The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents

Travels and Explorations

of the Jesuit Missionaries

in New France








Reuben Gold Thwaites

Secretary of the State historical Society of Wisconsin


Thom Mentrak

Historical Interpreter at Ste. Marie Among The Iroquois


Abenakis, Lower Canada, Hurons

1652 - 1653

CLEVELAND: The Burrows Brothers


¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯



Editor Reuben Gold Thwaites

| Finlow Alexander [French]

| Percy Favor Bicknell [French]

| John Cutler Covert [French]

| William Frederic Giese [Latin]

Translators. | Crawford Lindsay [French]

| Mary Sifton Pepper [French & Italian]

| William Price [French]

| Hiram Allen Sober [French]

| John Dorsey Wolcott [Latin]

Assistant Editor Emma Helen Blair

Bibliographical Adviser Victor Hugo Paltsits





Preface To Volume XXXVIII.





Relation de ce qvi s'est passé av pays de la Novvelle France, depuis l'Eté de l'année 1651. jusques à l'Eté de l'année 1652. [Chaps. viii.-x., concluding the document.] Paul Ragueneau, Kebec, October 4, 1652; Marie de l'Incarnation, Kebec, 1652





Journal des PP. Jésuites. Paul Ragueneau, Hierosme Lalemant, and François le Mercier; Quebec, January-December, 1653.



Breve Relatione.d'alcvne missioni de' PP. della Compagnia di Gies• nella Nuoua Francia. [Part 1., Chaps. i.–iv., first installment of the document.] Francesco Gioseppe Bressani; Macerata, Italy, July 19, 1653







Bibliographical Data: Volume XXXVIII



[page 7]



Portrait of Paul Ragueneau, S.J.,(photo-engraving from oil portrait by Donald Guthrie McNab



Photographic facsimile of handwriting of Paul Ragueneau; selected from his deposition relative to the martyrdom of Jogues, written in 1652, and preserved in the archives of St. Mary's College, Montréal



Facing 48


Photographic facsimile of title-page, Bressani's Relatione,1653


[page 8]


Following is a synopsis of the documents contained in the present volume:

LXXXI. The first seven chapters of the Relation of 1651-52 were given in Vol. XXXVII.; we here present the remainder of the document. Chaps. viii.-ix. are written by the superior Ragueneau; the final chapter is compiled (apparently by the Paris editor) from a biographical memoir of Mother Marie de St. Joseph,—assistant in the Ursuline convent, who died April 4, 1652,—written by her superior, Mother Marie de l'Incarnation.

The account of the Abenaki mission, begun in the preceding volume, is here continued by Ragueneau recounting the readiness of that tribe to receive the faith, and their earnestness and zeal in following it. Visions and miraculous cures have often rewarded their devotion. They are exceedingly attached to Druillettes, their missionary, and hold him in great honor,—a feeling which the English settlers on the Kennebec also share. The Indians of Narantsouak (Norridgewock) publicly adopt the father as a member of their tribe, and regard him as its head. The leading men denounce drunkenness, sorcery, and polygamy. They beg Druillettes to remain with them, and only the command of his superior induces him to leave these disciples.

The ninth chapter describes the attacks with which [page 9] the Iroquois have harassed the French settlements during the summer, especially that at Three Rivers,—for which material is furnished by a letter received from that place. Nearly the same ground is traversed herein as in the Journal des Jésuites (in the volume preceding this), but with more detail of circumstance. As a climax to all their anxieties and dangers, the report comes that the Iroquois clans are preparing for a general and united attack upon the French settlements during the coming winter. The writer appeals for aid from France in this time of need,—saying that the country is now practically self-supporting, and that it needs only to have a few hundred workingmen sent hither each year; these would be at once an aid in the development of the country, and a defense against the Iroquois. A similar request is also made by Noël Tekwerimat, the Sillery chief, in a letter which he writes to Father le Jeune.

Thus far the Relation proper; it is followed by a long account of Mother Marie de St. Joseph, the Ursuline nun. Her childhood is characterized by devoutness and purity, and she would rather read the lives of saints than play with her comrades. Having been sent to an Ursuline convent for her education, she resolves to become a nun; and, although she has not reached the age required for the novitiate, her entreaties are so importunate that she is admitted thereto. A dream sent from Heave gives her strength to resist the efforts made by her family to keep her with them; and, at the age of sixteen, she takes the veil, in the Ursuline convent at Tours, where she greatly edifies all. At the call for nuns to go to Canada with Madame de la Peltrie, Marie de [page 10] St. Joseph is chosen as the companion of Marie de l'Incarnation, and goes with her to Quebec. Her intense devotion to the Holy Family is rewarded with visions and ecstasies, even more than ordinary. Her virtues are described at length, notably her humility, obedience, and purity. In Canada, she learns both the Huron and Algonkin tongues, and instructs the savages in the faith, becoming the spiritual mother of many souls. The attacks of the Iroquois upon the French, and this nun's failing health, lead her relatives to entreat that she will return to France; but her devotion to her work is so great that she steadfastly refuses to leave it. In one of her visions, her Lord tells her that hereafter she will "live only by faith and crosses;" from that time, she begins to fade away, and dies from consumption and asthma,—at the last, suffering intensely, but evincing the utmost patience and resignation. After her death, her spirit holds communication with a friend in Quebec, and saves his life by warning him of approaching danger.

LXXXII. The Journal des Jésuites (kept by Ragueneau, until .August 9; during the next ten days, by Jerome Lalemant; and thereafter by François le Mercier) gives but a meager record for the earlier months of 1653; there is but one entry previous to April 10. On the 21st of that month, news comes from Three Rivers that sixteen Frenchmen there—servants, sailors, and others—have run away, intending to leave the country. Two months later, Indians from Gaspé tell at Quebec the disastrous result of this escapade; several of these French fugitives have died from hardship and privation, "and there were indications that they had eaten one another." On [page 11] May 12, Jacques Junier, a Jesuit donné, runs away from Sillery, after having been in the service of the mission for twenty years. A fortnight later, some Massachusetts Indians bring a letter from Rev. John Eliot, asking for the release of certain savages, their allies, captured last year by the Algonkins,—a request which is granted.

With the coming of summer, the Iroquois again infest the river, directing their murderous attacks against isolated farm-houses, laborers in the fields, fishermen setting their lines, and stray Huron and Algonkin savages, even when in considerable bands. The danger and loss are greatest at Three Rivers, and aid is quickly sent thither. News is brought, July 20, that the New England colonists are under-taking war against the Dutch and the Iroquois; and, ten days later, that the Algonkin tribes of the North, with the remnant of the Tobacco and Neutral tribes, are assembling beyond Sault Ste. Marie, to unite against the Iroquois.

August 6, the mail from France arrives, in Which are received letters appointing Father le Mercier as superior in Canada. Pending his arrival (about ten days later) from Three Rivers, a vice-superior is named, Jerome Lalemant. Lalemant, in this brief time, writes in the Journal a full and highly interesting account of the ecclesiastical status of the Jesuits in Canada, and the relations of the church there to the diocese of Rouen, matters regarding which much dissension has already arisen, and which are to bring about, but three years later, an entire reorganization of ecclesiastical affairs in Canada. Le Mercier continues the record, beginning August 21; his first entry describes a battle near Montréal, in [page 12] which the Iroquois are defeated by the Hurons, Losing several of their number. From the captives, the French learn much news from the South,—one item of alarming import, that a troop of 600 Mohawks had started, thirty days before, to attack Three Rivers. But an hour later, the tidings come that Father Poncet and another Frenchman have been carried away as prisoners by the enemy. A party of Frenchmen at once start in pursuit of the captors; but, on the next day, they hear that Three Rivers is already besieged by the Mohawk band just mentioned, and they at once go to the relief of the town. The siege lasts over eight days, and the cultivated lands around the fort are laid waste; but the enemy begins then to talk of peace, and presents are exchanged on both sides. The Mohawks raise the siege, and the chief at their head sets out to pursue Poncet's captors. Ambassadors from the Onondaga tribe come, about this time, to treat for a peace. They reach Quebec soon after the beginning of a church jubilee; processions march through the streets daily, conspicuous in which are "more than four hundred fusiliers, in fine order,"—a sight which must have confirmed the peaceful predilections of the envoys.

Father Poncet arrives at Montréal, October 24, "in a wretched canoe, and dressed in Dutch fashion." He is conducted by some Iroquois, with whom, again, presents are exchanged; and feasts are made for them by the Jesuits and the Hospital nuns. Various complications arise in the relations between the Hurons, Iroquois, and French; and a council thereon is held at the Jesuit residence, November 19. [page 13]

LXXXIII. The Relation of the Jesuit missions in Canada, being written in French, had, of course, but a limited circulation in other countries than France, outside of ecclesiastical circles. These missions had now been carried on for twenty years, and the Roman Catholics of Europe felt general interest in them, as conducted by priests of an order within that church. To satisfy this interest in Italy, Francesco Bressani—who had been one of the missionaries in Huronia, from 1645 to 1649—wrote, after his return to his native land, the Breve Relatione. It gives, in popular style,—and often abridged from the Relations and other contemporary documents,—an account of the Canadian Indians (especially of the Hurons); of the Jesuit missions among them, and the difficulties incident to their conversion; and of the death of Jogues, Daniel, and other missionaries who have fallen at their posts in this arduous service. He begins with the situation and natural features of the country called New France, discussing at length the causes of its extremes in climate; with a brief mention of its earliest discovery, and of the French settlements thus far made therein. He then describes the Huron country, and enumerates the tribes beyond it; and gives an account of the customs, clothing, characteristics, and government of the savages among whom he had labored during four years. In the main, these chapters traverse the same ground as do the Huron Relations of 1636 and 1639 (Vols. X., XVII.).


Madison, Wis., January, 1899.

LXXXI (concluded)





The First seven chapters of the Relation were given in Volume XXXVII.; we here present the remaining three chapters, thus concluding the document.


[page 15]



ATHER Gabriel Druillettes gives us, in his Memoirs, four or five beautiful proofs of the abundant disposition and cordial inclination felt for the faith of Jesus Christ by the peoples whom he has visited.

[93] The first is drawn from their faith, which they have preserved and increased for three or four years, although they have had no master or Teacher to cultivate that first germ and seed which he had sown in their hearts in passing, so to speak, and very hastily. That faith made them believe that he who takes pleasure in simple souls had, in an extraordinary manner, strengthened them in their temptations, and had miraculously cured them of many diseases.

"Those whom I had instructed very cursorily," says the Father, "who at that time could only stammer in their own language, have recited every day, without fail, the prayers that I had taught them. Those whom I had baptized in cases of sickness that I thought mortal,—not daring, on my first visit, to administer this Sacrament to those who were enjoying perfect health,—those persons, I say, proclaimed everywhere that Baptism had given them life. And, as they had learned that one must confess the sins into which he fell after receiving those waters of salvation, they did not wait until they were on their [page 17] knees at the [94] Priest's feet; they accused themselves aloud, asking to be punished for very light offenses.

"One of them, who had been cured rather suddenly, cried out: 'I was walking like the four-footed animals and could not stand upright; but, as soon as I received Baptism, I ran and hunted like the rest.' Fathers and mothers came to present to me their little children, whom I had regenerated in the waters of Baptism when I thought them at the point of death. 'Behold' (they would say to me), 'the one whom thou hast restored to life by those important waters which thou didst pour upon its head.'

"Some talked with me until midnight, rendering me a very ingenuous account of their consciences. They told me about the attacks very often made upon them, on the occasion of their ailments, by the Jugglers who wished to attend them in their fashion,—with cries, and howls, and invocations of the Demon. 'They were the cause' (said they) 'of our redoubling our prayers, by asking God for the cure of our diseases, in order that we might not be urged to put them into the hands of those Jugglers; and often [95] our petitions were immediately granted. After saying to him who made all things what we knew and what our hearts prompted, we used to add these words: "Thou knowest our hearts: we wish to for the good of the sick what the Patriarch does; we say to thee what he says to thee; thou knowest it, we do not. Do thou give heed to what he does and what he says to thee; that is what we would do and would say to thee."'

"I met an old man, almost a hundred years of age, whom I had baptized in the year 1647, believing him [page 19] to be on the brink of the grave. This good Neophyte, whom I named Simeon, was so suddenly revived in body and soul, after three or four years of weakness, in an extreme old age, that he caused astonishment to all his fellow-countrymen. 'You well know,' he would say to them, 'that, before my baptism, I was dead. I had ceased to live, I could not move; and, two days later, I was seen to be in health. This winter, I have killed four Moose which I hunted down; I have slain two Bears, and put to death a good many small Deer. I think unceasingly of him who made all things; I often speak to Jesus, [96] and he strengthens and comforts me. I am the only one left of my family, having seen my son, my wife, and my little nephews die. .At first, I felt some sorrow at these deaths; but, as soon as I had begun to pray, my heart was consoled, knowing as I did that they who believe and are baptized go to Paradise. I thanked him who made all things that they had died Christians, and I feel a joy in my heart at the prospect of seeing them soon in Heaven. When my heart is inclined to lose itself in sadness, I kneel before God, and prayer makes me find my heart again.'

"Another man, still older, is so greatly given to prayer that he spends a part of the night in private intercourse with God, while the others are taking their rest. On one occasion, when I had lain down to sleep in his cabin, I heard him get up stealthily, hidden by the darkness from my eyes, but not from my ears. He began his orisons with the prayers that I had taught him, adding others so appropriate, and rendering acts of devotion so tender, that they delighted me He tried to speak in a very low tone, [page 21] and I to listen very [97] attentively to him. His people told me that God often answered the prayers that he offered in behalf of sick persons, or for other purposes." I have noted in this connection that a part of those whom the Father had baptized in the extremity of their illness, upon being restored afterward to health, ascribed that favor to their Baptism. "Those who died," adds the Father, "were not less benefited; and they published by their deeds what the others preached by their words. In the first place, they repulsed all those who spoke to them about summoning their physicians, or Jugglers, to blow upon them, and sing over them, and beat their drums, in order to drive away the Demon, as they say, who wishes to take away their lives.

"In the second place, they made it manifest in their faces and by their conversation that they were leaving this world, to go to Heaven, with so much peace and joy that not only did they check the tears and lamentations of their relatives, but they also gave them an ardent desire to be themselves instructed in the faith of Jesus Christ, in order to enjoy so easy a death.

"Some very aged women, who had been ill [98] for two years, not being able to prevent the Jugglers of the country, who had been summoned by the relatives, from practicing their superstitions over them, asked God, during their howling, to be pleased to confound their Demon. In fact, they found themselves worse after this uproar; and when these fine Physicians were giving them up, as persons having already one foot in the land of the dead, those good souls asked our Lord for life and health, which they [page 23] suddenly recovered before the eyes of these Jugglers.

"Many of these good people" (continues the Father) "have assured me that their children, dying immediately after Baptism, had appeared to come down to them from Heaven, to encourage them to embrace the truths of Christianity. 'The sight of them, 'they would say,' overwhelmed us with a joy that we cannot express; and some of us who were ill were .almost immediately cured.' Those poor Neophytes conducted me to the grave of these little Angels, for the purpose of having me thank God for having received them as his children. There the mothers unburdened their hearts to me, telling me how they had had recourse to God and [99] he had 'given them aid. 'We were inconsolable, before we were told about Paradise; we used to mourn the death of even the most distant of our relatives, every morning and evening. My heart is now wholly changed, and no longer feels that anguish, even at the deaths of my husband and my children. My eyes, indeed, shed some tears at first; but as soon as I come to think that their souls are in Heaven with God, or that they will soon be there, I feel a joy in my soul, and all my thought is to pray that he will soon take them to himself. But if, at times, the Demon wishes to make me sad, as if I had lost those that I loved, I immediately have recourse to him who made all things, and he makes me know that one who is with him is not lost.'"

The second proof of the love felt by these peoples for Jesus Christ and his doctrine is based on their fervor, and on some acts that are very remarkable for people conceived in the midst of Barbarism. "Their [page 25] ardor was so great," says the Father, "for retaining the prayers or the truths that I taught them, that they spent the [100] nights in repeating their lessons. The old men became pupils to their little children. The Catechumens, very little versed in our science, were forced to play the Doctor. Some would write their lessons after a fashion of their own, using a bit of charcoal for a pen, and a piece of bark instead of paper. Their characters were new, and so peculiar that one could not recognize or understand the writing of another,—that is to say, they used certain signs corresponding to their ideas; as it were, a local reminder, for recalling points and articles and maxims which they had retained. They carried away these papers with them, to study their lessons in the quiet of the night. Jealousy and emulation sprang up among them: the little ones vied with the older ones who should soonest learn his prayers; and those to whom I could not give all the time they asked me for, reproached me therefor.

"But it seems to me the Angels took especially great pleasure in seeing the ardor and spirit of the smallest children: they all ran after me to [101] be instructed; they came to prayers every morning and evening; they clasped their little hands, knelt down, and pronounced after me very sedately what I made them say; and they continued this exercise every day, of their own impulse, or, rather, by the impulse of him who bade the Apostles to let them come unto him, since theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

The third proof is found in the love they feel for their Father and Patriarch. The Savages, who are commonly rather cold in their passions, have very often made 'him feel the warmth of their affection. [page 27] They honored him at their feasts with the viands that they ordinarily give to their Captains. If he went on a journey with them, the best Canoe was chosen, and he was given the most comfortable seat; and if he wished to ply the paddle, they snatched it out of his hands, saying that his occupation was to pray to God. "Pray for us and we will paddle for thee," they would say. In the places where it was necessary to carry their little Boat and all their baggage, in order to pass [102] from one river to another, or to avoid steep descents and waterfalls, they would carry his bed, his cloak, and very often his house,—all that consisting of a covering, or blanket, which served him for all these uses. Now, as he always loaded himself with his Chapel, some begged him to put it on the sacks or packets which they bore on their shoulders, saying that this little burden for Jesus lightened the weight of their load. Some, in order to oblige him to remain always among them, offered to clear some land for him, and to give him some fields to have tilled.

If any one not well-disposed toward our faith let fall some word against the Patriarch, he was immediately checked. Here is an example, which is very remarkable for Savages. When the Father was in a village quite near the English settlements, an Englishman's servant chanced to be present one day in a cabin where the Father was instructing his good Catechumens This man—either from malice, or because he did not understand the language of the country well—reported to his master afterward that the [103] Father had spoken against the English, which was not true. These worthy Neophytes, learning that this master was offended at that, [page 29] repaired to his house and addressed him as follows: "We understand our language better than thy servant does. we were near the Patriarch when he was speaking; we listened attentively, and all his words came directly into our ears. Be assured, he has never said any ill of you people. He teaches us that he who made all things hates and condemns and punishes lying; and as we wish to receive his law, and render him obedience, take these thoughts to thy heart,—those people yonder do not lie. And, furthermore, it is well for you to know that the Father is now one of our nation; that we have adopted him for our fellow-countryman; that we pay him consideration and love, as the wisest of our Captains, and respect him as the Ambassador of Jesus, to whom we wish to give ourselves entirely; and, consequently, whoever attacks him, attacks all the Abnaquiois." The Captain who delivered this little harangue uttered it so emphatically that the [104] principal Englishmen dwelling on the river Kenebek, having heard him, had the Father come to them, and begged him—through the mouth of an Englishman recently arrived from Boston, who spoke very good French—to forget all that had passed, assuring him that they gave no further credence to the false reports of a thoughtless servant. They added that they clearly saw that all the Savages loved him, and had great respect for him; that they themselves honored him as a Minister of the holy Gospel; and that the confidence which these people had in him would foster a good understanding between the French, the English, and the Savages of those regions. And thereupon appeared bottles and cups, and the Father's health was generously drunk; and, as they were from different [page 31] places, each one begged the Father to pay him a visit at his settlement, assuring him that he would always be received there with honor. Indeed, whenever the Father, in his journeys on the Kenebec river, where they dwell, went to greet them, they received him with marks of cordial good-will; and, since that time, they have always spoken of him to the Savages in very complimentary terms.

[105] The people of Naranchouak,—who are at all times the most influential of this region, and have strong alliances with several nations of new England,—wishing to give proofs of the love that they bore to their Patriarch and his doctrine, publicly naturalized him in a great assembly and received him into their Nation. Captain Oumamanradok, who made the harangue, declared openly that the Patriarch was not only their master in the faith, but that he was also the best head in the country for speaking, and for giving decisions in their affairs; and that, although he himself had been looking at the Sun for a long time, he was nevertheless only a child, while the Patriarch was an old man, full of wisdom. This man has the best intellect of all the Abnaquiois, and is the most devoted to our faith.

The fourth proof of these peoples' love for Jesus Christ is drawn from their actions. Cæpit Jesus facere et docere. Jesus began to accomplish our salvation by his deeds, and then by his teachings. He does not desire that all those who belong to him should be Doctors, [106] but he wishes them all to be obedient. "Thou dost bid us combat and resist the Demons that attack us" (they said to the Father). "They are many in number, but their strength is [page 33] diminishing from day to day, and our courage is increasing.

"The Demon that excites and foments quarrels and enmities is banished from among us: thou hearest no noise in our cabins, and the women do not scold one another. The sudden death of one of our Captains, following upon a quarrel that he had had with the Captain of the people living at the mouth of our River, made us believe that that man, who is regarded as a great Sorcerer, had killed him secretly by means of his sorcery. Our hearts were already arousing the old-time hatred that we had had for those peoples, and we were on the point of cutting one another's throats and making war on one another; but thy words banished that Demon. Thou art our Father; be also our Umpire. Speak in our councils; thou shalt be heard. We will always refer our disputes to thee. We see well that thou lovest us, suffering and fasting and praying for us as thou dost, day and night.

