Saint Isaac Jogues (1607-1646)
for October 19
Throughout the history of the Church, Catholics have imitated Jesus' willingness to suffer and die for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This was particularly true of some missionaries who preached the Gospel to people who were hostile to its message. Saint Isaac Jogues was one of those people. Born in Orleans, France, in 1607, Isaac Jogues became a Jesuit and was ordained to the priesthood. He was sent as a missionary to the Hurons in Canada. The Huron tribe was open to the Christian message and many were baptized into the Catholic faith. But the Hurons' enemy, the Mohawk tribe, was not as open. Isaac Jogues and his traveling companions were captured by Mohawks and tortured. His lay assistant was killed. Isaac Jogues was made a slave to the chief, and was later freed by Dutch traders who eventually returned him to France. In 1644 Isaac Jogues returned to Canada and attended a peace conference between the Iroquois federation and the French. He was chosen as an envoy to the Mohawks to secure their approval of the peace treaty, which he accomplished. On his return to Quebec, he requested and received permission to go back to the Mohawks as a missionary. On the journey there he was captured again by the Mohawks, who thought the gifts he had left for them on his previous visit were responsible for a crop failure and an epidemic. This time he was tortured and killed. Several other Jesuit missionaries were also martyred during those early years, and together with Isaac Jogues they are known as the North American Martyrs, the patron saints of North America. Their feast day is October 19. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")
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It is hard to spend time with people when we know that they do not like us. However, sometimes we need to spend time with these people in order to accomplish a task or deliver a message. Saint Isaac Jogues knew that he needed to spend more time sharing the Good News with the Mohawk tribe, even though they were not as welcoming or as open to the Catholic faith as the Huron tribe. Are there people in your life who may not be very welcoming to you, but whom you need to spend time with, either to accomplish a task or to share the message of God's love? Ask for the Lord's assistance when spending time with those whom you know are not your biggest fans.
Gracious God, help me always to see the good in others, even in those I don’t want to like, and always to work to build up their spirit, not to tear it down. (Taken from "Good News Day by Day: Bible Reflections for Teens.")