Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Diversity 1643

St. Isaac Jogues, shown with a tomahawk wound from his martyrdom
 Isaac Jogues, the saint of the day is an example of fidelity, because he never wavered from the missionary duty of the Jesuits or his devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. He is an example of tolerance, because he saw even in the most ruthless of people a need for Salvation. He saw in the New World a place that wasn't like his Europe but a very diverse and open society. One that was permissive of all things, even though legally prohibitive. He decided such a place was ripe for the Gospel of Christ.

 From the journal of Isaac Jogues (saint):
"On the island of Manhate, and in its environs, there may well be four or five hundred men of different sects and nations: the Director General told me that there were men of eighteen different languages; they are scattered here and there on the river, above and below, as the beauty and convenience of the spot has invited each to settle: some mechanics however, who ply their trade, are ranged under the fort; all the others are exposed to the incursions of the natives, who in the year 1643, while I was there, actually killed some two score Hollanders, and burnt many houses and barns full of wheat. . .

Shortly before I arrived there, three large ships of 300 tons each had come to load wheat; two found cargoes, the third could not be loaded, because the savages had burnt a part of the grain. These ships had come from the West Indies, where the West India Company usually keeps up seventeen ships of war.

No religion is publicly exercised but the Calvinist, and orders are to admit none but Calvinists, but this is not observed; for besides the Calvinists there are in the colony Catholics, English Puritans, Lutherans, Anabaptists, here called Mnistes [Mennonites], etc.

When any one comes to settle in the country, they lend him horses, cows, etc.; they give him provisions, all which he returns as soon as he is at ease; and as to the land, after ten years he pays in to the West India Company the tenth of the produce which he reaps."

Isaac Jogues was tortured by the Iroquois natives of north America and his Jesuit order had him come back to his base in France. After recovering, he desired to return to the Iroquois because his heart desired for them to learn the Gospel. He was killed by the Mohawks shortly after his return in 1646.

The New World still remains hospitable and ruthless for and to the Gospel. Where do you stand?