Saint Marie Among the Hurons

Hail Brave hearts

It is with great courage that we settle this country, filled with new adventures and difficult times.  It is with bravery that we meet these new people in their own homeland and on their own terms.  It is with faith and prayer that we negotiate a peaceful settlement, and with determination and recognition of the mission, that is required, proceed to our duty.  To the new land, and to the people of it, we meet.

Such is the sturdy vow of the missionary, the Jesuits who landed to fulfill their duty.  Bring the people religion.  Bring them to Christianity.  It is the solemn vow of the faith, these people must be saved.  Saved in the eyes of God, save their everlasting soul.  Save the people, even in death.

The mission was built in Huron (Wendake) territory, 1200 kilometers from Quebec.  Started in 1639 and lasting only 10  years, it was the first settlement in New France, in the province that is now Ontario.   It was set on a large tract of land between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, in  Huron territory.  The the mission itself was on the Wye River.

Only a small group of men made the long journey from Quebec City to this remote place.  All martyred for their faith.  The Huron themselves, were curious and peaceful.  They allowed the mission on their land and allowed the Jesuits to preach to them.  Some converted, some did not, but pursue the faith is a must.  Fulfill the mission of their lives, they must.  Bring religion to the people.  Serve God.  No matter what the price is , it is not too high.  Serve God.  Bring Christianity to the people with the intention of everlasting peace.  Peace on Earth, goodwill to your fellow human.

Canada’s first Christmas Carol, the Huron Carol, written in 1642 probably by Jean de Brebeuf.

Saint Marie among the Huron is a historical place of hope, dreams, hardship and abandonment.  The security of the Jesuits, lost to the increasing hostility of the Iroquois in the insistent war with the Huron.  Iroquois with guns, Huron with bow and arrow, missionaries with prayer.  Peace among us, oh mighty human.  This territory belongs to the Huron, the land of the Wendake.

http://www.saintemarieamongthehurons.on.ca/sm/en/HistoricalInformation/TheSainteMarieStory/index.htm

But the dreadful incessant war proved the Iroquois to be a stronger and more aggressive people.  Intent on murder, they continued their assault on the Huron and would not leave.  Some of the Huron  who survived  fled to neighboring tribes, and to Quebec to re-establish themselves, on Ile de Orleans , just east of Quebec city in 1650.  By 1649 the mission was in ruin, burned by the Jesuits so that the Iroquois couldn’t inhabit it.  The Huron had departed, the Jesuits were gone.  Gone, but saved.  Other peace remained.  The fur trade was still active, with trade and negotiation still intact.  With the loss of this mission is an uncanny coincidence.  The city of Montreal, founded in 1649.

 

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

March 10, 2020

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Challenges of Discovery

Hail Brave Hearts

The never ending adventure to voyage and discovery to meet and greet the new people, to learn their ways.  Peace among us is a priority, gifts and exchange, routes of travel and a path to the new world.  Discover, trade and progress, learn the language, the customs, the society.  There are many peoples, many societies, many worlds to discover.  Come with this explorer into the heart of our land and meet the people, listen to their stories, share their passions, learn their wisdom.  This is New France, in 1615, with an exploration into the aboriginal territories of Ontario, as far as Georgian Bay and Lake Nippissing, in search of a route to the Orient.

The Orient.  That spell binding, alluring destination of dreams.  Silk, spices, riches.  The Orient!  Find the route through Canada, we know it’s there.  Yes, it is, but not this time.  Not in 1615, when the world was forested and filled with mighty, turbulent rivers, with rapids and waterfalls to portage.  Not in 1615 when every few hundred kilometers brought new nations of aboriginals to meet and negotiate with.  As skilled and brilliant as these explorers were, the land is too large, the peoples too many, the dangers too difficult and the demands too great.  Still, the path to the Orient exists, but the people need to know these explorers, before extending such a substantial gift as the whereabouts of this sought after trail.

Samuel de Champlain 1604-1616

Travel and travel and travel, is a must.  Explore the world around and before you.  Go to these uncharted lands.  Bring peace, negotiation and prosperity with you, if you can.  It’s a daunting mission, to be the explorer, to discover and collaborate with people of unknown character.  Meeting them in their own land, on their own terms.  Peace and skilled negotiation.  The intellect soars as the negotiations are successful and the peoples minds are set at ease, with this friend.  Gratitude for such necessary gifts, as some burdens are lifted and some work is eased.  Sharing and caring, the beginning of a new world.  The start of a new land.  This is now New France, being explored and documented and carefully mapped.  Each river that is traveled, each new tribe that is encountered, each new language that is spoken and the forest of trees, plants and animals to marvel at as well.  All carefully described, by this well educated person, who knew the land so well.

This is the life of a great explorer, Samuel de Champlain.  His mission of discovery was so successful that it formed peaceful and prosperous relations with several aboriginal tribes and the French people, who earnestly sought common bonds and  well intended relationships with the people of the new world.  The needs for these negotiations for the fur traders were high.  In the end Champlain died in Quebec city with only 150 settlers living in the colony.

With the explorer, came the missionaries.  Jesuit priests from France, intent on bringing Christianity to the people of Canada.  This seemed necessary for the aboriginals to understand the religion of the French people  so that they would have a common bond in humanity to share.  Peace among the people, brothers in Christ.  Although the aboriginals had their own religion, with their own after life, it was deemed essential to bring these people to Jesus.  Such was the quest of the Jesuits who pursued this mission to the ends of their lives.

Carhagouha – 1615 site of first Mass in Ontario

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

February 28, 2020