[107] "As for the Demon of drunkenness that thou hadst driven out of our cabins, on thy first journey, the English brought it back as soon as thou didst leave us; but it must now be exterminated forever, for it deprives us of our lives, causes murders among us, and makes us lose our wits, rendering us like madmen. Let us go this moment and find the Deputy of the English, and speak to him as follows: 'Thou Deputy of Plummet and Boston, paint our words on paper, and send them to those on whom thou art dependent; and say to them that all the allied Savages dwelling on the river Kenebek hate fire-water,'" or brandy, "'as much as they hate the Hiroquois; and that if they have any more of it [page 35] brought hither to sell to the Savages, the latter will believe that the English wish to exterminate them. Paint these words; and our Patriarch will act as our Ambassador, and will carry them to your Governors, accompanied by our chief men; and, after that prohibition, if any one gets drunk in secret, he shall be punished according as our Father shall decree.'

"The Demon who gives us fear of our Sorcerers and faith in [108] our Pythonesses," who divine future events and have knowledge (according to their own account) of things absent, "this Demon has lost his credit. Thy prayers, and those of the little children, and the recourse that we have to God, make us see the vanity and powerlessness of those Jugglers and of their sorcery. How many times have we seen persons in the last extremity, whom we thought bewitched, restored to health upon praying to him who is the master of all the Demons!" It is true that all the Sorcerers now acknowledge their weakness, and the power of Jesus, some even inviting the Father into their cabins, and treating him with high honor. The most noted and the most feared of their number, named Aranbinau,—who had, in time past, raised his hatchet against the Father to kill him, upon finding him catechizing a nephew of his,—has shown himself so docile to the Father's words that he now makes profession of having him as an intimate Friend.

"As to the Demon that makes us love polygamy " (they said), "he is in great discredit among us, inasmuch as we see clearly the inconveniences and disorders which arise from a plurality of wives. [109] He who claims to have been elected Captain in this village will never be Captain if he does not give up' [page 37] one of his two wives; and even if some one person should fail to have sense, that would not prevent the rest from becoming Christians." Then they added the following address to the Father:

"Take heart, then, and stay with us, since we are ready to obey thee. Thou art our fellow-countryman; we are of the same nation. Thou art our master; we are thy disciples. Thou art our father, and we thy children; do not abandon us to the fury of the Demons. Think not that they have gone far away; they will come and cut our throats as soon as thou leavest us. Deliver thyself, and us too, from the trouble of so many journeys, which are so long and so difficult that one can carry nothing with him—which often exposes us to the danger of dying from hunger. We are witnesses that the principal Englishmen of these regions respect thee. The Patriarchs of Acadia have told us that they had written thee that thou couldst return to our country whenever thou shouldst choose. What will become of those that shall die without baptism [110] or without confession, in thine absence?" "I confess to you," says the Father, "they touched me; and if I had not believed that God was recalling me to Kebec by the voice of my Superior who was summoning me, the most frightful labors would never have torn me from the country of those whom I love more than myself."

The last proof of these peoples' favorable attitude toward the faith is their disinterested spirit. The Huron and Algonquin Savages can expect some help from our Fathers and, through their mediation, from the French; but the Abnaquiois can claim from us only their instruction, pure and simple. They see in [page 39] their midst a Father and his companion in need of all things, having for house only their bark cabins, for bed only the earth, for food only their own salmagundis. They look for no favor from the English through the Jesuits' mediation. They have no thought of coming to Kebec to trade, for they were notified in the year 1646 that one or two Canoes were enough for coming every year to renew the alliances which they have with the new Christians of saint Joseph. Consequently [111] they have no hope, either as individuals or as a people, of reaping any temporal advantage from the coming of our Fathers to their country. It is God alone who has given them the grace and strength to persevere so long in acts of piety, without master, without teacher, and without guide. It 'is he alone who makes them receive with ardor the teachings that are given them. It is he alone who plants deep in their hearts the esteem and affection which they have for their Father. It is he alone who makes them offer such strong and unceasing resistance to the Demons of whom 1 have just spoken, and who in truth appeared unconquerable in a country where there are no laws directed against Sorcerers, or against drunkenness, or against polygamy, or against enmities and mortal hatreds. God is their sole and only law. "Now judge," says the Father, "whether one can forsake these peoples without forsaking Jesus Christ, who earnestly prays, in their persons, to be rescued from the danger of eternal destruction. Can one leave as prey to the Demons so many persons, and so many nations, each composed of ten or twelve thousand souls, without [112] having compassion on them? To leave them is to leave JESUS CHRIST; to [page 41] forsake them is to forsake him who says to us, as well as to his Father: Ut quid dereliquisti me? 'Why hast thou forsaken me?'" These conquests are worthy of Christian Princes and Kings, but very few render themselves worthy of receiving such palms. People fight very often for reeds, and despise laurels and palms. [page 43]



LETTER sent from Three Rivers will furnish us a Journal of what the Hiroquois have done during the past year in this new world. God's ways are none the less just for being hidden. He often humbles those whom he intends to exalt. He sends a man in search of She-asses, in order to make him find a Kingdom. He trains a shepherd in the use of a sling, to give him the victory over a Giant. Up to the present time, the Hiroquois have done almost more good than harm in New [113] France. They have delivered many souls from the fires of Hell, while burning their bodies in an elemental fire. For it is true that they have converted many persons, and that they are the instruments which God has used for deriving the sweet from the bitter, life from death, glory from ignominy, an eternity of pleasure from a moment of suffering,—severe indeed, but recompensed a hundredfold. When the Hurons were in affluence, and the Algonquins in prosperity, they mocked at the Gospel, and tried to murder those who proclaimed it in their country,—accusing them of being sorcerers, who made them lose their lives by secret means, spoiled their grain, and caused drouths and inclement weather; and regarding them as traitors, who held communication with their enemies for the purpose of selling their country. A strange thing, but truly worthy of note, and showing [page 45] that God knows well how men must be taken, in order to draw them to a knowledge of himself and a love for him! As soon as the Hiroquois (who, before the good news of the Gospel was carried to them, were, as a general rule, subdued by our Savages) [n q] had cast them into the abyss where they still are, these poor people came to throw themselves into our arms,—asking shelter and protection from those whom they had regarded as traitors; seeking the friendship of those whom they had tried to murder as Sorcerers; urging that the life of the soul might be granted them, since they were losing that of the body; and desiring entrance into Heaven, since they were being driven out from their own lands. And, it seems to me, I can say, with a very great appearance of truth, that the Algonquins, and the Hurons, and numerous other Nations whom we have instructed, would have been lost if they had not been ruined; that the greater part of those who came in quest of baptism in affliction, would never have found it in pro>sperity; and that those who have found Paradise in the Hell of their' torments, would have found the true Hell in their earthly Paradise. Let us say, then, that the Hiroquois have rendered men rich, thinking to make them poor; that they have made saints, thinking to make victims of wretchedness; in a word, that we owe to them (without, however, being under any obligation to them) the conversion and sanctification [115] of many souls. But I must confess that if they have done good, as indicated above, they appear now in our eyes like monsters ready to devour us. Let people lose their property, let them lose their lives, let them be killed, massacred, burnt, roasted, broiled, and eaten alive,—[page 47] patience! that matters not, so long as the Gospel takes its course, and God is known, and souls saved. The gain is greater than the loss in this traffic. But that the door of salvation should be closed to the more populous nations dwelling on the shores of the fresh-water sea of the Hurons; that the new Churches of Jesus Christ, founded and established by the piety of France, should be ruined, and so many new Christians delivered to the jaws of these Lions; that the Gospel laborers and the Pastors of this fold should be banished and driven away from their flocks,—that is what may be called a great misfortune, which, however, the high mightinesses can easily remedy, notwithstanding the disorders of France, caused by Hiroquois as barbarous as those of America. But that is straying too far from my goal; let us begin our narrative.

[116] On the sixth of March of last year, 1652, the Hiroquois, who prowled around the French .settlements all the Spring and all the Summer, defeated a Squad of Hurons who were going in search of them at a great distance, and found them very near, without expecting it. They were in ambush at the river of la Magdelaine, six leagues, or thereabout, above three Rivers. That Squad, commanded by a man named Toratati, fell into their hands and was entirely defeated.

On the 10th of May, Father Jacques Buteux (as related in the first Chapter of this Relation) was put to death, with a Frenchman accompanying him, named Fontarabie.

On the 13th of the same month, a band of Algonquins, on their way to the country of the Attikamegues, were surprised and defeated when they were [page 49] passing the place where Father Buteux had been murdered. A young man who had killed one of the Hiroquois who surprised them, was burnt and tormented in a horrible manner, on the same spot.

On the 16th of the same month, the Algonquins of three Rivers, having learned of the defeat of their people, went out to lie in wait for the [117] Hiroquois as they passed; but they fell into the trap which they intended to set for their enemies, for another band of Hiroquois—concealed near Lake St. Pierre, where they were going to lay their ambuscade—cut them into pieces, for the most part.

On the same day, there arrived from Montréal a Huron soldier of Toratati's company, who had escaped from the hands of the Hiroquois. He reported that this Captain had been burnt, and that those of his band that were left had been given their lives. It is thus that the Hiroquois swell their troops.

On 15th of the same month, a Huron woman, who was working at Montréal cultivating Indian corn, was carried off by the Hiroquois, with two of her children. These wretches hide in the woods, behind tree-trunks or in holes which they make in the ground, when they pass two and three days sometimes, without eating, in order to lie in wait and surprise their prey.

On the 21st, a French soldier and a Savage—crossing the great River, in a Canoe, before the Fort of three Rivers—were attacked, and both wounded, the Savage dying of his wounds two days afterward.

[118] On the 26th of the same month of May, a Frenchman who was tending cattle at Montréal was put to death; and a French woman received five or six wounds,—not dangerous, however, since she [page 51] did not die of them; her courage brought her out of the danger. These wanton Rascals abound everywhere, and at all times.

On the 8th of June, two Hurons who were stretching a line to catch some fish, near the Islands of the river called three Rivers, were butchered. As this place is very near the French settlements, some men hastened hither, on hearing the noise, and pursued the Hiroquois, who made their escape, leaving behind their equipage, and the scalps of the two men whom they had killed.

On the 19th of the same month, three Canoes arrived by the river of three Rivers, bringing word that the Hiroquois had made their way very far into the country of the Attikamegues, and had defeated them for the third time.

On the 2nd of July, at five o'clock in the morning, when Some Hurons were going out to fish opposite the Fort of the French, on the other side of the great river, which is of considerable width at this place, the Hiroquiois, who were in ambush, rushed upon them; but they [119] jumped into the shallop of the French who had come to escort them. The Hiroquois took to their Canoes and opened fire in all directions, pursuing the shallop, which spread its sail to the wind and extricated itself from this danger. Having reached land, near the French Fort, some soldiers entered it; the Savages followed them in their Canoes, and they gave chase to the Hiroquois, pressing them very hard. But as they are adroit, they halted, protecting themselves from our firearms; and seeing that the Lion's skin could not cover them, they tried to use that of the Fox. They sent a Canoe toward our people, propelled by two [page 53] men, who demanded a parley; a Canoe was sent to them from our side, in charge of two Hurons and an Algonquin; and these two Canoes parleyed for about half an hour, keeping the distance of a pistol shot apart. The Hiroquois said they were led by a man named Aontarisati, their Captain, and that he wished to speak to the French, and to the Savages who were their allies. They were told, in answer, to go down opposite the French Fort, and there they should receive an interview. They [120] repaired thither immediately, and from that place sent two Canoes to the quarters of the French. One carried a young Huron whom they had captured, whom they put ashore at a spot a little above the Fort, to go and see his kinsfolk who were among the French; this was in order that he might incite them to desert the French side. The other Canoe did not approach the land, but called out from its position on the water, and asked that the three Captains—of the French, of the Algonquins, and of the Hurons—should cross the river in order to go and treat with their people; and they said that they would, on their side, send the three most prominent men of their number. This proposal was ridiculed; and, meanwhile, some Canoes approaching for the purpose of corrupting our Hurons and bringing them over to their side, one of them was captured, which carried three Hiroquois; two of these were Captains, who were notorious on account of the murders they had committed in all the French settlements. They were more fortunate than the rest, for our Fathers instructed and baptized them before their death.

On the 25th of the same month of ,July, a Squad composed of more than a hundred Savages, strongly [page 55] suspecting that the enemy [121] were scattered in various places, started out in order to find some of them. They had two encounters, and fought stoutly and resolutely, without our learning the degree of success on the side of the Hiroquois; as for our own people, they returned on the seventh of August, having lost two men, and bringing back many wounded.

On the 18th of August, four inhabitants of three Rivers, on going down a short distance below the settlement of the French, were pursued by the Hiroquois, who killed two of them, as it was reported, and carried off the other two, to sacrifice them to their wrath.

On the 19th, the repulse was much greater. Monsieur du Plessis Kerbodot, Governor of three Rivers, taking with him forty or fifty Frenchmen and ten or twelve Savages, had them embark in shallops to give chase to the enemy, to recover, if possible, the prisoners and the cattle belonging to the French, which, it was believed, had been carried away. After sailing to a distance of about two leagues above the Fort, he perceived the enemy in the undergrowth at the edge of the woods, and landed in a place that was full of mud and very disadvantageous. Some one pointed out to him the advantage [122] of the enemy, who had the forest for shelter. He went forward, advancing headlong; but his ardor made him lose his life, as well as those of fifteen Frenchmen. During this engagement some Hiroquois, detached from their main body, slew a poor Huron and his wife who were at work in their own field, not far from the French settlements. God, who balances victories and confines them within limits, showed in this disaster that it was his will to preserve us; for, [page 57] if the Hiroquois had followed up their advantage,—as panic had been spread among our people, who had lost their Chief,—they would have wrought havoc among the inhabitants of three Rivers. But they retired, not knowing how to make use of their victory, and suffered the French to finish their harvests and garner their crops in peace, but not without sorrow.

On the 23rd of the same month of August, a visit was made to the scene of the engagement, where these words were found written on a Hiroquois buckler: Normanville, Francheville, Poisson, la Palme, Turgot, Chaillon, St. Germain, Onneiochronnons and Agneehronons. I have as yet lost only a Finger-nail. Normanville, a young [123] man of skill and bravery who understood the Algonquin and Hiroquois languages, had written these words with a piece of charcoal, wishing to convey the information that the seven persons whose names were seen, had been taken by the Hiroquois known as the Onneiochronnons and Agneehronnons, and that he had himself up to that time received no further injury than the tearing out of a finger-nail. I greatly fear that these poor victims have been sacrificed to the rage and fury of those Barbarians. A Lady, honored for her virtue, has written to some one in France, who was acquainted with the sieur de Normanville, that he seemed to have had some presentiment of his capture. " It is probable " (he said to this Lady a short time before falling into the hands of those Barbarians) " that, as I am every day exposed to danger, I may be captured by the Hiroquois. But I hope God will give me the grace to endure their fires with constancy, and that I shall have the good fortune to baptize some dying children, or even some adult sick [page 59] persons whom I shall instruct in their own country before my death."

On the 30th of the same month of August, the Hiroquois captured another young Huron, [124] and carried him away alive to their own country.

A letter, dated the first of November, conveys the following information: " Some Hurons have just apprised us that two Frenchmen have recently been killed at Three Rivers, and that two others have had their arms broken. They add that, when spending the night near the burnt Rock, they heard the Hiroquois singing as they are wont to sing when they torture their prisoners.

"An Algonquin who has just come to Sillery says that yesterday, opposite sainte Croix, those same Barbarians captured a Savage and two women of his nation. A good many of our Neophytes have gone out hunting in that direction, and I greatly fear lest they may fall into the snares of those hunters of men. Noël Tekouerimat is setting out immediately to arm the young men, who are here in considerable numbers, in order to avert such a disaster; but he would very much like to have Monsieur our Governor give him a French escort." Those are the contents of that letter.

To crown all our calamities, we are informed that the Hiroquois intend to rally together all their forces, in order to [125] come and destroy us next Winter. Such is the report made by the fugitives, and the reason which they give is very probable. They say, then, that the Hiroquois of the lower country, who are called Agneehronnons, asked aid, last year, from the Hiroquois of the upper districts, who are called Sontouaheronnons, in order that they might [page 61] come to fight against the French. But the Sontouaheronnons made answer that they had upon their hands enemies near home; and, if they would come and help destroy these, they themselves would join them later on for the purpose of destroying the French. The Agneehronnon Hiroquois accepted the condition and sent their troops to join those of the Sontouaheronnons,—who, with this assistance, have destroyed the Neutral nation, which was on their borders. Consequently, they are obliged to join forces with the Hiroquois called Agneehronons, for the purpose of coming to make war on the French. Those are the contents of the memoirs which have served as material for writing this Chapter.

The Demon well knows how to seize his opportunity. Seeing that old France is rent asunder by her own children, he wishes to destroy the new, in order to reestablish his Dominion [126] and his Kingdom, which is steadily going to ruin, owing to the conversion of these poor north Americans, of whom some Thousands have already entered into Heaven by the door of faith, of Baptism, and of a holy life. Those who remain, forming a Church of great innocence, cry out: " Help us, ye people who call yourselves our brothers. Let not the Hiroquois stifle to death the germ of your belief, and the seed of the faith, and the plant of the Gospel, which we have received through your agency. If ye love Jesus Christ, protect those who love him and are baptized in his name."

Some time ago, there was a request for soldiers, and for their pay, or salary; their provisions were asked for, as well as their arms and their passage. But now,—when the country is yielding grain for [page 63] the feeding of her people, and this is being done every day,—the only thing demanded for the maintenance of these vast regions is the payment of transportation for two or three hundred workmen each year; the inhabitants of the country will feed them and pay their wages. France, who is constantly emptying herself into foreign countries, [127] does not lack men to build up Colonies. God grant that she may have charity enough to send them to a place where they will live holier and easier lives, and where they would be the defense and aid of Jesus Christ, who honors men so highly that he chooses to save them by the help of men. That is enough. Let us finish this Chapter with a letter that a Savage Captain, a good Christian, sent to Father Paul le Jeune, who is laboring in old France for the salvation of the new.

"Father le Jeune: I seem to see thee, when thy letter is read to me; and I seem to be with thee, when I speak to thee by the mouth, or the pen, of Father de Quen. I do not lie; it seems to me only yesterday that thou didst baptize me. I am growing old, but the faith is not growing old in me. I love prayer as much, at the end of fifteen years, as on the first day when thou didst instruct me. We are Changing in all things, we people of this country; but I assure thee that I never shall change in regard to what thou didst teach me, and what we are now taught by him who governs us in thy place. Indeed, I make hardly any further change, [118] even in my location; I shall pass the coming Winter at Ka-Miskouaouangachit, which you call St. Joseph, as I passed the last one. I am almost wholly French. I laughed when Father de Quen told me [page 65] thou hadst shown the robe that I sent thee last Autume to some Ladies of importance in your country, and that they were pleased with it. That was not because it is beautiful, but because they like, and are glad to see, what comes from us. I would have been pleased to see the robe that thou art going to send me; it is said that there is gold upon it. Didst thou not have this thought: 'Noël will become haughty when he uses it?' Do not fail to send it next Spring; if I die this Winter, my son, when he grows up, will wear it, and he will live in the house that has been made for us at the Fort of Sillery. Make haste to come, and to bring us many sword-bearers, in order to drive away the Hiroquois from our heads. We shall soon be departed souls; do not wait until we are in the grave before coming to see us. It is thy good friend, Noël Tekouerimat, who writes to thee, and who says that he will always pray to God for thee, an d for those who give us aid. [129] Speak to the great Captain of France, and tell him that the Dutch of these coasts are causing our destruction, by furnishing firearms in abundance, and at a low price, to the Hiroquois, our enemies. Tell him to give aid to those who are baptized. That is all I have to say."[page 67]



OTHER Marie de l'Incarnation, Superioress of the Ursuline Seminary of Kebec, in new France, wishing to console her Sisters in regard to the death of Mother Marie de saint Joseph, sent them a short account of her life, her death, and her virtues. As these Memoirs have fallen into my hands, I thought it would be wronging the public to confine the enjoyment of this treasure exclusively to the Houses of the Ursulines. Accordingly, I have extracted therefrom the greater part of the facts which I shall relate in this Chapter.


OTHER Marie de saint Joseph was born in Anjou, on the seventh of September, in the year 1616. She was the daughter of Monsieur and Madame de la Troche, of saint Germain, persons of virtue, worth, and quality. The Holy Ghost endowed her from her tenderest infancy with a thousand graces and a thousand blessings, all of which she attributed to the blessed Virgin, saying that Madame her mother had dedicated and consecrated her to that Queen of the Virgins from the moment of her birth; and that it was for that reason that she had the beautiful name [page 69] Marie given her,—which, indeed, was so pleasing to her that she never heard herself called by that name without feeling its sweetness. That Royal Virgin and Mother of Virgins diffused in this little one's heart the love of purity and of Religion before she knew what purity and Religion were, unless it may be said—a thing which some persons remarked—that she was notably precocious in the use of her reason.

