Two Martyrs

St. Charles Garnier

Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Chcharlesarles Garnier, the son of wealthy Parisian, was a gentle and sensitive man with an ardent devotion to the Virgin Mary. A man who always wished to be a priest like four of his brothers. In 1636 Garnier arrived in North America while a plague swept the land of Huronia. He lived off roots and acorns during the famine and would walk thirty to forty miles in the summer heat over enemy country just to baptize a dying Indian.

While at Etharita, the mission of St. Jean in the Tobacco Nation, located in a valley of the Blue Mountains to the South of Collingwood, word came of a probable attack by the Iroquois. The local Indians, confident in their own numbers, eagerly armed themselves and prepared for battle. But, after two days the warriors lost patience and went in search of their enemy. Meanwhile, the Iroquois had made a wide circuit and approached the village from another quarter.

At two o’clock in the afternoon of the seventh of December 1649, as Father Garnier made his rounds among the houses, the village was suddenly mad with the terror of the attack. An Iroquois met and shot him with 3 balls through the body and thigh. Recovering his senses, Father Garnier was seen to rise to a kneeling posture and drag himself to anoint a dying Huron, when a party of Iroquois rushed upon him and killed him with their hatchets.

St. Charles Garnier, obtain for us from the Virgin Mary the grace to follow your example of prayer and patience and purity of heart in order to devote ourselves totally and single-mindedly to the service of our neighbour. Amen

Produced in Memory of Father James Farrell, s.j.
by Father Lally Council 5793 Knights of Columbus
Collingwood, Ontario

St. Noël Chabanel

Catholic Encyclopedia

noelSt. Noël Chabanel did not reach the Huron country until 1644. From the beginning he found Indian life very difficult, the smoke, the vermin, the food, the impossibility of privacy. Also, he had a natural ineptitude to learning the language, and labored at it for five years with scarcely a sign of progress. Tempted to escape to France, Chabanel resisted and bound himself by a solemn vow to remain in Canada to the day of his death.

Father Chabanel worked for awhile with Father Charles Garnier at the mission of St. Jean in the Tobacco Nation, located in a valley of the Blue Mountains, when he was recalled by an order from the Father Superior. He left just a few days before an attack by the Iroquois which resulted in Garnier’s death. Chabanel stopped on his way at St. Matthias, and on the morning of December 7, the day of the attack, left that town with 7 or 8 Christian Hurons. They proceeded through the forest about 18 miles and then encamped in the snow. Father Noël remained awake. About midnight he heard strange sounds in the distance, the Iroquois on their retreat. Chabanel wakened his companions who immediately took flight and returned to St. Matthias leaving him behind.

Later a Huron Indian, who had been converted, but then apostatized, revealed that he had met him in the forest, and aided him with his canoe to cross a river, the Nottawasaga, which lay in his path. After some time, the renegade Huron confessed that he had killed Chabanel and thrown his body into the river after robbing him of his clothes, hat, blanket, and the bag in which he carried his books and papers.

St. Noël Chabanel, you were so strong and persevering in the midst of disappointments and depression which the Lord permitted you to suffer in New France, teach us to draw from the Eucharist, as you did, the courage to persevere to the end of our service of the Lord. Amen

Produced in Memory of Father James Farrell, s.j.
by Father Lally Council 5793 Knights of Columbus
Collingwood, Ontario

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