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“I do not fear death or torture. I do not know why you would kill me. I come here to confirm the peace and show you the way to heaven.”

Isaac Jogues to his Mohawk torturers

On August 1, 1642, Fr. Isaac Jogues was captured. During his captivity, his Mohawk captors beat him fiercely, until he lost consciousness. Then they chewed his fingernails, slowly gnawing away the two forefingers of his hands. Fr. Jogues escaped captivity but, tragically, could not offer Mass because of the state of his hands. Eventually, once they healed, he received special permission from Pope Urban VIII to offer Mass, despite lacking the necessary fingers to handle the Sacred Host. But the priest’s love for the Mohawk was so great that he was compelled to return to them. Aware that he would likely be captured again and killed, he wrote in a last letter to a friend: “I will have to remain among them, almost without liberty to pray, without Mass, without sacraments, and be responsible for every accident among the Iroquois, French, Algonquins, and others. But what shall I say? My hope is in God.”

Lord Jesus, give me the courage to suffer for you as your holy martyrs have throughout the ages. May their example give me strength in the trials of my life. Amen.

Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP, Eucharist
© 2022 by Our Sunday Visitor (with permission)