[131] "Her parents were taking a walk, one day, in the wooded path on one of their estates, when they sent for their little Marie, who was then only four years old. The valet de chambre, or footman, who brought her in his arms, gave her on the way some improper caresses; the poor child began to cry and to resist, in so strange a manner that this astonished man had much difficulty in framing a falsehood to conceal the cause of her tears. Now I would willingly assert that this was the greatest sin :against purity she ever committed. Though she gave me a very exact account, in new France, of all the acts of her life, I can say (to render honor and glory to the source of all goodness) that I do not remember having noted any fault that approached, even remotely, a serious offense. Speaking to me, then, afterward about that man's caresses, which were over in a moment, she still wept hot tears,—not that she believed she had committed any fault in the matter, but from a holy jealousy for purity, lamenting with sorrow that, after having been so expressly dedicated and attached to the blessed Virgin, [132] she should have had that unfortunate experience, to the detriment of her purity. [page 71]

"From that early age she avoided the approach of men, not through any exercise of her reason, but by the instinct of a superior Spirit, which made her speak of being a Nun without knowing what they were except by name. Monsieur her father, seeing that she was of an amiable disposition, took pleasure in opposing her in this inclination,—often telling her that he wished to marry her to a little Gentleman of her own age; and often making her little presents, which he said were sent to her from him. The poor child resisted and grieved so greatly, taking this raillery for earnest, that Madame her mother, perceiving that she was beginning to waste away with melancholy, begged Monsieur her husband to forego this diversion. It happened, one day, that a man of condition, wishing to tease her, kissed her by surprise; she turned around and gave him so smart a blow in the face that he felt it sharply, although it was delivered only by the hand of a child."

Having noted that Madame her mother gave alms to the poor, and spoke of them with compassion, she would often [133] steal away from her side to carry them her breakfast and her lunch, and even what she could find in the kitchen. Her good mother, upon perceiving this, not only did not disapprove of her conduct, but even kissed and caressed her, and gave her full permission to bestow alms, and to visit the poor whom she fed,—taking the child with her, in order to give her pleasure, when she went to dispense her own charities. Bona arbor bonos fructus facit,—"From a good tree come good fruits."

"She had a natural aversion for jewels, gewgaws, and those little insignificant trifles which often constitute the highest pursuits of girls who are fond of [page 73] the world. She envied the lot of a little shepherd-girl whom she saw somewhere, because she was freed from the trouble of wearing gloves, of adjusting a mask, of keeping little ornaments that were given to her, and of adapting herself to the fashion. Her father and mother, seeing that she was delicate, and of so sweet a disposition, besides being so different in her ways from persons of her condition who are reared for the world, wished [134] to induce in her a disposition to consecrate herself entirely to God, if he should deign to call her to his service. Madame her mother herself took her to Tours, at the age of eight or nine years, and gave her in charge of the good Ursuline Mothers, on whom Our Lord has conferred much grace for the rearing of youth in his fear and his love.

"This young Lady soon charmed the hearts of all her companions. She gained an empire over them by her deference and courtesy, and by the little services she rendered them,—so that they regarded her as their little mistress, and were never jealous at seeing her loved more than the others, and even to such a degree that the Nuns employed her to teach the others. And although she was very merry-hearted, and liked her little amusements, it was always without detriment to her devotions. She applied herself with great pleasure to reading the lives of Saints, especially of those who had toiled in the conversion of souls; hence it was that she loved and honored with peculiar fervor the Apostle of the Indies, St. Francis Xavier, making his life her innocent [135] delight,—so that she often stole away from her companions, and deprived herself of her amusements, in order to find time to read it." [page 75]

I know not whether the delicacy of her temperament, or the intensity with which she devoted herself to the acquisition of virtue, made her fall ill; however that may be, the Physicians deemed it necessary to send her back to her native air. She was not long with her parents before she recovered her former health. She did not discontinue her devotions, despite the distance separating her from the house and the guidance of the Ursuline Mothers. She confessed and received communion with much frequency; she gave some time to silent prayer; she talked about God, and incited the servants to the practice of the virtues, with such well-grounded argument that Monsieur and Madame de la Troche were unable to conceive how a girl of her age could attain such heights, unless she were endowed with very extraordinary grace.

"Feeling herself entirely cured, she asked permission to return to her little Paradise. She obtained it, but not without difficulty; for the new [136] intercourse and the new conversations that she had had with her parents had bound them so closely together on both sides that, when the question of parting came up, I do not know which suffered more, the parents or the child. She has since said that the love they bore her, and the confidence which her good mother manifested in her, above her brothers and sisters, had exerted so sweet a charm over her that the violence she did to herself in leaving them came near making her fall down in a swoon from grief. On the other side, her parents could never say 'Adieu' to her; and Madame her mother, fearing lest she would go to excess in the tenderness that she felt for her daughter, could not escort her back, [page 77] but begged a relative of hers to render her that office of love and charity.

"Our young Lady, having broken her Bonds and her chains, from a desire to belong wholly to God, was no sooner away from her Father's house than joy took possession of her heart. You would have said that the Spirit of God made her fly, and exult in her triumph, after that noble victory. At the same time when she was restored to the house of the Ursulines, she [137] entered on a new Struggle. She prayed, she conjured the Mothers to receive her into their Novitiate, that she might become a Nun. She was told that she was not old enough,—that she was only thirteen or thereabout, and that fourteen was the required age. This repulse and her own fervor made her pine away; she gave heed where the Superior and the Nuns were to pass, where she waited for them, and implored them on her knees to take pity on her. They answered her that she was out of health and they must rather speak about sending her back to her honored parents than about admitting her to the Novitiate. The poor child sighed, and protested that the Novitiate would be her cure. Mother de saint Bernard, who loved her fondly, decided that it was necessary to grant her this satisfaction, with the condition, however, that she must leave if her parents wished to withdraw her. She agreed to what was required from her, that she might enjoy what she herself was asking for; and God graciously caused her to find her health in this place of benediction. Her fear lest, after all, she might have to leave it, made her send out messengers and letters without delay, to obtain from Monsieur her father and Madame her mother [138] this boon, that she [page 79] might become an Ursuline Nun—without, however, telling them that she had already taken the first step. Let us .see how that favor was granted her."


ONSIEUR and Madame de la Troche, seeing that their daughter was entering upon her fourteenth year, and that she was pressing them urgently to permit her to enter the Religious life, repaired to Tours for the purpose of testing her thoroughly; for, although they had offered her to God from the time she was in her cradle, in case he were pleased to accept her for his house, yet, in spite of that, the love which they bore her made them resolve not to give her up, except for good cause, and until they were fully convinced of the genuineness of her call. As soon as they arrived, they took her out of the Monastery and, keeping her with them, planted two batteries, capable of overthrowing any other calling less strong than hers. I admit that it is well for parents to sound their children's wishes, for one cannot rely upon every order of mind; but it must also [139] be admitted that God does not always call so loudly, and make himself so clearly heard, that the child's attention cannot be diverted, and the child itself withdrawn from the place where Our Lord destined for it the grace of his salvation. Monsieur de la Troche, knowing the temper and spirit of his daughter, who in truth had nothing of the girl about her, attacked her with strong arguments, showing her the means of gaining her salvation without giving herself so much trouble; and representing to her the dangers of a long repentance upon seeing herself bound and fettered by a long chain of sufferings [page 81] which the religious life drags after it. Madame her mother kissed and caressed her, and offered her every endearment calculated to win the heart of a young Lady of her condition. All these offerings failed to touch her; but the love that she felt for so kind a mother rent her heartstrings when she thought of parting from her.

But as she had a very high-spirited disposition, she stoutly resisted her natural tenderness; and then Our Lord put into her mouth such beautiful passages of Scripture, and thoughts from the holy fathers, touching the blessedness of the Religious life, and she quoted them [140] with such fluency and eloquence, that her parents and several persons of quality who heard her were struck with surprise, and decided that no further resistance must be made to the spirit that makes eloquent the tongues of children.

Accordingly she was made to return to the Convent of the Ursuline Mothers, where the Evil One, fore-seeing the sanctity of this valiant subject, made a furious attack upon her. He displayed to her in a clear light all the reasons that her father had adduced to divert her from her purpose, effacing from her memory all the rejoinders with which God had inspired her. He aroused all the tenderness felt by her for a mother who was never tired of seeing or of loving her. The shock was so great and the darkness so thick that, feeling her strength wavering, she flung herself, as if she were a lost creature, into the arms of the blessed Virgin, offering all the devotions of which she could think, in order to win her heart and obtain, by her mediation, deliverance from this temptation. The thought of leaving her mother forever frightened her; but at length the desire to [page 83] belong to God, and to follow the maxims of the Gospel, [141] made her resolve, in the presence of the blessed Virgin, to drink the bitterness of her son's cup, and to persevere constantly in his house, even though all these torments should accompany her until death.

"The day on which she assumed the holy garb of Religion was another day of conflict for her. It is the custom to dress the girls, on this last day of their secular life, in a manner befitting the rank that they would have held in the world. Our Novice appeared, to the view of Madame her mother, so composed, so modest, that, when the latter approached her to give her the last Farewell, she seized and embraced her, and held her so long clasped to her bosom that Monsieur de la Troche, seeing her speechless and well-nigh in a swoon, snatched her from her mother's arms to conduct her to the door of the Monastery whence she had come. This separation drew some tears from the daughter's eyes, and left the mother in a deep melancholy. As soon as the former entered the Monastery, her parade dress was removed, and the one that she had so ardently desired was given her, with the customary ceremonies. She was also made to bear the name of saint Bernard; we shall relate hereafter how [142] she took that of saint Joseph."

Our Lord invested her spiritually with the unction and the grace that were symbolized by her veil and the other appurtenances of her costume. You would have said that she was beginning where many leave off. " I was delighted and astonished, " says Mother de l'Incarnation, " to see in a girl of fourteen years not only the maturity of one over twenty-five, but also the virtue of a Nun already far advanced Nothing puerile showed itself in her youth: she [page 85] followed her Rules with so great exactness that one would have said she was born for these observances; and the high sacrifice of the understanding and will, which causes so many persons great exertions, seemed to come to her by nature. In a word, her disposition, which was ever invariably cheerful, made her very lovable and very welcome to all the Community; and she watched so carefully over herself that it was not necessary to admonish her twice in regard to the same thing; indeed, she even regarded herself as admonished and reprimanded for the faults that she saw corrected in her companions." I will say nothing of her devotions, especially [143] of the love that she had for the holy Virgin; we will speak of that in its place. It suffices to render this very authentic and truthful testimony, that, from her entrance upon her Novitiate until her death, she always endeavored to respond faithfully to the grace of her calling.

"When the two years of her Novitiate had been piously accomplished, her parents came to fight the last battle with her. Madame her mother brought to bear the rest of her rhetoric, and showed all her affection, all her love, and all her tenderness,—assuring her daughter that she would receive her with open arms, if the life of a Religious order that was far from easy was in the slightest degree distasteful to her; she protested that she could not, without violence, be separated from her. Monsieur her father represented to her that no decisive step had yet been taken, that she was still in full possession of her liberty; but that it needed only three words to bind her so that there would be no further remedy for her repentance. Their design was not to resist God, but to oppose a calling founded on shifting sand." [page 87]

The union of hearts is not very often broken without violence. He who utters the word " mother " [144] utters the name of one who loves; and he who speaks of a well-born child, speaks of a heart full of love and respect. Our Novice could forsake neither God nor her parents. She would have wished either that her mother might become a Nun with her, or that her parents might convert their house into a Monastery of her Order; for to speak of separation was to speak of death. She would rather have died a thousand times than quit the plow-handle and turn back; and poor nature suffered, in her, strange convulsions and anguish at the thought that she was about to deprive herself, for the rest of her days, of her good mother's delightful conversation.

He who holds all nature suspended in his hand, who knows the number of the stars, who gives force to the winds, and sets bounds to the floods and storms of the sea, cured her of this temptation in a moment. He caused her to see in her sleep a ladder like that of Jacob; with one end it touched the heavens, and with the other it rested on the earth. Many people were climbing this ladder, aided by their good Angels, who gently wiped away the sweat [145] which the toil and exertion called forth from their foreheads and their entire faces. Some of them she saw who fell backward at the first step, or at the first round of the ladder; others tumbled headlong from the middle; and a small number, surmounting the difficulties of a road so straight and so steep, arrived at last at the top, and gained the victory. The effect of this vision made it evident that it was not a simple dream forged in the workshop of her imagination, but a remedy for her ill, applied by the hands of her [page 89] good Angel. It needed no questioning of Œdipus for the explanation of this enigma; the Spirit of God was its interpreter. He cracked the stone, and made her taste its kernel. That love of the child of Adam which held her fettered by the eyes and heart of flesh, was changed in an instant to a love which does not destroy nature, but sanctifies it,—a love stronger, but freer; a love which regards not time, but eternity. Her fidelity in resisting that stifling love; her greatness of soul in never revealing it to her parents, for fear that they would take advantage of it to oppose her calling; her resolve to suffer, for the rest [146] of her days, the tyranny of that love, rather than take a backward step and desert her post,—won for her that holy and unfettered love which, after freeing her from her bondage, gave her the means to offer to God, in deep peace, a veritable sacrifice,—or, rather, an entire holocaust of herself; uniting herself closely to him in separating herself from all his creatures, by means of the vows of her profession, which she took at the age of sixteen. And never after that time did the love of her parents cause her trouble; and the fear of severing her connection with them was so banished from her heart that she afterward, without any difficulty, put more than a thousand leagues distance between herself and them.

As soon as our young Professed nun was enrolled in the army of Jesus Christ, weapons were put into her hands to combat his enemies,—namely, the ignorance of the little girls given her to teach, and the evil tendencies of their nature. This pursuit—a low one, to mercenary souls—raised her to the dignity of the guardian Angels. Her aim was to engraft Jesus Christ upon these little wild stocks, to [page 91] make them know their own passions [147] and their evil tendencies, and to suggest to them the means of combating these. If she instructed them in civility, if she taught them to read or write, or if she made them learn some work, she always made her instruction bear on their salvation, gently inculcating in them how they were to sanctify these occupations, and derive therefrom help for their salvation. In a word, her sole object, during almost all her life, was to cause God to be known and loved by those with whom she had intercourse.

"On the occasions which obliged her to appear at the Grating " (,say the Memoirs which I have before me), " there was observed in her bearing and demeanor a gravity and modesty that were quite extraordinary. Conversation that did not have to do with piety :he could not endure; and if any one (by some digression of too great freedom) wished to draw her into talk which savored of the world, she would lead him back again with a holy dexterity; or if he were persistent, she would retire from the Grating or else would take the liberty to speak to him according to her feelings, without respect to human considerations, saying that one must not be less free and less bold in upholding the good than some [148] were in destroying it. Hence it was that she not infrequently asked her Superior to excuse her from seeing those whose conversation she believed would be fruitless."


OTHER de St. Joseph possessed an intelligence that was quick, clear, and highly enlightened. Her conversation was amiable, and her skill in [page 93] winning the hearts of those at the helm was delightful. " Seeing herself, in course of time, approved and upheld by the chief pillars of her house, her youth, which still had some fire in its veins, brought her within two fingers of a precipice, by exposing her " (says my paper) " to the danger of taking a road which would have been very detrimental to I her, and which, under the guise of an apparent good, was going to conduct her into very subtle vanity. Being, then, on the point of taking this flight, Our Lord made her see what I am about to relate. She found herself, in the quiet of night, at the entrance to a large square surrounded on all sides by shops. [149] These shops appeared to her filled with all the articles and all the delights calculated to attract the eyes, to win the heart, and to charm the mind. These beautiful things, advantageously displayed, shone with a marvelous brilliancy; so that all those who entered this square were immediately enamored of them. She saw enter there a Friar of her acquaintance, who was forthwith enchanted, as well as the others. What most frightened her in this danger was, that, not being able to retreat, she saw herself apparently forced to throw herself into this abyss. But, just as she thought herself lost, there appeared a troop or company of young people having exactly the appearance of the Savages of new France, whom she had not then seen. One of them bore a standard inscribed with certain words in a strange tongue. She, greatly astonished, heard a voice which came from these olive-colored people, and which said to her: 'Fear not; it is by us that you shall be saved.' And thereupon, drawing themselves up in line on both sides, they made her pass between them and [page 95] across that square, without being arrested [150] or charmed by its beauties. In a word, they put her in a place of safety." Now it is easy to see, from the sequel of her life and from what happened to that wretched Friar,—who had then the reputation of a high liver, and who apostatized, some time afterward,—that this vision was not a chimera but a reality. It is true, she did not at once know this, and she did not take her Benefactors for Savages; but it must also be owned that the fondness she had always had for the salvation of souls, increased in ardor every day in her heart after this vision; and that the reading of the Relations, which were sent every year from Canada, gave her most fervent desires to undertake things which she held as chimerical, not thinking the day was ever destined to come when she could realize them. She spoke about them often to Mother Marie de l'Incarnation, who burned with the same fire, which they both regarded as folly,—not seeing with what fuel it could be fed, and unable to conceive that persons of their sex and condition were destined ever to be sent even unto the ends of the world.

[151] About that time, Madame de la Pelterie—having read in the same Relations that it was desired in new France that some Amazon should undertake a voyage, longer than that of Æneas, in order to provide for the instruction of the little Savage girls—resolved to found a Seminary in that country of Crosses, and to conduct thither in person some Ursuline Nuns to govern it, In pursuance of this plan, she repaired to Tours, to obtain some from Monseigneur the Archbishop and from Mother Françoise de St. Bernard, Superior of their Convent. [page 97] Monsieur the Archbishop approved this enterprise, contrary to the expectation of those who knew how much he was naturally opposed to things so new and unprecedented. He ordered the Superior to give to Madame de la Pelterie Mother Marie de l'Incarnation, whom she asked for expressly, and to choose, by the advice of some persons whom he named, a companion for her. The whole House of the Ursulines was on fire, there being no one, except our young Professed Nun, who did not wish for this second place. You would have said that the Evil One [152] had given her a blow on the head with a cudgel, She was colder than ice; she seemed stunned and abashed; and that great love that she felt for a good whose realization had appeared to her so advantageous, but impossible, was changed into a great aversion when she saw herself empowered to claim it. And, although she honored Madame de la Pelterie as a saint, yet she regarded her, as well as the one who had been accorded her, as lost. It is a strange thing that the affairs of God are always attended with abhorrence and crosses. All her light was changed to darkness, her affections to estrangement, and her love to hate. It is true, this noise and din were only in the kitchen or in the courtyard among the servants,—I mean, in the lower story of the passions; for she always had, in the inmost depths of her heart, and in her soul's highest chambers, a secret esteem for a calling so exalted. Hence it was that, upon unbosoming herself to her dear companion, Mother de l'Incarnation, these phantoms vanished, the curtain was withdrawn, and the day appeared to her, more beautiful than ever. [153] [page 99] She hastened to throw herself at her Superior's feet, in order to obtain a share of this good fortune; but she received for answer only an order to take the chamber and assume the Duties of her who was to depart, and to remain in quiet. Those who knew her talents, and who had a love for this great work, believed that matters must not rest there; they urged Mother de l'Incarnation to ask for her as companion. The Superior lent her a deaf ear. Thereupon the task of choosing another was undertaken: the holy Sacrament was exposed, and forty hours of Prayer were observed, in order that God might preside at that election. Strangely enough, in so great a number, those with whom this choice rested could reach no conclusion except in favor of our Candidate; in the case of all the others, there was something or other that proved an objection. Accordingly, she went again to find the Mother Prioress, prostrated herself, and conjured her to be favorable to her in this emergency, unless she knew her to be unacceptable to God. Her Prioress remained speechless; love made her fear to lose a girl whom she had tenderly nurtured, [154] who had given her so much satisfaction, and who gave great promise for her house. These reiterated demands, and the fear of resisting God and not yielding him what he desired, made her pass the whole night without sleeping; and in this silence Our Lord took possession of her with such power, and gave her so much knowledge concerning the calling of her dear daughter, that she submitted, with the provision, however, that her parents should give their consent.

Forthwith a special courier was sent to ask their [page 101] permission, although only a refusal was expected from them. Meanwhile' the prayers were continued in the house, and our young Amazon took as advocate in her cause the great saint Joseph, asking of him not admission to Canadas, but that he would incline her parents' hearts to follow the promptings of the spirit of God; and she made a vow to I him that, if his goodness should open that door to her, she would take and bear his name, and proceed under his auspices, in that remote quarter of the world.

"The courier found her parents at Angers, and presented them the letters regarding their dear daughter. Monsieur de la Troche, [155] on reading them, was completely overcome with astonishment. Madame her mother, opening the sluice-gates of her tears and giving free vent to her grief, filled her whole house with alarm: there were hurrying feet and lamentations on every hand, the name of Canadas inspiring all with terror. Madame de la Troche, regaining her spirits somewhat, ordered the horses put to the coach, in order to go at once and prevent this voyage. No sooner said than done. When she had one foot already in the coach, there appeared a certain Carmelite Father, who, upon learning the cause of so sudden a journey, said to her, 'Madame, I detain you; permit me to say a word to you in your house.' She obeyed, although reluctantly, and they both went together to find Monsieur de la Troche. This good Religious, filled with the spirit of God, spoke to them so freely and so effectively of the honor and grace done them by Our Lord in calling their dear daughter on so holy a Mission; and he [page 103] showed them, by so many and pregnant arguments, the harm they would cause before God, and the wrong they would do to the sanctity of that generous soul, if they took measures to prevent her journey, that they [156] had no other response to give than a hearty acquiescence in the orders of him who was master, abasing themselves before him and adoring his guidance, bitter indeed though they found it. Were they not parents worthy of being honored by so holy a daughter ? What will be said before God by the Communities from which such eminent subjects are not demanded, when they see a house give the dearest that it has, and parents deprive themselves of the object of their love and tenderness?

