In the North American context these martyrs demonstrate for me the work of grace in the
face of tremendous hardship which some would say evil. As a child when visiting my grandparents on their farm in Fonda, New York, my family would make the trip for Mass to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, located in the beautiful Mohawk Valley. I learned early in my life that these martyrs, followed Jesus very closely, even to the point of identifying with Christ crucified and offering their total being to the point of death. The deaths of these men were particularly gruesome. The Gospel pericope for the feast and which focuses the mission is what Saint Matthew records: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Brief biographies of the martyrs
Jesuit Father John Hardon’s reflection on the North American martyrs
Jesuit Father James Martin’s reflection on the martyrs
St. Jean de Brebeuf
St. Nöel Chabanel
St. Anthony Daniel
St. Charles Garnier
St. Issac Joques
St. Gabriel Lalemant
St. Rene Goupil
St. Jean de la Lande
Father, you consecrated the first beginnings of the faith in North America by preaching and martyrdom of Saints John & Isaac and their companions. By the help of their prayers may the Christian faith continue to grow throughout the world.
It is said that Father Jogues succeeded in burying Brother Rene Goupil calling him a martyr, because slain in hatred of God and the Church, and of their sign which is the Cross, and while exercising ardent charity towards his neighbor.