St. Isaac Jogues
Isaac Jogues was born January 10, 1607 in Orleans, France. In 1624 he entered the Society of Jesus. After his ordination, he served as a professor, but in 1636 he was sent as a missionary to the natives of Canada. For six years he successfully preached to the Hurons in the regions around the Great Lakes, enduring many hardships. On August 3, 1642 he was taken prisoner by the Iroquois, the enemies of the Hurons and held in slavery for over a year, during which time he was tortured. He escaped with the help of Dutch Protestants and eventually made his way home to France. The priest, whose torture was obvious from his mutilated hands, was given great honor; Pope Urban VII called him a martyr of Christ and allowed him to say Mass, though at the time Church law would not ordinarily have allowed a priest without the use of the thumb and forefingers to offer Mass (because these fingers were specially consecrated at ordination). Because of his insistence, Father Isaac’s superiors reluctantly allowed him to return to Canada. When a peace treaty was signed with Iroquois, Isaac and a companion set out on a missionary journey to them; he was captured by a Mohawk war party and martyred on October 18, 1646. Isaac Jogues was canonized in 1930, along with seven other North American martyrs. The feast of these brave missionaries is celebrated on October 19.