From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Auriesville Saints: Three await the Fourth

(Interior of Auriesville Martyrs Shrine Coliseum)
Auriesville, a hamlet about 40 miles west of Albany, New York along the banks of the mighty Mohawk River, was named after Auries ("the last Mohawk known to have lived there").

Wikipedia tells us that this present-day hamlet in Montgomery County, New York is thought to be located at the site of the Mohawk village in which Roman Catholic Saints Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and Jean de Lalande were martyred long ago.  The writings of Jogues and two Canadian martyrs (Francois-Joseph Bressani and Joseph Poncet) indicate that this Mohawk village (then called
Ossernenon) was on the south side of the Mohawk River, west of the Schoharie River, "on the top of a hill, a quarter league from the river."  Jogues even pinpointed the distances of Ossernenon from nearby villages. gives brief biographies of the lives of these first three Auriesville Saints.  Saint Isaac Jogues was a French Jesuit priest who was enslaved and brutalized at Ossernenon.   Nevertheless, Jogues managed to "minister to the captives and evangelize the Mohawks."  Even after escaping, Jogues chose to later return to the scene of this torture as a peace ambassador.  He was tragically martyred in October 1646 "when a box of his belongings was blamed for crop pestilence."  Just one day after Jogues' martyrdom, Saint John Lalande (Jogues' lay assistant on this ill-fated peace mission) was also martyred while attempting to "recover the slain body of Father Jogues from the paths of the village."  Saint Rene Goupil was a lay Jesuit who had served as a physician in the Quebec missions.  Although he had also been tortured and enslaved in Ossernenon, Goupil amazingly "tended the wounds of his tormentors."  He was martyred in 1642 "while praying the rosary, because he had blessed a little boy with the sign of the cross."

The fourth Auriesville Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, will be canonized on October 21, 2012.  She had been "born in Ossernenon ten years after the martyrdom of  St. Isaac Jogues." The Schenectady, New York Sunday Gazette of October 14, 2012 reports that a "special Mass is scheduled for the big day [of Kateri's canonization], along with art and video documentary presentations."  Busloads and carloads of pilgrims will be arriving for this 2 PM Mass at the Auriesville Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs.

"Kateri," The Schenectady Gazette, October 14, 2012, " p. A8

Copyright October 18, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke  All Rights Reserved

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