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Friday, September 13, 2013

Imagine the History of the U.S. Told from a Catholic Point of View

It would include many primary sources including the first hand accounts of eight North American martyrs (six Jesuit priests and two laymen) who lost their lives serving the native Americans of the northeast. George Bancroft, a leading 19th century historian who wrote a 10-volume history of the United States, described the influence of the French missionaries:
The history of the Jesuit mission is connected with the origin of every celebrated town in the annals of French America. Not a cape was turned, not a river entered, but a Jesuit led the way. 
And, thanks to the internet, the biggest library in the world, the first hand accounts  of the martyrs' exploits are readily available to anyone interested in reading them.  They begin in 1610 and conclude in 1791. And what a story! For virtue, courage, and the love of neighbor you cannot find better examples. It was these men who first valued the Indians enough to record their language. It's interesting to consider that those parts of the world where Catholic missionaries settled, intermarriage with the native populations was common in contrast to English settlements where native populations were considered inferior and were treated as servants of the English at best.

Read about the North American martyrs and marvel at their courage and perseverance. They are what being a Catholic should be. They weren't community organizers seeking power, but servants of those they saw as neighbors. St. Isaac Jogues and company, pray for us.

1 comment:

Old Bob said...

Thank you, Mary Ann! This is a part of history that has been very long neglected. I wonder sometimes if the neglect was partly or fully intentional.