Madame de la Troche, having made her sacrifice, asked for nothing more than the satisfaction of going to embrace her dear daughter once more, of being able to bid her a final farewell, and at the same time to carry her the parting words and benediction of her father, who was ill. This good Religious, with a holy frankness, said to her: " No, Madame, you shall not go; your tenderness might weaken in some manner your Amazon's noble spirit. Offer the holocaust in all its entirety. It is sufficient for you to write to her according to the feelings that God gives you. " His counsel was followed. Monsieur and Madame de la Troche wrote two letters, of such [157] piety and Christian spirit that they drew tears from all who read them.

This news having arrived, the name of Marie St. Joseph was given to Mother Marie de saint Bernard, in accordance with the vow which she had made in the matter. She was triumphant with joy, recalling [page 105] the whole course of her vocation, and worshipping with love God's operations in her guidance. In a word, she made ready for that long voyage of a thousand leagues in a straight line, and of more than three thousand in the detours and tacks that had to be made.

Monsieur the Archbishop, learning that the choice of the two Mothers was made, summoned them to his Palace, where this holy old man gave them his blessing. He urged them to embrace with courage the Cross of the son of God,—using the same words that our Lord uttered to his Apostles upon sending them on their Missions, and making them sing the Psalm, In exitu Israel de Ægypto, etc., and the Song of the blessed Virgin, Magnificat anima mea Dominum, etc. He dismissed them, with astonishment at seeing the strength and constancy of those three Amazons, for Madame their foundress was of the party.

[158] After receiving his benediction and that of her parents, she had to take leave of her dear Mother Prioress and her dear sisters. The greater number envied her happy lot, although some trembled at the thought of the dangers she might encounter by land and sea. Be that as it may, she departed from Tours with her dear companion, on the twentieth day of February in the year sixteen hundred and thirty-nine. She was then only twenty-two and a half years old; and nevertheless, in all the journeys that had to be made,—from Tours to Paris, from Paris to Dieppe, and from Dieppe to new France,—and in all the company that she met,—at the Court, in private houses, or in the Monasteries of Nuns,—she left everywhere [page 107] such an impression of her modesty and virtue, that I can affirm that it still continues at the present time in many places. She was welcome in times of danger; she could dispel fear' by some little saying, and induce the company to join in prayer, which she herself, with much cheerfulness, was the first to begin. In her extreme youth, no youth was noticed, but only [159] maturity. Her self-reliance especially showed itself one day, at the prospect of death that presented itself,—not armed with a scythe, but clothed in frightful ice, against which their vessel would have been dashed to pieces, had not God preserved them by a kind of miracle. Her firmness brought color to their pale faces and strengthened the hearts that trembled with fear. At last, after weathering the Ocean storms,—after withstanding the violence of winds and waves, after passing through a thousand dangers, and bearing with constancy the fatigues of the sea,—she was by the will of God enabled, in the same year in which she started, to enter the land so ardently longed for, the land of conflicts and of victories, to pass thence to the glorious sojourn of an everlasting triumph. Let us say now a few words about her virtues, and the favors which her Bridegroom showed her in this land of benediction.


OTHER Marie de saint Joseph had from her childhood a great tenderness for the incarnate Word. The Reverend Father Jean Bagot, a Religious well known in our Society, told me that, happening to be at her father's house at the time of her [page 109] first communion, he was surprised to see the intelligence of that child: her confession, so artless and so judicious for her age, astonished him, and the tender devotion displayed by her for Our Lord in that communion charmed him. " I never spoke to her, " added the Father, " about the Son of God, in the brief stay that I made with her parents, without seeing her little cheeks all wet with tears; her eyes, full to overflowing, were so intently fixed upon me that, upon witnessing this holy eagerness and great love for her Savior at so tender an age, I could not refrain from saying to her mother that that child would some day attain a great height, Quia virtus Domini erat cum illa."

All the light, all the knowledge, [161] all the love, and all the feeling that she had for that divine Bridegroom in old France, were merely the preludes and first essays of what she was to receive in the new. One morning, some six years before her death, as she was at prayer, her soul appeared to her under the form of a charming castle; and at the same time this Bridegroom, the Son of the Almighty, presenting himself at the door, made himself apparent to her spirit by a purely intellectual communication, wherein the Evil One had no part, since it was independent of all the senses. " He was so bright and full of glory, and of such ravishing beauty " (says the one from whom I received the memoirs), " he held out his arms and threw her such fond glances, that she would have died of joy and love if he had not sustained her. At length, holding her in his arms and taking full possession of her soul, he said to her: 'My daughter, take care of the outside of the castle, and I will guard the interior.' As he [page 111] was about to withdraw, she wished to follow him; but a piece of crape, or a veil, intervening between them, she understood clearly that she must resume the path of faith, and enjoy this light only in passing, as one sees the lightning flash."

[162] Nevertheless, for about a week she was in ecstasy, without, however, losing her senses; and in this apparition her Well-beloved instructed her in all the mysteries of his adorable humanity, clothing her with his Spirit and changing her entirely into a new creature. From that time, her heart was no Longer her own; and one could not speak of Jesus Christ in her presence without causing her soul to soften and melt with love. She spoke of him sometimes in such exalted language that it was clearly seen whence came her knowledge.

Our Lord often talked with her, in language heard only by the inner ear. Singing the Credo one day at holy Mass, she lapsed into a state of amorous delight on uttering these words, Per quem omnia facta sunt, rejoicing in her heart that all things had been made by her Bridegroom. And, when that joy and that delight made her almost swoon away, he said to her: "'Yes, my daughter, all things were made by me, but I am recreated in thee. " She thought she would expire upon hearing these words, which signified nothing less than a holy transformation in him in whom she lived more than in herself.

[163] I cannot relate all the effects that these divine communications wrought in her soul; they were a veritable series of Thanksgivings, praises, and blessings. She enjoyed a continual consciousness of having come into the world under the law of grace, in order to have the means of possessing Jesus [page 113] Christ to the full. She felt great pity for souls that had no knowledge of this great treasure, and was displeased with those that had knowledge of it, but did not possess it.

The sight of the charms of her Well-beloved made her see so plainly the baseness and ugliness of created beings in a word, the nothingness of every thing that, long before her death, she was regarded by some as incapable of vainglory, or of any other love than that which is directed toward God. Indeed, the vision that has been made clear, and sees things as they are, is not greatly touched by what is false.

It occurs to me that some of her sisters, upon reading this little summary of her life, may well desire the same delights and the same intimacy with their Savior. It must be confessed [164] that that sugar is sweet and that ambrosia is full of delight; but they will permit me to say to them that those great and transient consolations are ordinarily communicated only to the souls that Jesus Christ causes to suffer with him. It is merely a nutriment and support which he gives them to enable them to bear the burden of his sufferings, as we shall see in what follows.

As Our Lord often spoke to her, he told her, four years and a half before her death, that she would thenceforth live only by faith and crosses. These words, weighty indeed, had their effect. Thence-forward she cared only for sufferings, and her Bridegroom gave her an abundance of them. She was constantly subjected to a state of spiritual suffering so hidden, so piercing, and so acute, that few persons were able to understand them. In her body [page 115] she suffered almost continual pains and weaknesses, so that the words of saint Paul, " I am crucified with Jesus Christ, " were found to be very true in the case of this victim of suffering love. Often that Lover of suffering souls burdened her with the weight [165] of his Justice, of his Holiness, and of his other attributes, with loads of such heaviness that her life ceased to be anything but a martyrdom. One day, when she was overcome with weakness, she said to her companion these words: " If I were asked the cause of my suffering, I could only answer that it is the Incarnate Word, the one whom I love, who torments me in an inexplicable manner. " Sometimes she had such great heaviness of heart and such vivid impressions of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, that she seemed to suffer a death that was harder than death itself. Her longing to die, in order to enjoy him whom she had seen in such ravishing beauty, kindled in her soul a fire so scorching and so painful, that she could only quench it by another pain. She appeased her love of joy by her love of suffering. This language is not strange to those who love, and who know that, in order to be in a high degree like Jesus Christ in his glory, one must, as St. Paul says, be conformed to him in his sufferings.

The Bride of the Canticles goes to seek her Bridegroom when he is absent. The soul [166] that God engages in prayer remains at rest; but, if he hide himself, it arouses its spirit and sends forth its affections to seek and to find its well-beloved. Our Canadian followed this maxim in her Crosses. When her Bridegroom gave her any, she bore them with a peace, and submission to his orders and guidance, that were altogether charming: she took that vessel [page 117] of myrrh and hid it in her bosom with love; and when he denied her this favor, she made Crosses for herself, and sought for self-inflictions that would very soon have borne her away from this world, had not her Superiors set bounds and limits to her fervor.

Knowing, as she did, the malice and cunning of the daughter of Adam—I mean, of corrupt nature—she had a marvelous adroitness not only in killing it, but also in preventing her sisters' Charity from affording her any relief. It gave her offense to tell her that her infirmities exempted her from observing the rules of the Community; and a formal contest ensued when she was urged to take some rest in her weakness, unless the latter were [167] extreme. Her resistance did not consist in a little compliment formed merely by her lips; but was based on a perception of her lowliness, and a belief that she was a burden to her Community. In other matters she yielded easily and submitted readily to those who governed her, when they did not listen to her arguments—a thing which happened very seldom; for her eloquence was great when she pleaded the cause of Jesus Christ's sufferings against the effeminacy of the old Adam.


T is very difficult to love Jesus without loving Mary, or to honor Mary without respecting saint Joseph. I can say with truth that that holy family gave the first, the noblest, and the most constant occupation to Mother Marie de saint Joseph, during all the years of her earthly pilgrimage. Jesus Christ [page 119] drew her to himself, the Virgin received her, and she sought saint Joseph. She was born with a spirit of devotion toward the blessed Virgin; that was the first milk which she imbibed. Her good [168] mother dedicated and consecrated her from her cradle to that Queen of the Angels, and made her pass her first infancy in that piety. We have said that the name Marie was given her with this intent, that it was as sugar to her mouth, whenever she pronounced it, and that her ears and her heart always felt a new pleasure when she was called by the beautiful name Marie. This joy arose from the love that she bore that Queen of the Angels, and it may be said this love was a jealous love; for she could not bear that others should not have frequent recourse to, and great confidence in, her whose goodness she so often experienced. To her she attributed her pious education in her early youth, her desires to belong to God and draw others to him, her calling in an order laboring for the salvation of souls, the love of her dear son, her deliverance from her difficulties and temptations,—in a word, all the graces and favors that she received from the goodness of her dear child. She often said that, from her birth up to the age of twenty years, every day, every week, and every month of her [169] life had been consecrated to her in a very special manner. By the love and confidence which she had in the blessed Virgin, she was delivered from that low and selfish love that she bore her parents. The hallowed and unfettered Love that she had for them afterward was only an imitation of the love which that Princess cherished for her sovereign lord. If she obeyed her Rules, it was in a union of the obedience which that amiable Mother [page 121] rendered to her son, and that which she herself rendered to her dear Bridegroom. If she had some little time to herself, it was immediately consecrated to the blessed Virgin; and, during the first years that she was in the house of God, she was always searching for new devices by which to honor her—now by Psalms, now by Hymns, and again by praises and by vows that never ended. She often recited a thousand times, the first Angelical salutation. If at any time she lapsed into some imperfection, she went, full of love, to caress her good Mother, conjuring her to cover up that fault with the beauty of her virtues, in order that her son's eyes might not be wounded by it, and that [170] the wrong she had done him by her offense might be repaired by her very lovable fidelity; and thereupon, pouring out her heart at her feet, she promised her to be more faithful another time, and to perform such and such mortifications, or to recite such and such devotions in her honor. She entered into her joys and into her sorrows; she served her on her journeys; in a word, she was all confidence and love for her much honored Lady and Mistress.

She did not feel that tenderness toward saint Joseph, and would have been almost willing to bring suit in the matter against the blessed Virgin, reproaching her for not giving her any access to her dear Spouse. She urged and conjured her to take pity on her and grant her that favor,—to present her to that lovable Spouse. " I fear, " she would say, " that this insensibility is a mark of my reprobate condition. " When she was at Tours, and had withdrawn into solitude, she went to find her Superior, in the middle of her retreat,—weeping like a child, because [page 123] she felt no devotion toward saint Joseph; that made her tremble. Her Prioress told her, with a smile, that her tears and anguish were a mark [171] of that devotion. But this did not comfort her, because she did not feel the protection of that great Patriarch as she did that of his dear Spouse.

At the time of her greatest anguish, the Superior of the Ursulines of Loudun, on her way to the grave of the Blessed Monsieur de Sales, passed through Tours and lodged at the Monastery of our Canadian. All the Nuns, and she in her turn, kissed the sacred balm which saint Joseph used in curing that good Mother and bringing her out of her agony. There was not one of them that did not experience an odor and an influence from this balm, which was not of earthly origin,—except our Canadian, who was denied that grace; the odor of this balm neither touched her nostrils, nor produced any emotion in her heart. God knows with what grief her poor soul was seized. Then indeed it was that she believed that he whose friendship she sought so piously had repulsed her. If God takes his delight in men, the Saints do so no less. This great Patriarch took pleasure in seeing that innocent soul run after what she [172] already possessed in a nobler manner than her ardor laid claim to. At length, it was his will to comfort her.

That good Mother of Loudun, returning from her journey and passing again through Tours, entered the same Monastery, and gave a second opportunity to kiss the holy balm, which she always carried with her. Mother Marie de St. Joseph trembled upon approaching it, fearing a second rebuff; she [page 125] presented herself on her knees, with a spirit that was humbled, but yet full of confidence that the most blessed Virgin, her good mother, would this time give her to her Spouse. Her expectation was not in vain: she had no sooner touched that ointment than she not only perceived its odor, but was also penetrated thereby to her inmost soul, receiving the grace which she had so earnestly entreated. The spiritual transports which she then experienced were so keenly felt that the Mother of Loudun, perceiving it, said to her with a smile, " Here is a heart powerfully acted upon by God. " She, in a perfect transport, softly retired, and hastened to a grotto of saint Joseph, which is in the Monastery, where she kept herself shut in for about [173] two hours; and, during that time, Our Lord gave her saint Joseph as her Father and Protector, making her understand that she was now the daughter of the Virgin and of saint Joseph.

This process, wholly divine in its nature, and these caresses, so full of love, overpowered her and made her burst into tears of love and joy. In her inmost soul she felt the powerful effects of that grace, assuring her of this filiation, so that she could never doubt it for the rest of her days, experiencing in the subsequent course of her life the aid of so powerful and so kind a Father. She took his name, as we have noted, when he caused her passport to be given her for going to his country—I mean, to new France, which may be called the country of St. Joseph, inasmuch as those vast regions march under his standards, and honor him as their Father and their Patron. He led her into that glorious land, into that [page 127] Kingdom of sufferings, to be one of the foundation stones of a Seminary and Convent erected in the name of saint Joseph.


REAT lights and lofty contemplations which do not engender virtue are like those flowers which bear no fruit; their tree is beautiful, but it is not useful. There are persons enough who talk about virtue, or who take pleasure in hearing it talked about, who approve it and who honor it; but the number of those who actually practice it is small indeed. Our Canadian made this her guiding principle, believing that all visions which did not tend thither went astray from the true path, and that all brightness not representing virtue was only a false light; so she died in a country where truth is loved, and whence mere appearances are banished. The glory of a beautiful soul is not to have beautiful eyes, but to have well-formed hands, like those of the Bride, fitted for the exercise of the virtues. Here are some little marks of those with which our Canadian was highly endowed. Let us begin with her humility. It seems to me that I might say that [175] want of clear vision is the cause of our being so sensitive to praise and scorn. The soul that sees clearly the nothingness of all that is not God, gives itself little concern whether it be loved or hated, honored or despised, by that nothingness. Mother de St. Joseph was so convinced of her own baseness, she was so filled with thoughts of God's grandeur, and she saw so clearly that from him alone comes trustworthy and .true judgment, that she could almost say with St. [page 129] Paul that the judgment of men was to her of little account. Those who seek only the King's approval scarcely trouble themselves about the opinion of a peasant. Thence it was that, in her inmost soul, she received contempt as if it were the truth, regarding it as very well suited to her condition; and honor as if it were deceitfulness, holding herself before God as truly unworthy of it. Let us say that she held both in small esteem, as a wise man despises the game of knuckle-bones, or the pursuits of little children.

She received with great equanimity, indeed even with pleasure, words and actions that tended to her own abasement, [176] saying that they conduced to the truth. She felt love and kindness for persons who mortified her,—defending them, when occasion offered, and willingly rendering them service in their needs.

Recognizing no other nobility than virtue, she could not endure that any one should exalt himself on account of his birth. She said that Religion rendered all its subjects equal, giving to all one and the same birth, and that virtues and vices made nobles and plebeians. When some one caused her to be asked for some information concerning one of her ancestors, she replied that she had never taken the trouble to ascertain the advantages Nature had given her in her parents,—that it was her glory to' be the daughter of God and of his Church, and that she rested all her good fortune and happiness on that glory. It was not that she failed to love and honor her parents, but that love and honor were bestowed upon him from whom they derived their true greatness.

Although the mere thought that Jesus Christ, [page 131] her Savior, had passed thirty years in a [177] life obscure and hidden, checked all outward manifestations of self, she could not conceal her native talents, which rendered her very lovable and commendable to all. But all the graces and favors of which I have just spoken were unknown to those who approached her most nearly,—she herself diverting the view from them, since she was well aware that lightning hurts the eyes and causes thunder and the thunderbolt. In this respect she followed perfectly the guidance of her Directors, who passed lightly over these extraordinary favors, leaving God to do his work, and inciting his creature to be faithful to him. Neither out of nor in the house did they ever speak of operations that are not within our domain; humility, patience, charity, and the other virtues were exalted. It was in these paths that that soul was kept engaged, and I am sure that a part of her Sisters will be astonished to read what they have, perhaps, been ignorant of hitherto. It is true, she had been bidden, some time previously, to write an account of the guidance which God had exercised over her from her infancy; in order that (as it was said) a more intimate knowledge might be gained [178] of her soul, which made little enough outward manifestation of itself. We would not willingly have lost those treasures; but the burning of their house snatched them from us.

"Here is an action proceeding from her humility and obedience. The perception that she had of her nothingness gave her a great love for the hidden life; and that love sometimes caused her fear and dread lest she should be drawn from beneath the bushel and set upon a candlestick. One day, when [page 133] the time to elect a Superior was drawing near, being somewhat disturbed by the fear of being elected, she cast herself at her Bridegroom's feet,—she caressed and coaxed him; represented to him that he had passed all his life in lowliness, affirming that his Kingdom was not of this world; and implored him to grant her the favor that her life might bear some resemblance to his, and might be a homage of his manger, a hanging upon his cross, and a continuation of his self-effacement, since he wished our lives to be hidden in his. 'I promise you and make a vow to you,' said she, 'that I will love and honor her whom you shall elect, and that I [179] will obey you faithfully in obeying her, as far as it shall be possible for me to do so. I shall see you in seeing her, I shall love you in loving her; in short, she shall hold your place to me.' Her prayer was granted and her vow fulfilled. As soon as the Superior was elected, she went to find her, rendered her a faithful account of her soul, and made known to her the paths and the roads which God took for her guidance,—and all this with the candor and simplicity of a child, and with a deference wholly ingenuous and very lovable. I leave you to judge whether a Superior could fail to love a soul so submissive, a soul endowed with very fine talents, a generous soul which did more than it said, a soul which disliked anything shallow, anything low in its conversation, which was free from all puerility before the world, and which rendered itself compliant and docile to those who directed it.

"I am ocular witness to this last article, for she revealed her heart to me at that time. I was the depositary of her fears and vows and of her entire [page 135] procedure. Some persons, seeing that she was always loved by her Superiors, and not knowing the secret of it, [180] used to say that she was always on the side of the stronger, that she knew how to win those who were in command, and that her adroitness always sheltered her from the storms which came from above. They told the truth, but they attributed to a meanness of spirit what arose from a high noble-mindedness.

"I know also of a certain person's giving her a great deal of trouble, and I have never known that her mouth or her heart escaped her control in regard to that person. Since there is now no danger of telling tales out of school, I will add one thing more. She was accused sometimes, not of too great attachment—for hers was a spirit by no means held in bonds—but of yielding too great complaisance to some persons,—whether through some sympathy, or from some too human interest. As for me, who knew her heart to be so unfettered, I smiled without saying anything; for I knew that she felt a natural antipathy toward those to whom she rendered this complaisance. Their temperaments were disagreeable to her senses; but as, with her, the senses were but servants, she made them bow to reason and grace with so great fidelity that one would have said [181] what was bitter to them became changed into sweetness and honey. Besides, she acted from principles which were even natural to her and were so free and so magnanimous, that it was next to impossible for her to seek the friendship or support of any creature by a base submission. Guidance from a man, or woman, or girl was, in itself, unbearable to her; guidance from God through the instrumentality of a [page 137] child would have humbled her to the point of self-annihilation. She loved the channel through which Heaven's orders reached I her, without heeding whether it was of wood or of clay, of lead or of gold.

"One of her bonds of attachment to Canadas was the love that she felt for poverty: she loved the country which made her like her Bridegroom. The living, poor and coarse, and the cold, of long duration and great severity, were very unfavorable to her infirmities, but very much in harmony with her predilections. It was necessary to guess her wants, so adroit was she in dissembling them. Never were there heard any complaints, never any attempts to obtain, not what would have been a I hindrance to perfection, but what would I have been in the slightest degree out of harmony with the sanctity of her vows.

[182] "I say nothing of her altogether Angelic purity: she was so well prepared and so well armed against those things that might have enslaved her, however little, that one would have said they would not have dared to approach her within a thousand leagues,—so perfectly was' she on her guard, and such horror did she have of what might have wounded the innocence of the Virgins who everywhere follow the Lamb in the Heavens.

