My Thoughts 19/10/2021

Some years ago a good friend of mine took me to the shrine of the North American Martyrs, in upstate New York near the town of Troy.

It has been built near the site, where three of the martyrs we remember today were killed, at the Mohawk Indian Village of Ossernenon in 1642 and 1646. It is known as the Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville

There was Jesuit lay brother Rene Goupil, who was a surgeon. He was caught teaching a child the sign of the cross and was felled with a blow from a tomahawk.

At this time Father Isaac Jogues was tortured and some of his figured severed. He managed to return to France but longed to go back to carry out his missionary work.

He returned to what was then known as New France in 1646 accompanied by John LaLande a lay missionary. The Mohawk captured him and he was struck with a tomahawk and killed at Ossernenon.

The next day LaLande was killed trying to recover Jogues body. They were then beheaded and their bodies dragged into the Mohawk River. Although no relics were recovered the ground of their blood sacrifice is considered a natural reliquary.

From what I recall of my visit, the shrine itself was a little run down at the time. What I do remember was a pilgrim walk down a wooded pathway to a clearing and to the creek.

There you could read, in Father Jogues’s own writing, a description of the murder and the burial of Rene Goupil. The ravine is consider a reliquary since it contains the relics of the martyr.

What amazing and courageous men they were, who risked everything to share the good news. Lord give me some of that courage now.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest