st. isaac jogues

St. Isaac Jogues (1607–1646) was born in France, and at the age of 17 entered a Jesuit seminary. He was ordained in 1636 and sent as a missionary priest to the rugged wilderness of New France, now Canada, to work among the Huron and Algonquin Native American tribes. One day while traveling by canoe he was captured by a Mohawk-Iroquois war party. He was enslaved and ritually tortured. His hands were severely mutilated, with several fingers lost, which prevented his ability to say Mass. He continued to preach the faith despite his enslavement. After over a year in captivity he was able to escape with the help of Dutch settlers. He went back to France where he was honored as a “living martyr” and obtained special permission from the Pope to say Mass with his mutilated hands. Instead of continuing his life in peace, St. Isaac was zealous to return to his mission field. He returned to New France, and by that time a peace treaty was arranged between the warring native tribes allowing him to work among the Mohawks. However, when they suffered a crisis of crop failure and epidemic disease, the Mohawks blamed the Christians for sorcery and attacked the settlers. St. Isaac Jogues died after being tomahawked in the head, and his body was thrown into the Mohawk River. St. Isaac Jogues is the patron of the Americas and Canada. He and his companions were the first martyrs of the North American continent officially recognized by the Church. His feast day is October 19th.