"Her conversation was not melancholy; one never saw a frown on her face or observed in her a Saturnine or an uneven humor; she was cheerful, amiable in conversation, but always modest; she knew how to prepare hearts, by pleasant little incidents, for most seasonably making her stroke. Her talk, although about God, was not tiresome but profitable, even to those who had not much love for [page 139] virtue. Hers was not a punctilious nature or one that took umbrage easily; but frank, well-rounded, upright, and so 'firm that I can say that, in all the communications made to me by her,—and sometimes they were of no little importance, whether in regard to the country, or for the tranquillity of' the advancement of their house,—I always found in her the Judgment, [183] not of a girl, but of a man of good sense.

"Her talents and her graces gave her an ascendancy over the minds of both French and Americans, who were charmed with them. They never approached her without feeling and carrying away some spark of the fire that burned in her soul; and, after all, she was so Religious and paid such respect to her Rules, especially to the divine service, that she would cut short all else as soon s' the bell called her to the Choir. On one occasion she was told that she had left too soon a person of consequence, who wished for a longer interview. 'God is not satisfied,' she replied, 'with our words, but with our obedience; I would leave o King, in the world, to obey the King of Heaven. "'

No sooner had she arrived in New France than she applied herself to the study of the languages of the country, learning the Algonquin and Huron tongues with considerable facility. Those two may be said to have been to her two holy languages, two innocent languages, never having been used by her except for God.

When she had acquired these two treasures, [184] she dispensed the bread of the word of God with so much grace to those poor people, that both children and grown persons loved her as their mother. She [page 141] instructed many of them, beginning with the first elements of Christianity and leading up to the point where they' were worthy of holy Baptism and of the other Sacraments of the Church; she was the Spiritual Mother of many, giving them such Christian advice and counsel for their guidance in the paths of their salvation, that they were charmed therewith. Not only the women; but also some men,—Hurons, as well as Algonquins,—opened their hearts to her, stating to her their troubles and difficulties with an entire confidence; and they always returned from these interview's greatly comforted and edified. Her name was known in all the country of the Algonquins and of the Hurons, she being called by them sometimes Marie Joseph, in our tongue; again, " the holy maiden, " and " the Captain's daughter, " in the Huron and Algonquin languages; those are the two names that they commonly give to the Nuns of this new world.

If these new plants had love and respect for Mother Marie de [185] saint Joseph, it is impossible to express how much she cherished them, and with what holy love she caressed them; they were her creatures, for whose salvation she would have given a thousand lives, and suffered a thousand deaths. Every year, .she used her utmost influence with Madame her good mother, and with other persons of piety, to obtain some alms and Charitable offerings for her good Neophytes; and, in exchange, she procured for those benefactors Mediators of both sexes with Our Lord. This practice she continued until her death.

She did not enter upon an undertaking thoughtlessly, and did not believe in all kinds of spirits; she [page 143] took counsel with God on all matters, before choosing them; and, when she had received any orders from him, he alone could exempt her from their execution. No creature ever made her relax from her purpose. What was not done to shake her in her call to Canadas? Blows were given her, capable of prostrating a Giant. As soon as she had taken the first step, setting out from Tours to go to that distant Region whither God was calling her, the report of her journey and its object having spread [186] far and wide, those who were interested in the honor of her house represented to her parents in such vivid terms the wretchedness to which they were consigning their daughter,—telling them that Canadas was a country of ruined reputation, that vice held the upper hand there, that unfair means had been employed in their case, but that it was still easy to balk the plan,—that thereupon Monsieur de la 'Troche sent a very urgent letter to his daughter, and orders to stop her wherever she should be found. Our Canadian—seeing plainly that these givers of advice did not understand Geography, but took North America for South, making an error of only eight hundred leagues, and more—was not at all dismayed. She had recourse to prayer and to her pen, taking action with God and with Monsieur her father. The former was on her side, but she had more difficulty in winning the latter. She answered so clearly and discreetly, with such zeal, that all the violent measures that had been planned against her were checked. The matter, however, was placed in the hands of the Reverend Father Dom Raymond de saint Bernard, Provincial of the Reverend Feuillant Fathers, who made a journey on this account as [page 145] far [187] as Dieppe. Having his eyes adapted to the light that comes from a source more exalted than the Sun, and his ears entirely free, he very soon yielded to the arguments of our Canadian and gave sentence in her favor.

Her calling was not only combated in France, but it even met with opposition in Canadas. The news that the Hiroquois were advancing farther and farther every day into the French district, and that this good mother's infirmities were visibly increasing, gave so much :alarm to parents who tenderly loved so good a daughter, that they urged her and conjured her, by all that was dearest to them in the world, to show herself once more in France. That courageous soul took heed not to descend from the Cross; as she was eloquent on this subject, she convinced them by such strong arguments, drawn from the will of him who had called her to this land of benediction, and from the fidelity she was bound to render him, that they no longer ventured to attack her on their own responsibility, being left in a state of edification at her courage. and of surprise at the force of her reasoning.

[188] Monseigneur the Bishop of la Rochelle, her uncle. said frankly to the Reverend Father Hierôme Lallemant,—who did himself the honor of going to salute him, on his way back to Canadas,—that he had resolved to recall her to France, but that her letters had prevented him; they seemed to him so cogent in argument and spoke in such exalted language of the perseverance one ought to have in his calling, that he believed a spirit higher than her own had dictated them; for that reason, he left her in peace. She loved this dear country as a flower garden dotted with flowers, as a field planted with laurels, as a land [page 147] where, the more there is of God, the less there is of the creature,—not that it is not an excellent country, being in the same latitude as France; but, as it is not yet well cultivated, it bears more fruits for Heaven than for the earth.


T .seems to me that patience may be said to be one of the strongest marks and most authentic proofs of virtue. What means is there of being humble, of being poor, in the gospel sense, of being [189] obedient and of possessing many other virtues, if one is not :armed and well protected by the buckler of patience ? From the time when Our Lord told this Canadian Amazon that she would live thenceforth only by faith and crosses, she did nothing but waste away,—being attacked with an asthma, a disease of the lungs, and an oppression at the chest, which caused her to cough incessantly. She spat blood, and could scarcely move without pain. In her last illness, she told Mother de l'Incarnation in confidence that she had not been well since those blessed words. Her fever scarcely ever left her; her ailment made her suffer, but never complain. She never asked for any special favors, never absented herself from observances, but kept her Rules punctually; neither Rome, nor Bankers, nor dispensations were needed for her. As she had a beautiful voice and understood Music well, not only did she sing and chant the psalms, but she also led the Choir, for which office she doubtless had aptitude; for she succeeded in it marvelously, notwithstanding her lung troubles. Her [190] perseverance in this exercise, down to the time of her death, made it evident that her patience [page 149] was heroic; also it can be said that this patience was transformed into a compliant love toward the adorable purposes of God in regard to her guidance.

If any one pitied her, she was made ashamed; if one wished to do her a service, she was thrown into confusion. The others, according to her account, had much more need of succor than she. When her illness was at such a height that she was forced to remain in bed, she rendered such winsome obedience to her nurses, she received their services with so much gratitude, she showed herself so compliant with their way of governing her, that there was not one in the house who did not deem herself happy to serve her. After passing more than four years in ailments which seemed, from time to time, to give her some slight respite, at length,—on the day of the purification of the blessed Virgin, of last year, 1652—she felt the stroke that was to carry her off.

All her ills redoubled, she had no rest either day or night, and yet [191] she did not cease to go to the Choir for the purpose of receiving communion, and taking part in the holy conferences that were held there from time to time. On the fourth day of March, she became so critically ill that the Viaticum and Extreme Unction were administered to her; but God left her a month longer in Purgatory—for so I call the last days of her life.

Note, if you please, that—her Monastery having been burnt and reduced to ashes, in the year preceding her death—the poor Ursulines were lodged in a hole, so to speak. Their beds, or their cabins, were one above another, as one sees those shelves in the Merchants' shops where they arrange their merchandise. She had her bed on one of these shelves. [page 151] The noise of the little scholars; the singing and chanting of psalms by the Choir, in a closely crowded household; the din made on a plank floor by wooden sandals, which the Nuns used, the fire having robbed them of their other footwear; the smoke which invaded every nook and corner, and was not well suited for arresting her cough, or curing her lungs; and a thousand other inconveniences [192] which are met with in the houses of those who have lost everything in a great fire,—all these crosses, I say, never disturbed the serenity of her heart or altered the sweetness of her patience. All these hardships were as yet only roses; degrees of iron and of suffering were given her by Our Lord in proportion to his will to exalt her high in Heaven.

She dreaded an illness that should demand services burdensome alike to patient and to Nurses; she feared pains of too great severity, lest her weakness might bring shipwreck to her patience; and she wished to be free from the great spiritual destitution that .she had formerly suffered, for fear that she should not render with love the fidelity which she had vowed to her Lord. Precisely these three trials she encountered; but he who subjected her to these conflicts made her win the victory gloriously.

She became so extremely dropsical that it was resolved to make openings in her legs, in order to draw off the water that threatened to burst her flesh. The Surgeon made large [193] and deep incisions in her living flesh, so that the membrane was visible, the pain causing her to utter the holy Name of Jesus. Then, becoming conscious of her very innocent murmur, " Alas! " she said, " I am very weak-spirited; forgive me the unedifying conduct I [page 153] am showing you. " This remedy, applied in holy week, produced no other effect than to make her bear her Redeemer company in that time of suffering. I say nothing of the agonies she endured when her wounds were dressed. The Surgeon, who was a man of experience, seeing that gangrene of her legs was supervening, applied to those large openings a dressing which caused her such intense, acute, and continual pain, for the space of 3 days, that it was believed at every moment that she was going to die.

These torments seemed sweet to her in comparison with the inner agonies and abandonment that she suffered in her soul. She had often enough experienced these great crosses and feelings of desolation; but this stroke, which was the last, was the most violent of all. It is reasonable to believe that it purified her to the quick, and washed away the smallest stains from her soul. She spoke of God without ceasing, [194] and it seemed to her that she scarcely believed that he was either in Heaven or on earth. She was active, and did not know it; she loved, and was unconscious of it. God had deprived her of sight and reflection concerning the holy operations of her soul. In a word, this stroke was the consummation of her life; and she accepted it with heroic submission to his divine Majesty, in order to honor the Consummate est which his well-beloved Son pronounced on the tree of the Cross. It was truly in these last days of her life that she ceased to live except by faith and crosses; and this was so little known by those to whom she did not open her heart, that one would have said she was surfeited with delight. Her talks with God were only on love, submission, and resignation to his adorable decrees. [page 155] In her conversation with those who visited her, she spoke only of the happiness of the other life, of the baseness of everything earthly, of the riches of the holy Religion, and of the fidelity one ought to render to his calling. " Ah, how happy I am," said she to her Sisters, " to die in a poor place, to be deprived of the petty delights of France! Write, I pray you, to Monsieur de [195] la Rochelle, to our dear Mothers of France, to my parents, and assure them fully that I die well content at having left them all. Ah, how entirely satisfied I am at having given up what I could have claimed in the world! How glad my soul is that it came to these new regions! Let them know, without fail, the great blessings I experience from my call to the country of the Savages. " She could not bless God enough for the great favors he had shown her after that call and that summons. All these things she said in her forsaken condition, enjoying a secret peace which does not exclude sufferings,—a peace which soars over all the senses, and is lodged so high that nothing in all this lower world can reach or disturb it.

It was not the will of God, who does all for the best, to grant the faithful Loving one the grace of a passage from this life to the other during this holy state of abandonment; he gave her three days, before her death, of the foretastes of Paradise, all sight of her sufferings being removed from her, all her pains being stilled, and her heart filled with nothing but joy and delight. She said to the Reverend Father Hierosme Lallement, [196] who had been her director for some years: " I know, my Father, that God has promised to those who should leave anything in his name, a hundredfold in this world, and eternal life [page 157] in the other. For the hundredfold in this world, I will give him a receipt whenever he wishes it; I am very abundantly repaid. As to the eternal life, I expect it before long. " She renewed her Religious vows, asked forgiveness of those Present, received the Holy Viaticum, and thanked very humbly the Reverend Father Paul Ragueneau, Superior of our Missions, for the great assistance he had rendered their House, especially since their fire, begging him to continue his goodness toward her dear Sisters. She rendered her acknowledgments to the Physicians of the country who had charitably assisted her, assuring them that she would pray to God for them in Heaven, if he showed her mercy. Monsieur the Governor sent to visit her in his name, in order to commend himself to her prayers,—begging her, besides, to remember before God the great needs of the country she was leaving. Her reply was full of respect and humility.

Although she sank from moment to moment, yet her mind remained so well under her control [197] and so free, that, speaking to her Sisters in private, a little before her death, she talked with them about her burial. " As you are few in number, " she said to them, " you must not take the trouble to bear me to the grave; make use of others' hands. That task would prevent you from praying, from praising God, and from observing with care the ceremonies which the Church has prescribed for the interment of Nuns. " And thereupon, as she had a peculiar love for the Church and respected its smallest ordinances, she gently explained to them those ceremonies; and ascending thence even into the Heavens, she told of the wonders of the other life. " Our hearts, " says [page 159] the Mother who knew her so intimately, " were struck with two sorts of passions: they dilated with joy, at seeing her in this exalted frame of mind; and at the same time they were stricken with sadness, at the loss we were undergoing."

She was for 24 hours in the death-agony, never losing either her reason or her speech the while. She answered all the questions that were asked her; performed all the acts of love, submission, and resignation that were suggested to her; and, even in dying, [198] signified that she was conscious and attentive to what was being said to her.

At length, on the 4th day of April of the year 1652, toward 8 o'clock in the evening, that sainted soul, divorcing itself from its body, left the earth to ascend into Heaven. " Her face at dying appeared so beautiful and so Angelic," says Mother de l'Incarnation, " that, instead of giving us grief at her departure, God made us perceive a little glimpse of her glory, by means of a spiritual unction, so sweet and savory that it filled all our hearts with joy. There was not one of us who did not experience the effect of a most present and extraordinary grace, and a virtual certainty that we had a good Advocate with God. There was a feeling that prompted one to invoke her, and upon doing so, one felt conscious of having her petition granted. Several have had that experience, since her death."

Her funeral was held, not with the pomp of Europe, but with all the honor the country could show her, and with all the affection and regret of the French and the Savages, who loved and cherished her during her life, and respect her as a saint after her death. [page 161]

[199] "About an hour after this sacred trust had been consigned to the earth, a person worthy of credence " (these are the words of the Mother who made these notes) " was on his way to perform some deed of charity at a league's distance from Kebec, when our dear departed one appeared to him in a mental vision. Her bearing was full of majesty, her face suffused with rays of light and glory, and her eyes capable of subduing any heart. He assured me " (she adds) " that her looks caused in his inmost soul such an overpowering sensation of love to God, that he thought he would die of it. She accompanied him as far as the place whither his errand of mercy led him, and again manifested herself on his return, in a manner eminently spiritual, but very certain,—holding communication with him, through his understanding, in regard to private matters, of which I cannot speak.

"On the next day, when the same person was traveling to the Island of Orleans, over the frozen surface of the great River, two leagues away from Kebec, the tide, which rises as far up as that point, aided by the warmth of Spring, had detached and borne down some of those thick blocks of ice that every year fill the great river St. Lawrence; and the cold of night had formed a thin crust of [200] ice over those places from which those blocks had been separated. The person of whom we are speaking was inadvertently walking on this very thin ice, when our departed sister, speaking to his inner consciousness, uttered this word clearly, 'Stop!' He stopped, raised his eyes, which were before bent on the ground, and, looking around him, saw that he was encompassed on all sides by water. He pierced. [page 163] the thin ice with his staff, to see if there was not a thicker layer underneath, as is often enough the case, but found only abysmal depths under him. Commending himself anew to her who had arrested his steps, and utterly overcome with fear, he retraced his course as rapidly as possible. When he was in a place of safety, he became aware that he had walked a long distance on the water without sinking into it; moreover it did not seem to him that he was walking, so strongly did he feel himself upheld. In fine, he rendered testimony that Mother Marie de St. Joseph had saved his life, and that he could not have escaped this danger without a miracle. He now calls her his Angel, declaring that since that time he has received new favors from this elect Soul."

I here reach the end of the Memoirs that have fallen into my hands. Although I am well aware that the country discloses to only a very few persons the extraordinary graces and favors that it receives from God, yet, since it has given us the trouble of preparing the Relation in France, it must permit us' to communicate this little treasure to the public. [page 165]



Journal des PP. Jésuites

en l'année 1653


SOURCE: We Follow the original MS., in Laval University library, Quebec.




[page 167]

Journal of the Jesuit Fathers, in the year


January, 1653.

N the 12th, Jacques Andata,aiach Arrives from 3 Rivers, bringing letters by which we learn of the capture of two Hurons on the 17th of December, one league from 3 Rivers.


On the 10th of April, Father Charles Albanel and Sieur Lespiné return from their wintering at Tadoussac.

  1. Sister de l'Incarnation makes her profession at the Hospital nuns'; Father De Quen said the mass; Father Vimont delivered the sermon, and 1 Received the vows.

  1. Arrival, in a canoe from Three Rivers, of La fontaine Cochon, who brought the news of the flight of 16 Frenchmen, who were leaving the country.

Barré, lance-corporal, and La Montagne, soldiers.

La Rose, a servant of Monsieur de La Poterie, and Lespiné.

Baudet, servant of la Grandmesnil, and sailor.

Des Noyers.

La fond, Sailor [page 169]

Du Plessis.

La verdure, Sailor.

La Montagne.


La franchise.

Teste-Pelee, servant of la Francheville.

Coquelin, Sailor.

Des Lauriers.

Paul Langlois, Sailor.

item, the news of the capture of 4 Hurons,—Ahatrihoia and Horentaon, taken while going up from Quebec to Three Rivers; TeArenhont, who had gone hunting at Three Rivers; Tsondoutannen, captured as long ago as the 29th of the month of March, while bringing letters from 3 Rivers to Quebec. He was taken below the Cape, by 20 Iroquois.

  1. During the night of Saturday to Sunday, two of Monsieur Dauteuil's servants take flight.

Monsieur Charon is wounded in the throat by a pistol shot, at his residence on The island of orleans,—by the murderous act of two of his servants.

Monsieur Lespiné is married to Madamoiselle Genevieve Des Prez.


On the 1st, arrival in the shallop from Three Rivers, of Monsieur Robineau, Monsieur du Herisson, and Master Charles Boivin, who bring news of the burning of some barns on the 23rd of April.

On the 7th, one of Monsieur Charon's men [page 171] is arrested; the other, who had played the assassin, having performed and accepted the office of executioner.

  1. We left for the journey to Three Rivers; and were back at Quebec on the 23rd day of the same month. We were not at Montréal: 1st, because the frigate, which belongs to the Community, was previously to make the voyage to Tadoussac, as being more necessary—the Esperance, in which we went up to 3 Rivers, not being a vessel of the Community; 2nd, because Monsieur the Governor had no business at Montréal; 3rd, because there was nothing to carry to Montréal, all their [supplies] having been carried in the autumn; 4th, because, the peril of the voyage to Montréal being very great, it was not judged proper to undertake it without necessity.

On the 12th,—or, rather, during The night of the 12th to the 13th,—Jacques Junier disappeared from Sillery. He was found missing on the morning of the 13th. There were indications that he had crossed the River by canoe, without having carried anything away from the house, except an arquebus, and some money which was his own,—about a hundred or two hundred francs.

  1. A council is held at the fort with 4 savage ambassadors, come from New England, who had brought a letter from Mr. Jean Heliot, a minister in those quarters. This letter declared that the four savages taken as Captives of war in the preceding autumn by some [page 173] Atontrata'ronnon Algonquins were neither Sokoquinois nor Iroquois, but allies of the English. . . . The resolution of the council held was, that this nation was friendly and an ally of long standing to the Montagnais. These ambassadors had brought 36 fine large collars, for the gifts which they made, by way of giving thanks that their people had not been treated as enemies.


At the beginning of June, there arrives a canoe from Tadoussac, which brings the news that a Dutch ship came to that harbor for shelter, and that it had, on the 30th of May, detained Monsieur Lespiné.

On the 5th of June, a canoe is despatched in order to give aid and counsel to Monsieur Bourdon,—Father De Quen, Monsieur La Tour, Guillaume Couillart, Simon Guyon, and St. Claude, a soldier.

  1. The Iroquois, having appeared at Cap rouge, kill there françois Boulé, having pierced him with three gunshots,—in the stomach, in the groin, and in the thigh,—and having removed half of his scalp. . . . Besides, they lead away alive Pierre Garman, called "le Picard," and his son Charles, 8 years old; also a young man, Hugues Le Cousturier, of 23 years. They crossed the River again in five canoes.

The frigate arrives from Tadoussac, bringing news of the deliverance of Monsieur Lespiné The Ship which had detained him [page 175] was a Dutch pirate of 16 guns, with 35 men,—which, having anchored at Moulin Baude, traded there with the savages.

