This Rene Goupil was a remarkable man. He
had tried hard to be a Jesuit and had even entered the Novitiate, but his health forced him to give
up the attempt. He then studied surgery and found his way to Canada, where he offered his services
to the missionaries, whose fortitude he emulated. Rene Goupil is one of the North American martyrs
who died at the hands of the Indians between the years 1642-1649.
To read more about other Saints of the
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