Thursday 13th May 2021

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Jean De Brébeuf

January 5, 2021 saints No Comments

By DEB PIROCH

Perhaps Jean de Brébeuf’s future was inevitable, for he was born in Normandy, France, on the Feast of the Annunciation, 1593. And 29 years later we believe he said his first Mass on that same Feast of the Annunciation, 1622. Thus, perhaps we should not be surprised that he authored the first Canadian Christmas carol, celebrating our Lord’s birth.
We don’t know much of Jean’s early life; he was from a well-to-do family and was sickly, thought to have had tuberculosis. However, his health must have improved because three years after Ordination he traveled as a missionary to the New World.
His teachers had neglected to note an outstanding ability for languages, which turned out to be indispensable to his chosen profession. Indeed, he attributed the lack of converts to a failure in Jesuits to learn the native tongues faster. Brébeuf not only learned Huron, he wrote a grammar and then translated a catechism into Huron.
About seven years before his death he also penned the first Canadian Christmas carol. Below follows a more literal translation than the one commonly sung. Entitled, Jesuous Ahattonnia, or Jesus, He Is Born, it was written in the Wyandot, language of the Huron.

Let Christian men take heart today
The devil’s rule is done;
Let no man heed the devil more,
For Jesus Christ is come
But hear ye all what angels sing:
How Mary Maid bore Jesus King.
Iesus Ahattonnia, Jesus is born, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Three chieftains saw before Noel
A star as bright as day,
“So fair a sign,” the chieftains said,
“Shall lead us where it may.”
For Jesu told the chieftains:
“The star will bring you here to me.”
Iesus Ahattonnia, Jesus is born, Iesus Ahattonnia.
(Translation: Julie Pyle)

Privation existed everywhere in the New World. Travel was arduous, food hard to come by, and there was constant danger from Indians. But by 1626 Brébeuf was ministering happily amongst the Huron. Due to squabbles over Quebec between the French and the English, he was forced to absent himself four years but then returned. Traveling back meant traversing some 800 miles over land and water and foraging for food with great difficulty, but he was warmly welcomed on his return.
Priests like Brébeuf were under no illusions; they were aware they lived a life fraught with danger and could be martyred at any time. The Huron population alone was decimated by smallpox, unwittingly brought by Europeans. Yet the Hurons had no antibodies to fight the disease and lost half of their population by 1640, some 15,000 dead.
Naturally, among a superstitious population, it was easy to blame the black-robed fathers, seen sprinkling water and using “magic” on their people. Nevertheless, we are grateful to the Jesuits, not just for their heroic sacrifice and courage, but also to them for their regular reports back home; these form the earliest ethnographic studies among the natives, 1633-1673. Known as The Jesuit Relation, two centuries later the reports were assembled and indexed for posterity and number over 70 volumes, telling us of their lives, their struggles and experiences in this wilderness of North America.
In addition to Brébeuf”s official reports, some fragments of his spiritual writings were found after his death by his superior, Fr. Paul Ragueneau, written variously in Latin and French. These contained details of his visions and mystical experiences. One remarkable aspect is that he chose to take an extra vow, one of martyrdom. Here is an excerpt:
“I then make a vow, — in the presence of your Eternal Father and of the Holy Ghost; in the presence of your most sacred Mother, and of her most chaste spouse, St. Joseph; before the Angels, the Apostles and Martyrs, and my blessed Fathers St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, — yes, my Saviour Jesus, I make a vow to you never to fail, on my side, in the grace of martyrdom, if by your infinite mercy you offer it to me some day, to me, your unworthy servant.”
Brébeuf had visions of our Lord, St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints. The cross was a central theme. He also was confronted by demonic images which did not faze him at all. His only fear was not pleasing our Lord.
Today it is almost de rigueur to lament in ignorant, secular circles how the Europeans “interfered” with the habits of native peoples in converting them to Christianity. What these observers conveniently ignore is human sacrifice, torture, oppression of women, and other horrific practices that only ended with Christianity. The Huron worshipped false gods, were neither monogamous nor chaste, and both Fathers Brébeuf and companion Lalemant felt their turning to false gods and offerings was demonic. Violence between Indians and even by Indians involved repulsive torture and barbarism.
Time would soon show just how barbarous native cultures could be, as the Iroquois began war against the Huron and Christian settlements, murdering even women and children. During one such attack, Fathers Brébeuf and companion Gabriel Lalemant were captured by the Iroquois — a great trophy.
An account of Brébeuf’s torture reads like something demonic. With his fellow priest, he was stripped naked, fingernails torn out and beaten all over before tied to a tree. Hatchets were heated in a fire and placed under his arms, on his loins, and laced around his entire neck to burn him. Then a belt of pitch and resin was placed around his waist and lit on fire. He bore all suffering “like a rock,” the accounts say, except that he often spoke up to encourage and offer spiritual support to those around him, urging them to “lift their eyes to Heaven” where their reward awaited them. His enemies, infuriated, cut out his lips and tongue. Infidel Hurons who had joined the Iroquois, in mockery “baptized” the priests by pouring boiling over their heads, scalding these men who had wanted only their salvation.
Then Iroquois stripped pieces of flesh from the priests, cooked and ate them as they watched, before opening the chests of the martyrs to drink their warm blood and cannibalize their hearts. Fr. Brébeuf died at 56, was canonized in 1930 (along with companion Fr. Gabriel), and his feast is October 19.