On the 14th, the bark from 3 Rivers arrives, bringing the news:—

  1. concerning françois La Meslee, killed by the Iroquois on the 28th of the month of May, on the Common lands, by 20 enemies;
  2. concerning Guillaumet, who had had his legs broken by the bursting of a cannon while he was firing it, on the same day;
  3. about a Nipissirinien, escaped from the hands of the enemies, who had been taken, he the thirtieth, in the lake of the Nipissiriniens, above the sault de L'esturgeon, by 20 Iroquois;
  4. of a Huron, named Onatiawe, taken captive by some enemies in the fields of Monsieur de La Poterie, on the 30th of May;
  5. of three renegade Hurons, taken captive, of a Sonnontwe'ronnon killed on the spot, and of Onatiawe recovered from their hands by 12 Savages, Hurons and Algonquins. The 3 Hurons taken captive were Onta¸annaoche, formerly of St. Michel; Ochahend, formerly of Ationnontetsia; qui ambo igne cremati sunt. The third received his life; he was named [blank space];
  6. of Cailleteau, killed at Cap de La Magdelene on Whitsun-monday, the second day of June, near the fort;
  7. of the defeat,—or, rather, of the plunder,—of twenty or thirty Iroquois, pursued by the Hurons, on the 9th of June. [page 177]

On the 15th, the frigate sails for Montréal. Master Charles Boivin and Charles Panie go to the assistance of 3 Rivers.

  1. The flyboat commanded by Master Jean Langlois leaves Quebec for the fishery and carries our first letters to France.
  2. Aweiawa and Ochiawarenton'kwi taken captive at 3 Rivers.


  1. The chapel on the island of orleans was blessed sub titulo Visitationis Beatæ Virgis, by Father Hierosme Lallemant.

The flying Camp, Commanded by Eustache Lambert, starts from Sillery; 50 Frenchmen.

On the 9th, Father Richard arrives with sieur De Groseliers, from Acadia,—from Monsieur de la Tour.

On the 15th, the frigate arrives from Montréal, with the News of a Peace negotiation with the onnontae'ronnon, for whom Awen're of Tehaontiaiehen served as interpreter; and Father Le Moine spoke for the French.

On the 20th, ten or eleven shallops arrived at Quebec,—Savages from Gaspé, and some Etechemins and Montagnais, going to war against the Iroquois. These brought letters from Monsieur de La Tour, and news:

  1. that the English of New England were undertaking war against the Dutch of New Holland and against the Iroquois.
  2. that, of the French fugitives from Three Rivers, several had died from destitution,—Paul La franchise, Savary, Des Lauriers, La font; and that [page 179] there were indications that they had eaten one another.

  1. Nine shallops and seven canoes of Savages start to go to war, in the direction of 3 Rivers; and Father Bailloquet with them.

On the 31st, a canoe from Three Rivers arrives, which brings us the News of the arrival of three canoes from the country of the Hurons,—to wit, Aennons, a Huron; Mangouch, a Nipissirinien; Matoutisson, whom the Hurons call Onda¸enronk; Eentawai and Totraenchiarak, Andarahi´ronnons; and two Ondatawawak, vel Outawak, to wit, Teóchiawenté and Otontagonen. These seven savages have brought news that all the Algonquin Nations are assembling, with what remains of the Tobacco Nation and of the Neutral Nation, at A¸otonatendïe, three days' journey above the sault Skia¸é, toward the south. Those of the Tobacco Nation have wintered at Tea¸onto´rai; the Neutrals, to the number of 800, at sken´chio¸e, toward Te¸o´chanontian; these two Nations are to betake themselves next autumn to A¸otonatendïa, where even now they number a thousand men,—to wit,

400 Ondatonateni;

200 Outawak, or cheveux relevez;

100 Awe¸atsiwaen´ronnons, and people from the Nation of A´chawi;

200 Enskia¸e´ronnons;

100 Awechisae´ronnons and Achirwachronnon.

Achawi is the one who is directing all this affair. [page 181]


On the 3rd, Master Abraham's shallop brings News of the arrival of Father Lyonne at Tadoussac, with Captain Poulet.

On the 6th, Father Lyonne and our letters arrived at half-past 4 o'clock in the morning. At evening before supper, in the refectory, I declared that Father françois Le Mercier was appointed superior by Our Reverend Father General; and,—because the bull of the Pope concerning the triennial term of Superiors obliged me to resign without delay,—pending the coming of Father Le Mercier from three Rivers, I appointed Father Hierosme Lallemant Vice-superior.

On the 8th, Captain Poulet anchored at Quebec.

On the 9th, the shallop from Montréal arrived, bringing news about Michel Noela, killed by the Iroquois on the 20th of July; and about a canoe with two enemies, who came on the 21st of July to treat for peace,—one of whom was an Onneiochronnon named Tehoatirhon; the other, a Huron from onnonta¸e.

The Appointment of Monsieur d'Ailleboust to the syndicate was made and announced.

Thomas Hayot, deputy from Cap Rouge, including Sillery.

Monsieur de Tilly from Coste Ste. Genevieve.

Monsieur Denis, from Quebec.

Sieur La Meslée, from Coste de Nostre Dame des Anges. [page 183]

Guillaume Peltier, from Beauport.

françois Belanger, from Longue Pointe.

Pierre Picard, from Cap Tourmente.

Monsieur Buissot . . . . from Coste de Lauson.

On the 15th of August, the Jubilee was announced under the Authority of Monseigneur the Archbishop of Rouen, who had sent hither the order to publish it. His order is to be preserved in the Archives, as an authentic document for the continuity of possession which the aforesaid lord Archbishop has already assumed by some other acts of spiritual government over this country. However, this publication of the Jubilee under his name and authority is the first act which has appeared conspicuously in the country; it is more fully authenticated because it was declared in the presence of the Governor, ipso non repugnante (Immo ipso præmonito et consentiente—quod tamnein non est passim evulgandum), et In maxima populi frequentia, who subsequently gained this Jubilee, which could not here be otherwise obtained—the pope granting it only to the subjects of Prelates who requested it from him for their Diocesans.

Upon this matter it is to be remarked that, as no relations had been formed with any Bishop regarding the spiritual Government of this country until the year 1647, it was then considered, on occasion of the investitures and professions of the nuns, that we could not dispense therewith; and in the [page 185] aforesaid year, father Vimont, going over to France, was especially charged with this business, to secure the validity of the nuns' professions. Father Vimont, after having consulted Rome and the principal Fathers of our Society,—of the Professed house and of the College,—the very general opinion was that it was necessary to address and attach ourselves to Monseigneur of Rouen. Next, father Vimont applied to father pingeolet, then rector of the College of Rouen, by whose favor and assistance we obtained from Monseigneur the Archbishop of Rouen, the Elder, a letter [with powers as] grand vicar. This document being brought hither, along with the letters and the resolutions of all our Fathers in ratification of the fore going, we proceeded with confidence to receive the nuns' professions. We did not, however, Judge it proper, as yet, to noise this matter abroad to much extent.

Afterward, Monseigneur the Archbishop of Rouen sent letters patent, sufficiently ample, addressed to the reverend father Assistant,—whereby he established the superior of the mission as his Vicar-General, with all possible precautions for the benefit of our Society. Moreover, the said lord Archbishop having died in this year, 1653, his nephew,—who is his successor in Office, and who during his uncle's lifetime had been his Coadjutor—sent a patent similar to his uncle's, to the reverend father Assistant, which was brought hither to us, along with the order for the publication of the Jubilee as above. [page 187]

It should be also noted that the aforesaid nephew and successor, while Coadjutor to his Uncle, gave a letter of Dismissal to sieur Gendron, that he might receive orders, in the year 1652—and this in view of the fact that the latter was his subject, on account of having resided about 10 years in this country. The same, since his uncle's death, has given another order,—one for making an Inquiry regarding the lives and blessed deaths of our Fathers. In consequence, all that put together has led us to Conclude that the matter had come to its maturity,—so that, henceforth, there would be great need of publishing and displaying it abroad. This has been done, nunc primum, by the aforesaid publication of the Jubilee under the name and authority of Monseigneur the Archbishop of Rouen, who was qualified as our prelate on that Day, 15th of August, in the presence, as we have said, of Monsieur the governor, and of all the assembled people, during high mass.

  1. A canoe arrives from Montréal, bringing us the news that 30 Hurons, having successfully fallen upon a band of 17 Annien¸e´ronen Iroquois,—who were in ambush behind The Island of St. Heléne, in order to surprise some French who were mowing in a meadow,—put them to confusion, killed one on the spot, and took five alive,—4 of whom are Annien¸er´onon, and the fifth a Huron, formerly from St. François Xavier. Two Hurons have been killed, and 2 grievously wounded. We have learned by these captives:

  1. that [page 189] the onontae'ronon and the onneiouchtronon desire peace in good earnest;
  2. that a nation near the English is making war on the Annienner´onnons;
  3. that the Anniener´onnons are making a league, offensive and defensive, with The Dutch against the English, who have declared war on them, and are all assembling, for this purpose, in the same village;
  4. that the Andasto¸er´onnons are engaging in war between the Annien¸e'ronnons and the Sonontwen´ronnons;
  5. that 600,—mostly Annie¸e´ronnons,—had started, 30 days ago, to attack 3 Rivers.

An hour after this news, Father de Quen brings us Father Poncet's skullcap, and the news of his capture by the Iroquois, a little above .Sillery, whither charity had led him. He was carried away alive,—with another Frenchman, who was cutting his wheat,—on the 20th instant, about 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. 32 Frenchmen, among the most prominent persons in Kebec, embark in 6 canoes, in order to pursue the enemy, and to lay an ambush for him in lake St. Pierre.

By letters from 3 Rivers, we learn that, on the 16th of the same month, two young Hurons were captured on an island at 3 Rivers, by 8 Iroquois.

  1. Toward morning, a Huron is wounded on the hillside at three Rivers, by a small band of Iroquois, precursors of an army of 500 Annien¸eronnons. About 8 o'clock, a canoe is perceived, which was passing a league above three Rivers from the South [page 191] toward the north. A canoe goes to reconnoiter; then a shallop, well equipped, which having passed the brick-yard, sees more than 30 Iroquois canoes on the north side and 9 on the south .side. It was in great danger, and belle Poire, who was in command, behaved valiantly with his troop. Two Iroquois were killed; not one of the French wounded.

In the night, the band of Frenchmen who had pursued those who were carrying away Father Poncet, arrives at the cape. They learn that three Rivers is besieged, and that there has been fighting all day. Caron embarks in a canoe, in order to reach the spot: he safely arrives, toward midnight; he finds everything in good condition, and the inhabitants full of courage. The siege lasts more than 8 days; meanwhile they devastate the fields, setting fire to the peas already torn up, and to the cut corn; and at our redout on the hillside they kill the cattle,—among others, 8 horned beasts which belonged to our fathers. . . . The 32 Frenchmen arrive at three Rivers, and the Iroquois speak of peace; they mingle with the Hurons; they promise to give up Father Poncet, and we promise them to spare the life of the Annien¸eronnon prisoners taken at Montréal. . . . On the 30th, the Jubilee begins.


On the first, word is sent from 3 Rivers that, on the 30th of last month, the troop of victorious Hurons who were coming from [page 193] Montréal with their prisoners fell into the hands of the Iroquois, along with 4 ononta¸eronnons, who were coming with many presents of beaver and collars, in order to make peace. Most of the presents were plundered. . . . Nevertheless, the Annien¸eronnons become none the more insolent, but continually speak of peace. The chief of the army, named teharihogen, receives presents from Monsieur boucher, captain of the village, in behalf of the life of Father Poncet. He embarks with 3 canoes, in order to pursue those who were carrying away the Father. The siege is broken up, and the Iroquois go away in disorder; 6 or 7 stay with the French, and go down to Kebec with the ononta¸eronnons.

On the 4th, a bark leaves three Rivers for Montréal, with Father bailloquet, in order to bring back Father Claude Pijart. On the same day, the onnonta¸eronnons make their presents at the Island of orleans, where are Monsieur the governor, Monsieur d'Ailleboust, and others.

On the 7th, mutual gifts are exchanged with the onnonta¸eronnons. The processions of the jubilee are continued, which began the preceding Sunday, to last two months.

  1. The onnonta¸eronnons see the procession, in which there were more than 400 fusiliers in fine order. They leave for 3 Rivers.

  1. Hurons arrive from Agnéé. Aweawissen started with his son, after the army. [page 195]


  1. Father Poncet arrives—in a wretched canoe, conducted by some Iroquois—at Montréal; he is dressed in Dutch fashion.

On the 28th, he arrives at three Rivers, in the flyboat, which they encountered among the Isles of Richelieu.


  1. The Father arrives at Quebecq with Father Richard, Monsieur boucher, and 7 Iroquois; 3 guns were fired.

  1. The Annien¸e´ronnons make their presents, to the number of 16.

On the 9th, we make them presents in return: 23 presents. The hospital mothers make them a feast; we do the same, toward evening.

On the 10th, Captain Pointel weighs Anchor; Father Joseph du Peron embarks. The winter begins in good earnest.

On the eleventh, solemn mass is sung, by way of thanksgiving. The Iroquois go to spend the night at Sillery; also Father la place, who goes up to three Rivers in place of Father Richard.

On the 13th, arrives Monsieur d'Espiné, from Tadoussac, with Letters from Father Albanel, who went thither to go into the Saguenay.

On the 14th, it snows heavily.

On the 15th, Father la place arrives at 3 Rivers.

On the 17th, news from 3 Rivers [page 197] concerning an Iroquois and a savage of the nation of the wolves, who were killed near Montréal by some Hurons.

The Hurons and the Algonquins make their present To the Annien¸e´ronnons at 3 Rivers.

  1. The bark arrives from 3 Rivers, with the 3 murderers put in irons and sent to Monsieur the governor, with presents from the Annien¸e´ronnons for their deliverance. . . .On the same day, the Elders of the Hurons produce 3 collars received in secret from Teharihogen, an Annien¸e´ronnon captain, in order to attract the Hurons into their country.

On the 19th, a council is held with reference to this business, at our house at Quebecq. Monsieur the governor resolves to have 3 presents delivered at 3 Rivers in due season, on his behalf, to the Annien¸e´ronnons: the first, to certify that he disavows the murders committed by the Hurons; the 2nd, to let it be known that he has knowledge of the presents made by them to the Hurons in secret; the 3rd, to declare that whatever the Hurons and Algonquins may do, we shall always remain at peace with them. On the same 19th, Teharihogen embarks at 3 Rivers with sieurs des Mares and la fleur, for Annien¸e. The other Annien¸e´ronnons having embarked, put back and remained at 3 Rivers. The Flyboat arrives at 3 Rivers from Montréal, and brings a savage from the nation of the wolf, dressed in European style,—a kinsman of the Mahingan who was killed by the Hurons. We receive news of the death, or [page 199] capture, or shipwreck, of Jolycour and Aras, inhabitants of Monreal.

On the 27th, the flyboat, having left for Quebecq on the 25th, is constrained on account of the ice to put back to 3 Rivers, to winter there.


The First Sunday in Advent, the lessons in Catechism are begun in our chapel. [page 201]


Bressani's Breve Relatione



SOURCE: We reprint from a copy of the original Italian edition, in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Owing to the length of the document, we herewith present only chaps. i.-iv. of Part 1. Volume XXXIX. will be wholly occupied with this Relatione, which will be concluded in Volume XL.

[page 203]



Of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus

in New France,


of the same Society,









At Macerata, By the Heirs of Agostino Grisei. 1653.

With Permission of the Authorities.

[page 207]

Most Eminent and Most Reverend Signor, and Very worshipful Patron.

HE pleasure which Your Eminence manifested upon learning the prosperity and success of these missions; the compassion which you felt for the disasters of this one, together with the zealous desire of seeing if restored as soon as possible; and the gratitude that the whole Society, and I in especial, owe to you,—along with many other Persons in this Mission, who have sucked the milk of sacred Theology from your fountains,—have led me to dedicate to you the present Relation, to the composition of which your sympathy has contributed not a little. It is not, if you consider the person who writes, and the simplicity of the style, a thing worthy of Your Eminence; but the matter in itself is not, perhaps, displeasing, nor will be, as I hope, unfruitful; and the Great should—as does Your Eminence, a noble example to the Church—imitate the perfection's of God, qui humilia respicit, especially when he is thereby honored. With this so well founded hope, I present it to you, and most humbly kiss your sacred robes. From Macerata, the 19th of July, 1653.


Your Most Reverend Eminence's

Most devoted and obliged Servant in Christ,

Francesco Gioseppe Bressani.

[page 209]

HEREAS Our Holy Father, Pope Urban VIII., on the 13th duty of March , 1625, in the Sacred Congregation of the general Inquisition of the Holy Roman Church, made a Decree, and confirmed the same on the 5th day of June, 1634, by which he forbade any book's, containing the actions, miracles, or revelations of men who have departed this life, famed for Sanctity or Martyrdom, or containing any favors supposed to have been received from God through their intercession, to be printed without being examined and approved by the Ordinary; and wishes that whatsoever has heretofore been printed without such examination and approbation, shall be in no manner considered as approved; and whereas, also, His Holiness has—on the 5th day of June, 1631—explained the same decree, to wit, that no eulogies of a Saint or Blessed should be permitted unconditionally, and so as to be directed to the person of such Saint or Blessed; but that such eulogies might well be permitted, as are given to their exemplary life and repute for sanctity, provided there is a protestation in the beginning, that the facts are not vouched for by the authority of the Roman Church, but that reliance is to be placed merely on the author: In compliance with this decree and its confirmation and explanation, with all due observance and reverence, I declare that, whatever is related by me in this book, I wish to understand and to be understood in no other sense than that in which is usually understood whatever is based upon mere human authority, and not on the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Church, or of the Holy Apostolic See, excepting however those, whom the same Holy See has entered on the catalogue of Saints, Blessed, and Martyrs.

[page 211]

Goswin Nickel, General of the Society of


HEREAS the Relation of certain Missions undertaken by Fathers of our Society in North America, in the region called New France, written by Father Francesco Gioseppe Bressani, Priest of the same Society, who has lately returned to us from those parts, has been examined by some of our Religious and approved for publication, we hereby give permission to have it printed, if those whom it concerns shall so decide; in confirmation of which we give the present letters, signed by our hand and furnished with our seal.

Rome, 26th of March, 1653.



[page 213]



Let it be printed, if it please the Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord Papirius Silvester, Bishop of Macerata. Fr. Vincentius de Juliis, of the Minor Conventuals, Master of Sacred Theology, Professor of Philosophy in Our University.

Imprimatur: Ludovicus Signorius, Vicar and General Auditor.

Hieronymus Spinuccius has examined this book, in place of the Most Reverend Master of the Sacred Palace, Joannes Vincentius Paulinus, Inquisitor General of Ancona.

Imprimatur: Fr. Joannes Baptista Talianus, of the Friars Preachers, Master of Sacred Theology, and Vicar of the Holy Office at Macerata.

[page 215]

[1] Preface.

HE Events—disastrous, yet glorious—of the Missions of new France, a country of North America, have hitherto been known only within the limits of Old France, having been written every year in the French language alone. Nevertheless, as they are worthy of being known everywhere, they deserve to be translated into some language which might be understood where French is not current. This has been, and is, the desire of many, full of zeal and of Devout curiosity to know the progress of the Faith in those new countries. And to gratify them, I have thought, for some time past, of composing on the subject a Latin history, fairly exact. But, as that work still requires much time, and the reasonable solicitations of so many deserve some satisfaction, I have allowed myself to be led—without prejudice to the history, which shall be written more generally and at greater length—to make a sketch thereof at once; or, rather, to give an essay thereon, with as great simplicity and brevity as possible. I do not claim to speak of everything, but only to afford a somewhat rough conception,—particularly of the Mission of the Hurons, which we have been forced to abandon, speaking, in passing, of what pertains to the others. I shall divide the whole into three parts: the first will be concerned with nature, the second with grace, the third with [page 217] glory. First, will be considered the nature of the Barbarians and of the country; secondly, their conversion, principally a work of grace; thirdly, the death, and consequently the glory, as we hope, of some who have greatly coöperated therein.

[page 219]

Part First.



Y new France is commonly understood the space of land and water which extends from 36 degrees of latitude, which is that of Virginia, to 52, where, nearly, begins the great River of Saint Lawrence; others locate it from 32 to 54. It extends in longitude from 325 degrees to 295, as known to us,—or, to speak more properly, without any limit toward the West. It is a part of the Mainland of North America, distant from [2] Europe, in a direct course, about three thousand miles, as we have observed in various Eclipses; situated, as is seen, in one of the temperate Zones, but partaking of the quality of the two extremes,—having severe cold in Winter, very deep snows, and very hard ice; and in Summer, no less heat than that of Italy.

