St Isaac Jogues – Feast Day – October 19

Today is Saturday, January 28, 2023

St Isaac Jogues was a Jesuit missionary in (New France) Canada, born on January 10 1607 in Orléans, France. He worked among the Huron and Iroquois people in North America.

He died as a martyr on October 18 1646 at the age of 39 in Ossernenon, Canada. He is one of the Canadian Martyrs, or the North American Martyrs.

We celebrate his feast day together with St Jean de Brebeuf and companions on October 19 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Isaac Jogues Biography
Saints Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs - Feast Day - October 19
Saints Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs – Feast Day – October 19
Date of Birth January 10 1607
Place of Birth Orléans, France
Matrimony/Holy Orders Saints who were Priests
Profession Jesuit Missionary Priest
Place of Work North America
Date of Death October 18 1646
Place of Death Ossernenon, Canada
Feast Day October 19
Beatification Beatified by Pope Pius XI on June 21 1925 in Rome, Italy
Canonization Canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29 1930 in Vatican City
Patron Saint of North America
Canada

St Isaac Jogues Life History

St Isaac Jogues parents were Laurent Jogues and Françoise de Sainte-Mesmin. They were a well-to-do family with nine children and Isaac Jogues was the fifth born.

He was home-schooled until he was 10 years of age and thereafter, he enrolled at the Jesuit schools.

At the age of 17, in 1624, he joined the Jesuit novitiate at Rouen. After Jean de Brébeuf and Énemond Massé went on missions in New France (Canada) in 1625, Isaac Jogues felt very inspired and wished to follow that example.

In 1626, he professed the vows and proceeded to the royal college of La Flèche to study philosophy. In 1633, he went to study Theology at the Collège de Clermont in Paris. Finally, in 1636, he was ordained as a priest.

When Fr. Brébeuf, Fr. Charles Lallemant and Fr. Massé returned to France briefly, they narrated to Isaac Jogues of the tortures, hardships and pains that missionaries in New France go through. However, instead of getting discouraged, Jogues’ desire to evangelize in New France increased.

After his ordination, Isaac Jogues accepted to serve in the New France missions together with other missionaries, including Charles Garnier.

On April 8 1636, Isaac Jogues left France for Canada and three months later he arrived in Quebec. He joined Fr. Jean de Brébeuf at the Village of St-Joseph (Ihonatiria) along Lake Huron.

Soon after Jogues was struck by a fever and a smallpox epidemic erupted. Many natives died and the whole blame was placed on the missionaries.

For six years, Isaac Jogues lived with the Hurons and learned their, language, culture, and spirituality.

The natives began to accept the Jesuits but this friendship did not last for long because some natives from further south came around and spread rumours that the missionaries were cursed and full of bad luck and that is why they had been chased away from Europe.

Their missionary work was so hard that when Jogues and Charles Garnier went to Petun (Southern Ontario), the Tobacco Nation, they were received with hostility and after months of evangelization, they failed to achieve much.

In 1639, their new superior Father Jérôme Lalemant chose Isaac Jogues to spearhead the building of Fort Sainte-Marie. After completion in September 1641, Jogues and Charles Raymbaut went there briefly to stay there.

Isaac Jogues together with other missionaries and converts were intercepted by Mohawk warriors on their way from Quebec City.

Initially, Jogues hid in the bush but he remembered that his fellow Christian captives needed his comfort, prayer, and leadership in order to remain strong, he surrendered.

He underwent very painful torture where he was beaten with sticks and the tips of his fingers including his thumb were plucked out.

Together with his fellow missionaries and converts, they were flog-matched across various villages while being beaten. They were tied together and children would throw burning coal and them and still mock them.

Isaac Jogues was held in captivity for almost one year where he became very malnourished and ill-dressed. He prayed very much and also had visions.

Jogues was helped by Van Curler to escape. Mohawk traders were persuaded to bring Jogues with them to Beverwyck (modern-day Albany, New York), and in the process, Van Curler hid him and assisted him to go to Manhattan Island and finally to France.

While in France he was considered a “living martyr” by Pope Urban VIII. Isaac Jogues yearned so much to return to New France and regretted some experiences he had while in captivity.

Pope Urban VIII gave him permission to offer Mass with his mutilated hands: “It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ not be allowed to drink the Blood of Christ.”

He longed to return to his missions and die as a martyr and therefore, in 1644, he returned to Quebec.

St Isaac Jogues Death

After recurrent epidemics of diseases and famine, the Mohawks concluded that the Catholic paraphernalia was responsible for their misfortunes.

Isaac Jogues was killed and died as a martyr on October 18 1646 with a tomahawk by the anti-French Mohawks and thrown into the Mohawk River.

Beatification

Saints Isaac Jogues and Jean de Brébeuf and companions were beatified by Pope Pius XI on June 21 1925 in Rome, Italy

Canonization

Saints Isaac Jogues and Jean de Brébeuf and their companions were canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29 1930 in Vatican City

Feast Day

Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and companions feast day is celebrated on October 19 in the General Roman Calendar, and on September 26 in Canada.

St Isaac Jogues is the Patron Saint of

Pope Pius XII declared Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and companions as the patron saints of Canada and North America

Other Catholic Saints whose Feast Days are in October

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