witness

By Diogenes (articles | Oct 19, 2007

Sjödin's Casual Minister line of clerical leisure wear hasn't made it to the apparel department of my local Wal-Mart yet, but for all that it suggests the ancient quarrel between the urgency of Christian discipleship and the comforts of worldliness has, in some quarters at least, been put to rest.

The triumph of Casual Ministry has a special poignancy on October 19th as the feast day of Saints Isaac Jogues and Jean de Brébeuf and their companions: Jesuit missionaries who gave their lives while serving in New France (Southeastern Canada and Northeastern United States) in the 17th century. The following account is condensed from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Isaac Jogues, who as a Jesuit had been a teacher of literature at Rouen before he was sent to the New World:

[After six years of missionary work in New France] Father Jogues was taken prisoner on 3 August, 1642, and after being tortured was carried to the Indian village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, on the Mohawk, about forty miles above the present city of Albany. There he remained for thirteen months in slavery. The Dutch Calvinists at Fort Orange (Albany) made constant efforts to free him, and at last, when he was about to be burnt to death, induced him to take refuge in a sailing vessel which carried him to New Amsterdam. From there he was sent across the ocean and landed Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany. Thence he found his way to the nearest college of the Society. He was received with great honor at the court of the Queen Regent and was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off.*

In early spring of 1644 he returned to Canada, and in 1646 was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He followed the same route over which he had been carried as a captive. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. He started for Quebec on 16 June and arrived there 3 July. He immediately asked to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary, but only after much hesitation his superiors acceded to his request. The Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards decapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk. Jogues was canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930, with seven other North American martyrs.

How we've grown.


*A helpful safeguard against over-accessorizing.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2009 6:58 PM ET USA

    Di, I think you've got it wrong. Not only does the President of the CCCB believe that you bloggers aren't part of the Church, but you guys just haven't read enough Hegel. http://www.archwinnipeg.ca/community.php

  • Posted by: adamah - Dec. 18, 2009 1:36 PM ET USA

    Excellent distinction.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2009 1:16 PM ET USA

    At least he had the vestige of decency to resign. So many of his equally guilty brother bishops remain in their sees and refuse to step down.