The first French who lived there believed that the cause of such excessive cold (which, among other things, for nearly four months renders it impossible to write, unless one ply his pen very close to the fire, to such a degree does every liquid freeze) was the endlessly vast woods which cover the whole country. But I myself believe that if the woods, dry and leaf-less as they are in Winter, could hinder the Sun from warming the earth and moderating the excessive cold, they would avail still more in keeping off [page 221] the heat in Summer, when they are very dense; and yet they do not,—the heat in the woods themselves being then very intense, although some nights it freezes as in Winter. I think, therefore, that the true reason is the dryness, called by Aristotle the cos calorìs et frigoris. I do not dispute whether the cold of new France is more intense than that of Countries which are under the same latitude; certain it is, that it is much more acute, and accompanied with much snow and ice, which keep the rivers frozen five and six entire months. But all this may be an effect of the dryness, which is necessary for the snows and ice,—it being a very well-founded opinion that even very intense cold is not sufficient to make ice; otherwise, water—which naturally never freezes except under the greatest cold, as many will have it, or at least under a highly intense cold, as no one denies—would in its natural state be frozen, contrary to its destined use, which is to serve for washing, and as a drink for men and animals. But, because cold alone, although intense, is not sufficient without either some little body, or exhalation, or dry quality, therefore water, even in its natural state, would be fluid; and where dryness prevails, although the cold is not greater than elsewhere, it contracts or expands itself into snow and into ice. Besides, the dryness of these countries is evident,—first, because most of the lands are either stony or sandy (but not, on that account, sterile), whence the Sun cannot derive other than very dry exhalations; and the maritime countries, as being more moist, have less snow, and it melts more quickly Secondly, from experience, through the scarcity of rains, and by the salubrity of the air, so great that, in sixteen and more years during which [page 223] the Huron Mission has lasted,—[3] where, during the same time, we have been as many as sixty Europeans, among whom were many of very feeble constitution,—no one has died a natural death here, notwithstanding the great inconveniences and sufferings, as we shall see; while in Europe those years are few indeed when some one does not die in our Colleges, if their inmates are at all numerous. Now, omnis corruptio ab humido,—therefore, à contrario, sanitas à sicco; and on this account, perhaps,—besides the change of diet,—the Barbarians find it difficult to accustom themselves to the air of Europe. Thus there is a common cause for both heat and cold, namely, quia siccitas est cos caloris et frigoris. But for the cold, in particular, we might add: First, that the land lies higher than ours, and consequently nearer to the second region of the air, of whose cold it partakes in a greater degree. And this is proved by the greater depth of the Sea, which is consequently more dangerous to the ships that are obliged to land. Secondly, by the many river cascades, which if placed together would form a fairly high mountain; which, however, forming itself, as it were, by gradations, is not so perceptible. Thirdly, by the very cold winds blowing from the neighboring mountains, which traverse the whole country as the Apennines traverse Italy; these winds more frequently blow from cold and dry countries, corresponding to our northwest winds, and to the Southwest wind which in those countries is cold, clear, and healthful,—the rains proceeding from the Northeast wind, which comes from the sea. The country, it is true, is full of great rivers and immense lakes; but this does not detract from its dryness,—these rivers and lakes [page 225] being of very pure and very wholesome water; secondly, the bottom is of rock or sand; thirdly, they are in continual motion through the flow and ebb of the tide, whose action extends five hundred miles inland, and, finally, through the winds, which agitate them like the Sea, and thereby restrain the action of the Sun which otherwise would draw from them a greater abundance of vapors. This last is the very reason why it does not continually rain on the sea,—whose water, on the other hand, is much warmer, of greater volume, and more open to receive the influence of the Sun'. Some one might add to this the nearness or contiguity of the Seas of Canada to the icy sea,—from which, or at least from whose shores, are detached whole mountains of ice, which, in the months of June and July, are encountered even in the gulf of Saint Lawrence. I have repeatedly seen them as great as entire Cities; and Pilots worthy of credence say that they have seen some, along which they have coasted for 200 miles and over.

But it is unlikely that these masses of ice, immense though they are, have any effect at so great a distance as ours, since we dwell between the 47th and the 44th degrees of latitude, goo miles or more [4] from the sea. Some have supposed that these countries were, in former times, discovered by the Spaniards, from whom, perhaps, they got the name of Canada,—as if they meant to say hà nada, there being almost nothing but woods. But it is certain that this region was taken possession of for the first time by the French in the year 1504; and from them it received the name of new France, without losing that of Canadà which some have wished to apply to the more Northern part. They made several voyages [page 227] thither,—as in the years 1508, 1523,1524, 1534, 1608, and 1625 ; and these were frequently interrupted, as Champlain has written at some length,—until the year 1629, when a Fort which the French had on the great river Saint Lawrence, more than four hundred miles distant from the sea, was taken by the English. On occasion of the peace which was made between these nations, the French were restored to the amicable possession of the territory, in which they have continued until now, without any limit toward the West and the North; while the shores of the sea which are toward the south and East are occupied partly by the French, partly by the English,—who are there in great numbers,—in part by the Dutch, and in part by Swedes. At the same time when the French were constrained by hunger to surrender, those of our Society, who had gone thither three or four years previously,—also some Reformed Fathers of St. Francis, who had passed over thither ten years earlier,—were brought back to England by the same English, and thence to France; but, at the return of the French, ours returned alone, in order to lay foundations for the conversion of the Barbarians inhabiting those countries. They instituted two Missions,—one for the nations which they call Algonquin and Montagnais, peoples somewhat related in language but wandering and roving in the woods; the other, for the Hurons, tribes of a very different language, and settled in one region. Now of the first I will not say much, because I was not employed there; of the second, where I spent several years, I will say few things of which I have not been an eye-witness.

And as certain places will be particularly referred [page 229] to from time to time, we will at once make known to

the Reader the more important ones.

  1. Tadusac is the first port, which is usually set down as being about three hundred miles up the river Saint Lawrence. It is deserted except at the arrival of the ships; and then a Mission is held there, and the wandering Barbarians—who assemble there from various countries, at a distance of 300 miles, and over—are instructed for the space of two or three months.
  2. Kebek is 120 miles further inland, and is a Fortress of the French, [5] which commands the same river, on whose bank it is constructed upon a mountain, at the narrowest point on this river, which is here about a mile wide. There is a French Colony there, and, quite recently, a Huron one; and the Barbarians called Algonquins spend several months of the Year there before going to their hunt.
  3. Four miles distant from Kebek, on the shores of the same river, there is a Residence of the Society, called Saint Joseph, where the Algonquin Christians spend half of the Year, with some French families: it is otherwise called Syllerì, from the founder, who was the Chevalier de Syllerì.
  4. Ninety miles beyond, still up stream, there flows into this King of rivers,—which at its mouth is 60 miles in width, and here more than a mile and a half, with both flow and ebb of the tide, although more than 400 miles distant from the sea,—there flows into it, I say, a tributary which we call the three rivers, because it issues as if from three mouths, by reason of two Islands, which divide it into three streams. At that place is the second fort of the French on the river Saint Lawrence, and a [page 231] second Colony of theirs,—and, during a certain time of the Year, of Algonquin Barbarians.
  5. Then, ten miles further, still up stream, is the lake called St. Pierre,—24 miles in length and 10 or 12 in width,—famous through the incursions of the Hiroquois. A river prolongs it; and six miles beyond, at the mouth of this river (which is named after the Hiroquois, because it comes from their lake), was the fort of Richelieu.
  6. Fifty miles beyond is the great Island of Mont Reale, 180 miles distant from Kebek,—which was formerly thickly inhabited by Barbarians, while now they are very few. There is a fort of the French, with some families, who are founding a third Colony. This Island is about a hundred miles in circumference; and there the two branches unite which form our great river. And let this be sufficient. for the understanding of what we shall say in this history. [page 233]



HE Country of the Hurons is a part of new France, which is between the 44th and 45th degrees of latitude, and in longitude about three-quarters of an hour farther toward the West than Kebek, but more than six whole hours from Rome. In the direction of the summer Sunset, it has a lake of [6] about 1200 miles in circumference, which we call " the fresh-water sea," where the flow and ebb of tides can be observed,—a rare thing away from the sea. It has innumerable Islands,—and, among others, one zoo miles in circumference, inhabited by some Barbarians, whom they call ondatauauat. At the West, along the shores of this lake, was the nation which we called " Tobacco, " because this plant was produced there in abundance; this nation was not distant from us more than 35 or 40 miles. Southward, a little toward the West, came the neutral nation, whose first villages were not more than 100 miles distant from the Hurons; the territory of this nation extended through the space of 150 miles. Thence, moving from the neutral nation a little toward the East, one reached new Sweden, where also dwell the Andastogenronons,—who are allied to our Hurons, and speak a language not very different from theirs,—distant from us, in a direct route, about 500 miles. Beyond that same neutral nation, in a direction nearly South, there is [page 235] a lake 600 miles in circumference, called Herie, formed b y the fresh-water sea, which discharges into it,—and thence, by means of a very high cataract, into a third lake, still greater and more beautiful; it is called Ontario, or Beautiful lake, but we were wont to call it the lake of St. Louis. The former of these two lakes was at one time inhabited toward the South by certain peoples whom we call the Cat nation; but they were forced to proceed farther Inland, in order to escape the enemies whom they have toward the West. This nation has various Territories, cultivates the fields, and speaks a language similar to the Huron. The second lake—distant from the Hurons, in a straight course, about 100 miles—is nearly 250 miles in length, extending from the East to the West, and about 50 in width, from the South to the North. It discharges into a great river, which makes an arm of the one which we call St. Lawrence. A little Inland thence from this lake of St. Louis, reside the five Hiroquois nations, enemies to our Hurons, in a situation almost parallel to the length of that lake. North of the Hurons are many Algonquin nations, who do not cultivate the earth, but live exclusively by hunting and fishing, and go even to the so-called Northern sea, from which we reckoned ourselves distant about 1,000 miles, in a straight line. Our Barbarians traded with them every year in Beaver skins, of which they have an enormous abundance. The other nations known to us, which inhabit that lake, are also Algonquin, and cultivate the soil, although but little. They are at least as many as nine,—one of them being the nation of the Sault, or cascade, [7] more than 300 miles distant from us, through which we [page 237] hoped for a passage in order to reach other nations farther on, who dwell along a lake larger than the fresh-water sea, which takes its origin thence, and extends between the West and the north. A Peninsula, or Strip of land, divides this lake from the one which is called " lake of the Stinkards ",—people so named by reason of having formerly inhabited the shores of the sea, which they call Stinking water, and who have a language altogether unknown to us.

Now, under the name of " Mission of the Hurons, " we comprehended all these vast countries; and our design was, never to stop in the seeking out of new Peoples, to whom we hoped that a Colony in the country of the Hurons might be the key, had not the inscrutable judgments of God otherwise disposed. [page 239]



HIS chapter would in itself require a whole book, and that will be composed, as I hope, in course of time; but,—as this writing is not so much for curiosity as for edification, and as brevity is a chief concern with me,—I will merely say that the country is very poor, but not sterile; when cultivated, it gives back with great abundance what it receives. It has many species of Trees which we do not have here; and among others, many cedars similar to those of Lebanon, many simples unknown to us, animals and birds different from ours. Among these last is one which mews like a cat and sings like a bird, which it is; and another, very dainty, which for its diminutive size is called oiseau-mouche [humming-bird]. There is a hare which sings, and is more palatable than ours; and a small animal which, when pursued, defends itself with a stench which is insufferable and continues very long,—the French therefore have called it "son of the Devil." (Fils diable) They have also flying Squirrels, but without wings; and many other animals of greater size,—such as Elks or Great Beasts, Cows, and wild Asses,—as will be seen in the history. Even the domestic dogs are different from ours. I merely note: first, that nature, that provident mother, on account of the great cold of the Winter, clothes them almost all,—[page 241] including ours which are born in the country, such as dogs, swine, etc.,—with double fur; inner and outer, the former of which is very thick and very soft.

Secondly, that the Hares, as in the Alps, change their color in winter, [8] being white like the snow in which they live—while, in summer, they resume the color of ours. The earth contains iron ores, and certain rocks which melt like metal, with an appearance of having some vein of silver. There is a Copper ore, which is very pure, and which has no need of passing through the fire; but it is in places far distant and hard to reach, which render its transportation almost impossible. We have seen it in the hands of the Barbarians, but no one has visited the place. Besides the Pumpkins, which last for two months, and are very good baked under the ashes, there are no other fruits but wild ones. The best are the strawberries, of two sorts; the blackberries, which grow on briars; the hazelnuts, and certain haws, and the wild plum. The walnuts have scarcely anything but the shell, and the cherries are no larger than a pea,—being little else than stone and skin, and very sour. There are some wild vines, but in small quantity, nor are they esteemed by the Barbarians themselves; but they do esteem highly a certain fruit of violet color, the size of a juniper berry which I have never seen in these countries. I have also seen, once, a plant similar to the Melon of India, with fruit the size of a small lime. There is also, in a certain place, abundance of garlic and cives; and elsewhere there are found some roots of fairly good savor, which serve—as also do acorns—in time of hunger.

The Inhabitants reflect the poverty of the Soil, in [page 243] their food, dress, dwellings, sleeping accommodations, and manner of travel. The roving Barbarians, before knowing the French, lived solely by hunting or fishing, and, through necessity, fasted more than half the year—having no notion of Economy, and frequently lacking the means of preserving game or fish a long time, when these abounded, as they had no salt; while the smoke which they used in place of salt, was not adequate for preserving provisions a long time; whence they frequently died of hunger, or sometimes inflicted death out of pity. But, since they have had commerce with the French, those who are situated near the sea have, by the exchange of their Beaver skins, provisions for some part of the Year.

But the Hurons and other Peoples distant from the sea, who are sedentary, hunt only for pleasure, or on extraordinary occasions; yet they have neither bread, nor wine, nor salt, nor meat, nor vegetables, nor any other food usual in Europe. They content themselves with Turkish corn cooked in pure water, or seasoned, when possible, with some fish or meat, fresh or smoked, without any use of salt or other condiment; and with this grain are sown the fields which [9] they cultivate. After our arrival, they also planted there beans, both large and small. The men's clothing is light, but—excepting a certain nation made up of a few Algonquins—all cover at least that which decency demands; but the women are much more covered,—the Huron women, even in the house, at least from the waist to the knee; the Algonquin women, more than the most religious women in Europe. These garments are commonly of skins of various kinds of animals, sewed together, in size, five or six palms square; and they serve as [page 245] cover at night. They make of the same skins, in rather crude fashion, both sleeves and stockings for Winter. One of our blankets would serve to clothe by day and cover by night two Barbarians, during a whole winter. The somewhat long and dangerous navigation which they conduct, on rivers and enormous lakes, with very distant nations for the beaver trade, is effected in little boats of bark, no thicker than a testone,—holding at the most 8 or 10 persons, but commonly not more than three or four; they maneuver these dexterously, and almost without danger. For houses, both the Algonquins and the Hurons have nothing else than cabins; but the former make them of bark, light as parchment, which they stretch now here, now there, according to need, over certain poles which form, as it were, the skeleton of the cabin. The latter build enclosed towns, or fortified strongholds, with crossed stakes, traversed with trunks of trees, to protect themselves from attacks of enemies; and make their cabins 10, 15, 20, 30, or 40 cannes in length, of great pieces of bark supported by beams, which serve to hold up their corn, to dry it in winter. But neither of them have any other bed than either some branches of trees, used by the former, or some bark or matting, used by the latter,—without tables, benches, or anything of the kind, the earth or some bark serving them for every purpose. And this was the living and lodging of ours in those missions,—which, indeed, were thought by many to be more arduous than any other missions of our Society.

But, in this almost unexampled poverty, there are nevertheless among them both poor and rich, noble and plebeian; and they have their ornaments,—[page 247] especially the women,—for the public feasts and ceremonies of games, dances, and feasts, which have little more than the name in common with those of Europe. Their customs are different from ours, both in peace and in war, both in public and in private; they do not uncover in making salutation, having been always uncovered before knowing the French. But silence and obedience of the young men toward the elders, serve as marks of respect; and, for ordinary salutation, they content themselves with a "good day," which in their language is expressed by saying Quoe.

[10] The women wear their hair in a single braid, which falls behind their shoulders; the men, in various ways. Some shave half of the head; others, all, leaving only some tufts of hair here and there; others allow the hair to grow very long, and this is the most common: others leave it, in the middle, or on the forehead, straight as bristles. From this the first Frenchmen gave our Barbarians the name of Hurons, because of the hure,—that is to say, because of the straight locks, like bristles of a wild boar, which they wore on the middle of the head, as this is what hure signifies in French. They all commonly have black hair, and greatly hate curls—something exceedingly rare among them, if indeed they are found at all.

They paint their faces in various styles, and on sundry occasions; and many, their whole bodies,—some superficially and temporarily, others permanently. The former paint themselves, now black, now red, now various colors: these appear artistically bearded, those seem to wear spectacles; some have the whole face striped with various colors, [page 249] others, only half,—but all, shining with oil or grease, which they mix in their colors. Black they commonly take from the bottom of the pots; the other colors are of various earths, as lake, or are derived from certain roots, which yield a very fine scarlet color: and they paint themselves so well that some, at first sight, have supposed certain Barbarians to be clothed, who were perfectly naked,—their clothes consisting only of paint.

But those who paint themselves permanently do so with extreme pain,—using, for this purpose, needles, sharp awls, or piercing thorns, with which they perforate, or have others perforate, the skin. Thus they form on the face, the neck, the breast, or some other part of the body, some animal or monster,—for instance, an Eagle, a Serpent, a Dragon, or any other figure which they prefer; and then, tracing over the fresh and bloody design some powdered charcoal, or other black coloring matter, which becomes mixed with the blood and penetrates within these perforations, they imprint indelibly upon the living skin the designed figures. And this in some nations is so common that in the one which we called the Tobacco, and in that which—on account of enjoying peace with the Hurons and with the Hiroquois—was called Neutral, I know not whether a single individual was found, who was not painted in this manner, on some part of the body. And indeed, when the painting covers a great part of the body, it is dangerous, especially in cold weather; and—either through some sort of convulsion, or for some other reason—it has caused the death of more than one, making him a martyr to vanity and a fantastic caprice, [10 i.e., 11] in the fulfillment of which they [page 251] commonly give no sign of pain, although they experience it most acutely.

The reasons which they have for painting themselves,—especially for a temporary purpose,—are certainly not barbarous. This Painting serves them in winter as a mask against the cold and the ice; in war, it prevents their countenances from betraying them by revealing inward fear, makes them more terrible to the enemy, and conceals extremes of youth or age, which might inspire strength and courage in the adversary. It serves as adornment at the public feasts and assemblies. They also paint the prisoners destined to the flames, as victims consecrated to the God of war, and adorn them as the ancients adorned theirs. They do the same also to their dead, for the same reasons for which we adorn ours. And as painting themselves is peculiar to the men, so it is the custom of men, and not of the women, to wear even in war little mirrors about their necks, or in the small pouches in which they carry the Tobacco which they smoke perpetually,—at the assemblies, and everywhere. They use hot baths, but in a very Barbarous manner; they enclose large stones, red-hot, in a little cabin, where 15 or 20 persons come together, seated like Apes, who touch one another closely, and remain there during whole hours,—working themselves, while singing violently, into an excessive perspiration; and on issuing thence, even at the beginning of winter, they plunge into some half-frozen lake or river, from which, inexplicable though it seem, they return without distress. They do this from superstition, for cleanliness, for health, and for pleasure; it is thus that they refresh and invigorate themselves in the [page 253] midst of long journeys, and obviate fatigue upon returning. At their feasts, where they assemble by the hundred, all the dishes are announced, one by one; and at each the answer is made in a loud and strong voice, with this expression of thanks: " oh, oh, "—uttered with an H, which the Italians would pronounce with difficulty. There is singing for whole hours before eating. One sings, and all respond in a strong voice, from the chest, in measured time: " oh, oh. " But they succeed one another in the song; and he who has taken some wild beast, or who makes the feast, does not eat of it, but either sings or talks while the others partake thereof. Before knowing the Europeans, as they had no kettles for cooking victuals, especially on their journeys, they made a ditch in the earth, and filled it with water, which they caused to boil by cooling in it a number of stones, first heated red-hot for this purpose. They have not such a variety of dances as we have, but these are more grave than ours,—which they praise for dexterity, but regard them as too frivolous for men. This fault cannot be imputed to them; since, even as young men, they accustom themselves to perhaps a too serious maturity.

[12] Their Marriages are similar to those of the ancient Jews: the brother quite commonly taking the deceased brother's wife,—never contracting marriage with blood-relatives, however distant, but always preferring affinity to any other connection. The man endows the woman, who bears the whole burden of the house, cultivates the fields, cuts and carries the firewood, does the cooking, and loads herself, on the journeys, with provisions, etc., for the husband. The part of the men is only war, hunting, fishing, [page 255] trade, in various countries, and the preparation of the things thereto necessary,—as offensive and defensive weapons, boats, oars, and snowshoes For going over the snows; and in these industries every one succeeds so well that the Europeans themselves would not know a better way of devising the things necessary to them for journeys, for lodging in the woods, and for navigation. Wherefore, they are hardly Barbarians, save in name. There is no occasion to think of them as half beasts, shaggy, black, and hideous. They are without a beard, or other hair than that of the head, like the Americans of the torrid Zone, perhaps because the two extremes of heat and cold produce the same effects: thus animals accomplish digestion both by the action of cold and by natural heat. I have tested this in the cod,—a very greedy fish, which digests almost everything; I have opened it, while still alive, and found the cold of its stomach well-nigh unendurable to my hand. And, if the cold of Europe does not have the same effect in the more northern countries, it is perhaps because of the many palliatives of cold, such as wines, brandy, spices, salt, stoves, etc., which they employ,—all of which things our Barbarians do not even know the name. They are not very dark, especially in their youth; they are strong, tall in stature, and well-proportioned: more healthy than we,—not even knowing the name of many diseases common in Europe, such as the stone, gout, rupture, etc. They are not found either hunchbacked or dwarfed, or very corpulent, or with goiters, etc. They are affable to one another, exchange visits very frequently, and like to be regarded as liberal and disinterested. They are certainly worthy of [page 257] particular admiration in four things: first, their senses, which are most perfect,—so that, although they spend nearly six months without seeing anything but snow outside, and in their cabins, nothing but smoke,—they have, nevertheless, exceedingly acute vision, excellent hearing, an ear for music, and a rare sense of smell,—differing from ours only in this, that they esteem musk ill-smelling, and are indifferent to the odors of things which are not eatable. With this sense they frequently discover fire long before seeing it, especially at night. Their touch and skin are very delicate, their sensibility being perhaps increased by the ointments commonly used among them, as anciently among the Gentiles [11 i.e., 13] and the Hebrews. They anoint, when they have the means, the whole body, and especially the hair, for various and most excellent reasons. Secondly, they have an admirable fortitude in hardships: they endure hunger for ten or fifteen days,—sometimes from superstition, mostly by necessity; fire they endure without crying out. The youth accustom themselves to this from the age of ten or twelve years, two of them binding their arms together, and then putting a coal between the two arms, to see who will shake it off the first; they despise him who loses. They endure cold, heat, pains, or diseases, without complaining; and while, among physical pains, the sacred scripture esteems those of child-birth the greatest, the women, to set an example of courage, bring forth without giving any sign of pain; for, if they cried out, they would be despised and deemed cowardly', and could not again find husbands.