Conclusion

In his vow of martyrdom, Brébeuf had written also:
“When I shall have received the stroke of death. I bind myself to accept it from your hand with all pleasure, and with joy in my heart. And consequently, my beloved Jesus, I offer to you from today, in the feelings of joy that I have thereat, my blood, my body, and my life; so that I may die only for you, if you grant me this favour, since you have indeed condescended to die for me. Enable me to live in such a way that finally you may grant me this favour, to die so happily. Thus, my God and my Saviour, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings, and I will invoke your Name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Eleven years earlier, on Christmas in 1638, Fr. Brébeuf held the first Amerindian or native-European Christmas Mass in the Huron nation (Wendake). The air was then full of singing as they received the Sacred Species. When Brébeuf gave his own blood and flesh back to Christ, surely the saints were also singing, perhaps part of his Huron Carol:

Let no man heed the devil more,
For Jesus Christ is come
But hear ye all what angels sing:
How Mary Maid bore Jesus King.
Iesus Ahattonnia, Jesus is born, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

VICTORY!

23rd Texas City Bans Abortions, Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn” https://t.co/v9JKt68xhF

The goal of much of the modern American left is to celebrate public sin and to disparage traditional values as bigotry.

Abortion on demand, open borders, four dollars a gallon gasoline, churches and schools closed - what's not to love?

Chris Manion . . . Introducing A New “Reality” By Legislative Fiat - https://t.co/fUiS6S0oft

Load More...

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

USCCB has ‘nothing in the works’ on Biden and Communion (See Story Below)

Recent reports that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops may at their spring general assembly press pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to receive Communion are unfounded, and at best ignorant of ecclesial structure, a source close to the conference has told CNA. A source close to the USCCB told CNA April 29 that they believe such reports from the AP and the Washington Post are either “just totally ignorant of the Church’s structure,” or meant “to…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishops to debate calling on Biden to stop taking communion

Catholic bishops are debating calling on President Biden to stop taking communion due to his stance on abortion. The Committee on Doctrine for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is working on a document that would say politicians who are pro-abortion rights or publicly advocate for abortion rights should not take communion, The Associated Press reported. The national meeting will be held in June and will be the first meeting since Biden, the second…Continue Reading

Oklahoma governor signs laws to ban virtually all abortions

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law Monday three new measures “protecting the lives of the unborn” from effectively all abortions, though at least two of the laws are likely to be put on hold by the courts before taking effect. KOKH reports that the first law makes it a homicide to abort any baby with a detectable heartbeat. The second la

Cardinal Cupich asked Archbishop Aquila for ‘public clarification’ over Eucharistic doctrine

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago wrote to Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila last week to express “a number of concerns,” after Aquila published an essay on theological and pastoral issues concerning the reception of Holy Communion. Cardinal Cupich urged the archbishop to offer a “public clarification” of his arguments.

