St. Jean de Brébeuf
Born in the lat 16th century, Jean de Brébeuf was a French Jesuit who became a black robe, a missionary to the Native Americans in Canada. In 1626, Jean left Quebec to start a mission among the Huron Indians.
Three years later, after Québec was captured by the English, Jean and his fellow French missionaries were forced to return to France. But after the French recaptured Quebec, Jean was able to resume his mission work with the Hurons in 1634. He lived with them until 1649, when he was captured by the Iroquois, who were at war with the Hurons.
Because the Iroquois were not at war with the French, they offered to release Jean, but only if he stopped his work at the mission. Jean refused and the Iroquois tortured him to death.
During his years with the Hurons, Jean once wrote of a medicine man whose magic had failed to make it rain. When the medicine man blamed Jean, the missionary told the Hurons that only God could control the weather. If they wanted rain, Jean said, they should pray to God. The Hurons prayed and soon after, the much need rain fell.
Jean's unwavering faith in God helped him battle his inner demons. One time, he was frightened by a vision of a fearsome lionlike face that he believed was the devil. When Jean told the apparition to do whatever God willed it to do, the vision disappeared.
Jean truly believed that all his strength to endure hardships came from God. Jean taught this to the Hurons and led by example. Even at the end in the face of death, Jean trusted the Lord.
who by the preaching and the blood
of your blessed Martyrs,
John and Isaac and their companions,
consecrated the first fruits
of the faith in the vast regions
of North America,
graciously grant that by their intercession
the flourishing harvest of Christians
may be everywhere and always increased.
Through Christ our Lord.
From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
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