Thirdly, they possess a marvelous faculty for remembering places, and for describing them to one [page 259] another, and for guiding themselves in the woods where they hardly ever lose their way. I have several times tried, in cloudy weather, or by night, to lead some Barbarian astray,—using the compass, in the endeavor to confuse his notions of the four quarters of the World, and then questioning him where was the East, where the south, where the country of the enemy, where our own; yet I have never found that they were deceived, for they guided' themselves just as securely by their senses as I by my compass. Indeed, this is a talent in a manner natural, which even the youths and the women use on occasion,—and particularly, to flee when they are prisoners in the hands of the enemy, and to travel three or 400 miles in the woods, where there is no road, in order to take refuge in our settlements: the proof of this we see many times every year.

Fourthly, a very tenacious memory. They have neither books nor writings; negotiations are carried on through embassies, in which I have been amazed to see how many things and how many circumstances they recollect. But this faculty shines forth still more in the Captains, who use little sticks instead of books, which they sometimes mark with certain signs, sometimes not. By the aid of these they can repeat the names of a hundred or more presents, the decisions adopted in the councils, and a thousand other particulars, which we could not rehearse without writing.

They have a clever understanding and good judgment, also an excellent style of narration, and great eloquence; and matters, of which they possess the fundamental elements, they handle just as well as the most sagacious Europeans. In France, people [page 261] have believed that their speeches and addresses, which we reported in our relations were fictitious; but I can assert that most of these, when translated [12 i.e., 14] into another language, are much less powerful than in their own.

They have often persuaded us in affairs of importance, and made us change the resolutions which, after mature deliberation we had taken for the weal of the country. I doubt not that they are capable of the sciences: they have a harmonious and excellent ear for music; but their music is different from, and in some degree more martial, than ours.

It is not taught as an art, but, as the most expert declare, is admired as a natural accomplishment with many. We have proved them to be most capable not only of faith, which is more excellent than all the sciences, but also of the true science of the Saints,—that is to say, of a most constant and most. tender devotion. [page 263]



DO not speak of all the nations of these countries, nor of all that concerns their government, which is admirable in this, that, being very different from ours, and therefore to many unknown, it is nevertheless quite as effective as our own, and even more so, since there appear, amid conditions of extreme liberty, very few disorders. 1 speak only of the nations which we know, and particularly of the Hurons.

These peoples have neither King nor absolute Prince, but certain chiefs, like the heads of a Republic whom we call Captains,—different, however, from those in war. These hold office commonly by succession on the side of the women, sometimes by election. They assume office at the death of a predecessor (who, they say, is resuscitated in them). This is celebrated with certain ceremonies. These Captains have not vim coactivam, which even the Fathers do not exercise over their sons in order to correct them, as they use words alone; and, thus brought up, the more the sons increase in age, the more they love and respect their fathers. Therefore both the former and the latter obtain everything precario by eloquence, exhortation, and entreaties; and, as signatum est super nos lumen vultus Domini, rude though they were before our arrival, they were nevertheless acquainted with both vice and virtue; [page 265] and although free and undisciplined to the last degree, we soon wrought some improvement. On the other hand, certain virtues were so common among them, that they were not esteemed as such: for instance, a hospitality so great that they received every comer,—never driving him from the hut, but serving him and giving him whatever he needed just as to the most intimate members of the household, without asking any pay for it. They also show an invincible patience in trials; a fortitude in receiving unmoved the most bitter news, as that of death; an imperturbable tranquillity [13 i.e., 15] when wronged by fellow-countrymen, even when they suffer personal loss; and a certain external seemliness in their behavior, which prevents a thousand levities that are quite common among European youth, especially when both sexes mingle without any external restraint. But, with these apparent virtues, they have genuine vices, within and without. To internal pride I attribute the saying of a Captain, who, being wounded by a young man, and seeing his people aroused to take vengeance therefor, checked them by saying: " Enough; did you not feel the earth shake with horror at that audacity: " This causes them stoically to dissimulate their passions, especially that of resentment; and it is a great reproach to say to one who begins to grow angry, " So you are getting angry: " Among the external vices one of the most common was theft,—they always priding themselves on their great skill, when able to accomplish it without being discovered. They turned everything to account, using for the adornment of their persons whatever was not available otherwise. The used to steal with both their hands and their [page 267] feet, in the presence and in the absence of the owner,—not for actual utility, but from pure vice. They have sometimes stolen implements of various trades, wholly useless to them, the hands of clocks, etc.; and once, when one of our Fathers was saying the Office by the light of a hole in the cabin, they took through that hole the breviary from his hands, without his being able to see or to catch the thief. I found one of them who was stealing the door of a chapel of ours. But theft is not unpunished,—the penalty being, that he who is convicted of it may be justly despoiled, he and all his house; and this is carried out in such a way that a man who may have stolen an axe, for instance, or a similar trifle, loses, if he is found guilty, all his goods,—axes, kettles, clothes, provisions, nets, canoe, etc.,—until, if the prosecutor use rigor, he, his wife, and his children are left in a total destitution of everything. To avoid contest in this matter, they have established, first, that if a thing, lost or dropped, even though it should be but three paces away, be taken, by any one whomsoever, this is not theft,—that it is so only when an object is taken from the cabins or huts; secondly, that the one from whom anything has been stolen, on recognizing it in the hands of another (wherein they are wonderful, distinguishing, I know not how, almost ovum ab ovo), must not suddenly seize it, but must question him,—for instance, " Who gave you that javelin ? " If the other make no answer, he is deemed convicted of theft; if he say that he has received it as a gift, or bought it of some one, he must tell the name of him who gave or sold it to him. Then the other goes to find the seller, and puts the same question to him; and, if this one name [page 269] to him another, he goes [14 i.e., 16] to find him, and continues the investigation until he finds one who has it from nobody. In this, and in similar things, they display great sincerity,—never naming an innocent man; while the guilty one, through his silence, confesses himself the culprit. A case in point was brought before us. A poor woman, who had no other wealth than a collar of certain beads made of sea-shells,—which the French have called porrelaine, and which are, as it were, the money and the pearls of the country,—for fear lest while cultivating her field it might be stolen from the cabin, carried it with her in a pouch, which, in order that she might not be hindered in her work, she attached to the trunk of a tree, intending to get it again upon going away. A neighbor of hers, who was at work in another field, espied it, and, suspecting that the good woman would forget it, she never lost sight of it. The old woman, after a while, leaves her field to go to another, near by; and the neighbor, who waited only for this, takes the pouch before her very eyes, and exclaims, after the manner of the country, " I have made a good find! " and goes away. Now the uncertainty is, whether this woman can legitimately keep it, or whether the other has the right to dispossess her. The intentions are obscure: for who knows whether the owner intended to return, as she said, into the field ? If she did not, the pouch, according to the accepted usage of the country, is accounted as abandoned, et primo occupantis. We referred the matter ton the Captains, of whose prudence we took note " If the matter is considered with strictness, " they answered, " the prize is good,—at least the old woman has not the right to dispossess the other [page 271] woman; but the latter, unless she wishes to be thought unmannerly, litigious, and avaricious, should give back the pouch, and content herself with some civility or gratuity, which the other owes her. "

But the policy which they observe for preventing murders, which are very rare, is worthy to be reported here, and it will be seen in a case which occurred on the 28th of April in the year 1648. A Frenchman, who from devotion served us there for nothing, was killed by the Hurons. He was a young man of 22 years, called Jacques Douart. He was met by two assassins, who were seeking some one of us or of ours, with the intention of killing the first whom they should find alone. The order for this had been given by six Captains, from three several Villages, who were very hostile to the faith, and who intended, by that means, to hinder the good understanding between us and our Christians, to terrify us all, and to constrain us to abandon the country, and thus to prevent the preaching of the Gospel, which they deemed a thing prejudicial to their interests. They killed him with a hatchet-blow, toward [15 i.e., 17] Sunset; and on the following morning, our Christians, having received the report of it, came from the neighboring districts to tell us that this crime was a sure sign of certain plots against us: " But here we are, " they added, " all ready to die for the defense of our Fathers and of the faith." The whole country became aroused: wherefore the leaders of the nation assembled in a general council, at which the authors of the murder, showing themselves to be enemies of the faith, did not fail to say, not only that it was necessary to make no account of what had happened, but further, that the gates of their villages [page 273] should be shut in our faces, and that we must be driven out of the country. Others added that all the Christians should be sent into exile, and their number kept from increasing. But the zeal of some good neophytes shone forth brightly on this occasion: .some said that they would gladly have forsaken their kindred, whom they tenderly loved, and their native land, sooner than do wrong, in the least degree, to their faith; others, that they esteemed the present life as nothing after having learned the blessings of the future one. " I do not fear," said one, " the fire of the Hiroquois, provided I be found without sin; much less do I fear to be slain for the faith, and to give my life to one who will restore it to me, immortal. " Others spoke otherwise, but all, with a zeal and freedom truly Christian, censured the authors and abettors of the murder,—without naming them, however, although they knew them. " These people, " they said, " wish the ruin of the country, and have no doubt been corrupted with gifts to betray us; the faith does not please them, because it reproves their vices; let them appear, and this will be seen. " Two or three days passed in these holy contests, which served to increase still more the fervor of our Christians, and to show the love which they bore to the faith and to their teachers; and finally, to obtain from the Captains and the chief men of the country, although infidels, that, in the name of the public, such full satisfaction should be accorded to us, as their law prescribes in similar cases.

It would be attempting the impossible, and ruining everything, rather than affording a remedy, to proceed with the Barbarians according to the judicial usage of nearly all nations, by condemning the [page 275] murderer to death: it is the public that gives satisfaction for the crimes of the individual, whether the culprit be known or not. In fine, the crime alone is punished, and not the criminal; and this, which elsewhere would appear an injustice, is among them a most efficacious means for preventing the spread of similar disorders. I have believed that it might be a reasonable curiosity to wish to know, in this matter, their particular customs; howbeit, I will continue in a few words the Story begun above. [16 i.e., 18] Having, then, resolved to make satisfaction to us, they called us to a general council which they had convened; at which an old Captain, in the name of them all, began to speak to the Superior of the Mission in this wise: " Brother " (these are almost his own words), " thou seest here all the nations assembled together to make satisfaction to you, "—he named them all, one by one; " we are no more than a handful of people; thou alone sustainest this poor country, and bearest it in thy hands. A thunderbolt has struck it, and rent it in two; it has opened a chasm before us, wherein, if thou abandon us, we shall surely be swallowed up. Have therefore pity on us, who are here to lament thy loss, and ours, rather than to speak. This country is nothing but a skeleton without flesh, without veins, without sinews, without arteries—we are like dry bones, bound together with a very delicate thread. The blow dealt upon the head of thy nephew, whom we mourn, has broken that bond; it was the Demon who put the axe in the hand of the assassin. Was it perchance thou, O Sun, who didst lead him to commit so wretched a crime: Why didst thou not darken thy light, that he himself might be horrified at his own [page 277] temerity ? Wast thou, perhaps, his accomplice ? No, forsooth, since he was walking in the darkness, and knew not whither he went. The unhappy man thought to strike directly upon the head of a young Frenchman, and struck his own country with a mortal wound; the earth opened to receive the blood of the innocent, and has made a chasm to engulf us all, now that we are all guilty. Our enemies will rejoice in this death, and will celebrate a glorious triumph, on seeing that our arms destroy ourselves, and deal such telling blows in their favor. " He continued in this strain a long time, and then added: " Brother, have pity on this country; thou alone canst give life to it. To thee it pertains to gather together these scattered bones; thou must close the mouth of this chasm which stands ready to engulf us; have pity on thy country, which we call thine, because we make thee the master of it. We are here like criminals, to receive condemnation, if thou choose to treat us without mercy; have pity on those who, accusing themselves, come humbly to ask thy pardon. Thou hast given stability to this country by establishing thy dwelling here; if thou go away, we shall be like uprooted straws, which serve only as sport for the winds. This Land is an unstable Island, and is likely to be submerged in the first storm; do thou establish it, and posterity will praise thee, and hold thine act in perpetual remembrance. At the first news of this death, we forsook everything; and [17 i.e., 19] we bring with us nothing but tears and repentance,—ready to execute, by way of reparation for the crime perpetrated, whatever thou shalt command us. Speak, therefore; what wilt thou have ? Thine are our lives, and, much more, our goods; we [page 279] will gladly despoil ourselves of them to satisfy thee; we will despoil our children, to content thee; nor will we accuse thee herein, but only him who involved us in guilt. Against him shall we direct our resentment, and for thee we shall never have anything but love and veneration." In answer, there was given him a. parcel of small sticks, a little longer and thicker than matches, which indicated the number of presents that we required by way of satisfaction for the murder. Our Christians had informed us of all their customs, and exhorted us to observe them exactly, unless we would arouse prejudice not only against ourselves, but also against the cause of God and the faith. The Captains divided the sticks among them, so that every nation should contribute toward the presents which we asked. For this purpose every one went to his own village. No individual is obliged to make this contribution, but they vie with one another, according as they are more or less rich, in sharing these public burdens, in order to show their devotion to the common weal. A day was therefore set for the return, in order to perform the ceremony with all the solemnity of the country. This was the 11th of May. On the eve of this event, 4 Captains were delegated by the general council to confer with us; two were Christians, and two infidels. They presented themselves at the door; but as there is no speaking on these occasions without gifts, they made the first one at the entrance: which was to the end that the door might be opened to them. They made a second, that they might be permitted to enter; and, as many doors as they had to pass, so many gifts we might have required of them. When they had entered, they began to speak, offering us a present [page 281] which they call " the drying of tears," in order that we might no longer regard them with clouded eyes. The second they call a medicinal potion for restoring our voice to us, which we had lost, and for causing it to sound more softly in future. The third, to appease the mind agitated by thoughts of grief. The fourth, to soothe the heart, justly provoked. These gifts are mostly of those beads of marine shells which the French, as we have said, have called porcelaine,—and similar trifles, utterly valueless in Europe, but much esteemed in those countries. They added to these, nine other gifts, to erect a sepulcher to the deceased,—every one with its own peculiar name; four were for the q columns which were to support the sepulcher, and four for the four stretchers which form the coffin of the dead; the ninth, to serve him as a pillow. Afterward, [18 i.e., 20] eight Captains of the eight Huron nations brought each a present for the eight principal bones of the human body; those of the feet, legs, arms, etc. And here their custom obliged us to speak,—that is, to make a present of 3000 of those beads, in order to put the ruined country on its feet again, and strengthen it so that it could bear the reproaches which we might make against it for the crime perpetrated. The following morning, in the presence of a great multitude assembled from every direction, they made a sort of stage in a public square, where they suspended 50 gifts, which form the principal satisfaction: the remainder, already referred to, being only a sort of accessory. For a Huron slain by another Huron, they usually content themselves with 30 presents. For a woman, they ask 40. This is partly because they cannot defend themselves like the [page 283] men, partly, too, because they people the countries,—on which account, their lives should be more precious to the public, and their weakness should have greater support from justice. For an alien they ask more; because otherwise, they say, murders would be continuous, trade would be ruined, and war would easily occur with foreign nations. The ceremony is not yet finished. The body for which the sepulcher was erected must not repose there naked; it is necessary to clothe it as it was in life. Accordingly they made three presents, for a shirt, a doublet, breeches, etc., and for an arquebus with powder and balls, which the deceased had; and, to withdraw from the wound the deadly hatchet, they added a further present. As many blows as the dead has received, so many gifts they would have been obliged to make, in order to heal the wounds. Thereto they added three more presents: the first, to close the earth, which had opened itself; the second, to make it solid,—and here all began, according to their custom, to dance in token of gladness; the third, to prevent, with a great stone (as they say), that chasm from ever opening again. There were also seven others: the first, to restore speech to the missionaries; the second, to exhort our domestics not to turn their arms against the murderer, but against their enemies; the third, to rekindle the fire which we kept always lighted for the convenience of travelers; the fourth, to open again the door of the Hospice for our Christians, whom we frequently lodged; the fifth, to put back in the water the boat which we used for conveying them across the river when they came to visit us; the sixth, to restore the paddle to the hands of a young man who had charge of that [page 285] passage; the seventh, for the most Illustrious Signor Governor, whom they call Onontio. [19 i.e., 21] We might have required two others, to rebuild our House and Church, and to erect four Crosses which were at the four corners of our territory; but we contented ourselves with those which they offered us voluntarily. Three of the first Captains concluded the ceremony with three gratuitous gifts, which they made to exhort us to be always constant in loving them. All these presents amounted to a hundred.

In return, we also made gifts to each of the eight nations, to bind up again and to confirm the old friendship; to exhort them to be always united and at peace, both among themselves and with the French, in order the better to resist their enemies; to prevent the slanders which were current against the faith and the Christians, whom they accused of every disastrous accident; to console them for the loss of some of theirs, killed by the enemies; and finally, to assure them that the most Illustrious Signor Governor, who was the Signor Chevalier de Montmagnì, and all the French, would forever forget that murder,—for which they had, according to their customs, made full satisfaction.

It is thus that they punish murders; and, when presents are not forthcoming at the second or the third time, wars are declared among the nations. [page 287]



For bibliographical particulars of the Relation of 1651-52, see Vol. XXXVII.


The bibliography of the Journal des Jésuites was given in Vol. XXVII.


In reprinting Bressani's Breve Relatione we follow the original Italian text, from a copy in the library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. It is not described in Harrisse's Notes; but the omission is evidently unintentional, as he refers to it in the note appended to no. 475. The volume is dedicated to Cardinal de Lugo "Di Macerata li 19 Luglio 1653."

Collation: Title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; dedication, with privilege dated "Romæ 26. Martij 1653" on the verso, 1 leaf; text, beginning with the "Proemio" or introduction, pp. 1-127 (for pp. 1-129), with "Tauola de' Capitoli" on verso of p. 127. The signatures are: Two preliminary leaves, A in four, B in five, C-Q in fours. The insertion of a leaf between sig. B, and B2, is responsible for the omission of two pages of the pagination, namely on the verso of B, and on the verso of the inserted leaf.

Copies have been sold or priced as follows: [page 289] Quaritch (1860), no. 3930, priced at £3. 3s; Leclerc (1867), no. 209, sold for 70 fr., and (1878), no. 684, priced at 350 Fr.; Murphy sale (1884), no. 343, sold for $16; Barlow (1890), no. 333, sold for $27; Silvio Bocca, of Rome, priced (1892) at 200 lire, and (1896) 100 lire; Dufossé (1891-96), priced at 150 to 200 Fr.; Maisonneuve, of Paris, priced (1898) at 200 Fr.; and Jacques Rosenthal, of Munich, priced (1898) at 175 marks. There are copies in the following libraries: Lenox, Brown (private), Ayer (private), State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Provincial Parliament (Ottawa), St. Mary's College (Montréal), Laval University (Quebec), British Museum, and Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris ).

In 1852, the Rev. Felix Martin, S. J., published a French translation of Bressani, in which he included some important additions. It collates as follows:

Relation abrégée, | de | Quelques Missions | des | Pères de la Compagnie de Jésus | dans la | Nouvelle-France, | Par le | R. P. F.-J. Bressany [sic], | de la même Compagnie. | Traduit de l'Italien et augmenté d'un avant-propos, de la Biographie de l'Auteur, | et d'un grand Nombre de Notes et de Gravures, | par le | R. P. F. Martin, | de la même Compagnie. | Montréal: | Des Presses à Vapeur de John Lovell, Rue St. Nicolas. | 1852.

Engraved title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; printed title, with verso blank, 1 leaf; "Avant-propos du Traducteur," pp. 5-11; p. 12, blank; "Biographie du P. François-Joseph Bressany," pp. 13-45; p. 46, blank; "Épitre dédicatoire," p. 47; privilege, p. 48 "Introduction," pp. 49 and 50; text of Bressani, pp. 51-290 "Appendice," pp. 291-336; a separate slip of "Errata." [page 290]

The appendix contains several important documents, among them Father Jogues's "Novum Belgium;" a note on "Wampum;" a list of the Fathers who served in the mission to the Hurons; a "Précis historique sur la Mission Huronne" (9½ pp.); and "Notes sur la Géographie ancienne du Canada" (11 pp.). The book is illustrated with numerous cuts and maps, many of which are in the text. An "Explication des Gravures," on pp. 330-333, will sufficiently locate them for the book-collector,

The French translation is common enough, and may be found, generally, in collections of Canadiana. The market value may be estimated from the following data: Thomas W. Field sale (1875), no. 197, fetched $1.62; O'Callaghan (1882), no. 377, sold for $2.75; Murphy (1884), no. 342, sold for $3. 50; Dufossé, priced (1891) at 10 Fr.; Chadenat, priced (1896) at 12 Fr.

Martin's work was made the basis for a popular account of the early Jesuits in Canada, published at Montréal, in 1877, by Rev. Theodore Fleck, S. J, under the title, Les Jésuites Martyrs du Canada. [page 291]


(Figures in parentheses, following number of note, refer to pages of English text.)