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Jean De Brebeuf
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Religious Figure
    (March 25, 1593-March 16, 1649)
    Born in Conde-sur-Vire, Normandy, France
    Jesuit missionary who worked and lived among the Huron natives in historic Huronia (near Midland, Ontario)
    Tortured and killed by the Iroquois, traditional enemies of the Hurons
    Canonized in 1930
    Feast Day is September 26 (Canada) and October 19 (United States)
    Patron saint of Canada
    He found the natives superstitious.
    Many of the Hurons in turn saw him as a sorcerer.
    Warfare between the French and English caused him to cut his first mission to Canada short.
    Angered by a smallpox epidemic, the Hurons temporarily turned against him and burned down his chapel.
    It took him years to make any converts (although 1000s eventually did become Christians).
    The 1991 film ‘Black Robe,’ loosely based on his work, portrays the Jesuit missionaries as well meaning but clueless.
    The Hurons called him ‘Echon’ meaning ‘healing tree.’
    He could canoe and portage for days in very rugged terrain.
    He wrote the first grammar and dictionary of the Huron language.
    He urged other missionaries to treat natives with respect.
    He was scalped, mutilated, doused with boiling water and burned for several hours before his death.
    The Iroquois, impressed by his bravery under torture, ate his heart.
    Pope John Paul II prayed over his remains at the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario (1984).

Credit: Georgina


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