‘Cleanse our land’: U.S. bishops call for prayer, action to end racism after Chauvin verdict

Bishops across the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday responded to the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the trial for the murder of George Floyd. Two chairs of committees at the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, after a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. “The death of George Floyd highlighted 

After Vatican Says No To Same-Sex Blessings . . . Cardinal Ruini Sees “Risk Of Schism” In Germany

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS ROME (CNA) — Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has said that he is praying there will be no schism in Germany, as priests and bishops in the country announce their disagreement with a document from the Vatican saying the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.In a May 4 interview with the newspaper Il Foglio,…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools . . . Beat Public Schools In Reading And Math Scores

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY Here is one demonstrable fact about the difference between Catholic and public schools: Students who study at Catholic schools do better in reading and math.We know this because students who attended Catholic elementary schools in 2019 tested better in mathematics and reading than students who attended public schools.The latest issue of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone’s Letter On Abortion… Is This Nancy Pelosi’s Last Warning?

By PHIL LAWLER (CatholicCulture.org) — With his pastoral letter powerfully reaffirming the importance of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has issued a serious challenge: to all Catholics, certainly, but to his brother bishops in particular, and especially to the prominent Catholic politicians who support legal abortion…Continue Reading

The Problem With Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Love is the will to promote the good in another. Because love operates on the plane of reality, it needs the truth of the other in order to do its work effectively. Love is not blind; its guiding light is the truth about the one who is loved. “Love is not blind,”…Continue Reading

Biden Vs. Biden On “Is America A Racist Country?”

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”So declared Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican, in his televised rebuttal to Joe Biden’s address to Congress.Asked the next day what he thought of Scott’s statement, Biden said he agrees. “No, I don’t think the American people are racist.”Vice President Kamala Harris…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Peace Not Of This World

By Fr. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, when you depart from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass you should have within you Peace.Not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace. When the storms of the world threaten to sink your boat, when you try to step out of it in faith and start to sink, when it looks…Continue Reading

Live According To The Lord’s Words

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventh Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings:Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-261 John 4:11-16John 17:11b-19 In the first reading today, St. Peter speaks of two necessities regarding Judas. The first, he says, the Scripture had to be fulfilled when David spoke concerning the one who would hand over the Messiah. Second, St. Peter says it is necessary, based…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students. So instead of using our regular text, Catholicism & Life, which covers the Commandments and Sacraments, we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, with a summary of each commandment and sacrament along with some questions to answer, and sent…Continue Reading

Church Corruption Rooted In Crisis Of Authority

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them’” (Matt. 20:25).The year of St. Joseph gives an opportunity for contemplating the proper role and nature of authority in the Church at a time when it is…Continue Reading

The Good Shepherd, Judas, And Non Timebo Mala

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, in the Novus Ordo, this past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We heard how Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus then described what it meant to be a bad shepherd. “A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Righteous Anger Against Injustice

By DEB PIROCH Anger in itself is not a sin. It is how we as humans implement that anger that can lead to sin. If anger itself is rooted in love, it may be used to correct evil. Witness the excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew, when Christ was angered by the misuse of His house:“Jesus went into the temple…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Fidelis Of Sigmaringen

By DEB PIROCH There aren’t too many saints that started off in life as lawyers, and ended up as martyrs. St. Thomas More comes to mind. But the saint today, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Germany (1577-1622)? After getting his doctorate in law at Freiburg, he found he was seeking to help the poorest clients, refused to detract from the characters…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)