North American Martyrs
Feast Day: October 19
The North American Martyrs were a group of eight Jesuits who served as missionaries to the Hurons in Canada. They were martyred between 1642 and 1649. Their feast day is October 19.
The martyrs are St. René Goupil, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Lalande, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Jean de Brébeuf, St. Noël Chabanel, St. Charles Garnier , and St. Gabriel Lalemant .
Patron Saint of …
The North American Martyrs are the patron saints of Canada.
Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of the North American Martyrs
- First Reading – 2 Corinthians 4:7-15: “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 126: “Those who sow in tears, shall reap rejoicing.”
- Gospel – Matthew 28:16-20: “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.”
The Footsteps of the American Saints program encourages all Catholic youth to get to know holy men and women who lived in America or who had a strong influence on American life. One of the saints included in this series is St. Isaac Jogues, who is one of the North American Martyrs.
Learn About St. Isaac Jogues
The first step in the activity is to learn about St. Isaac Jogues, one of the North American Martyrs, and answering a few questions about him. Here are the basics of his story.
Sent as a Missionary
St. Isaac Jogues was born in Orleans, France on January 10, 1607. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1636 and was sent as a missionary to Quebec. He and some fellow priests were captured by the Mohawk Iroquois. He was tortured and lived as a slave among the Iroquois until some Dutch traders ransomed him.
A Living Martyr
While among the Iroquois he taught them about Christianity. Upon his return to Europe, he was greeted with joy and revered for being a “living martyr.” Everyone thought he had already died. His hand had been so mutilated by the earlier torture that he had to be given a dispensation by Pope Urban VIII to say Mass since the Church law at the time said that only the thumb and forefinger could touch the host.
After a time, he returned to Mohawk territory, but the Mohawks were suspicious of him and his fellow missionaries. He was killed by a tomahawk blow on June 29, 1646. Seven other North American martyrs were also killed. St. Isaac Jogues feast day is celebrated on October 19.
The second part of the program involves some activities to understand why St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs are important to us. These include the following choices:
- A discussion of his life
- Drawing a picture of the things he did
- Creating a collage with the other martyrs who died with St. Isaac Jogues
- Creating a cross and hanging it in a room
Get the Patch
Upon completion of the activity, a patch may be ordered. This program is sponsored by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, but it is open to all youth and adults whether they are involved in Scouting or not. Read the full requirements for the patch.