John’s Believe It Or Not… June 10th

In 1650 – Jesuits abandon Île Saint-Joseph. In 1752 Franklin flies kite during a thunderstorm. In 1692 First Salem witch hanging. In 1935 Alcoholics Anonymous founded. In 1979 Paul Newman finishes second in 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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* 1650 – Jesuits abandon Île Saint-Joseph, their last mission in Huronia. (The story of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons dates back almost four hundred years. Wendake (“the land apart”) was the ancestral homeland of the Huron Wendat Nation, a branch of the Iroquoian family. The Wendat were a matrilineal society of skilled traders and farmers. Following the trail of French explorer Samuel de Champlain, French Jesuit priests arrived in Wendake (in Ontario) early in the 17th century. An international order, the Jesuits operated like an army, dedicated to spreading Catholicism throughout the world. They believed that the first step in converting a person to Christianity was to educate him. The Jesuits established themselves in Wendake. They traveled from village to village, learning the Wendat language and customs, and preaching to the Native people. Their Superior, Father Jérome Lalemant, dreamed of “building a house apart, remote from the vicinity of the villages, that would serve among other things for the retreat and meditation of our evangelistic labourers.” The report written by Father Paul Ragueneau tells us the story of heartbreak and despair that led to the abandonment of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. In the spring of 1649, attacks by the Iroquois increased. Under growing pressure, the Jesuit missionaries, their helpers, and Wendat followers burned the settlement and abandoned it. They fled to St. Joseph Island (now Christian Island), where they endeavored to establish a new Sainte-Marie. After a terrible winter of starvation and constant attack, the Frenchmen and the Christian Wendat returned to Quebec.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 10th”

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