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North American Martyrs
North American Martyrs.jpg

Born France
Died 1642–1649, Canada and Upstate New York
Martyred by Iroquois
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified June 21, 1925, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Canonized June 29, 1930, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major shrine Martyrs' Shrine, Midland, Ontario, Canada
National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, New York
Feast September 26 (in Canada and among Traditional Roman Catholics)
October 19 (General Calendar)
Patronage Canada

The North American Martyrs, also known as the Canadian Martyrs or the Martyrs of New France, were eight Jesuit missionaries from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, who were martyred in the mid-17th century in Canada and upstate New York. The Martyrs are St. Jean de Brébeuf (1649),[1] St. Noël Chabanel (1649),[2] St. Antoine Daniel (1648),[3] St. Charles Garnier (1649),[2] St. René Goupil (1642),[4] St. Isaac Jogues (1646),[5] St. Jean de Lalande (1646),[6] and St. Gabriel Lalemant (1649).[1]

They were each killed during wars when the Iroquois attacked the Huron. The Jesuits had converted many of the Huron, although even among the Huron tribes, the priests were not universally trusted. Many Huron considered them to be evil shamans who brought death and disease wherever they travelled. Their arrival had coincided with epidemics after 1634 of smallpox and other infectious diseases, to which the Natives had no immunity. (Epidemiological studies have shown the diseases were likely carried by the increased number of children immigrating after 1634 with families from cities in nations where smallpox was endemic, such as France, England and the Netherlands). The Iroquois considered the Jesuits legitimate targets, as the missionaries were nominally allies of the Huron. They had often helped organize resistance to Iroquois invasions.



See also


  1. ^ a b Jesuit Relations vol 35, IV
  2. ^ a b Jesuit Relations vol 40, LXXXIII
  3. ^ Jesuit Relations vol 33, LXVII
  4. ^ Jesuit Relations: 28, "Account of René Goupil (donné)," by Father Isaac Jogues
  5. ^ Jesuit Relations: 31, VIII
  6. ^ Jesuit Relations vol 34, LXIV
  7. ^ Time Magazine, July 7, 1930: "The Pope's Week"
  8. ^ Martyr's Shrine, Auriesville

Further reading

  • Fisher, Lillian M. (2001). The North American Martyrs: Jesuits in the New World. Boston: Pauline Books & Media. ISBN 0-8198-5132-9. 


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