Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where are These Villages?

The following is an account of the events of March 16th 1649 that make these site of historic significance and sacred ground to the Catholic Church;

"A veritable Account of the Martyrdom and Blessed death of Father Jean de Brebeuf and of Father Gabriel L'Alemant, in New France, in the country of the Hurons, by the Iroquois, enemies of the Faith.
Father Jean de Brebeuf and Father Gabriel L'Alemant had set out from our cabin, to go to a small Village, called St. Ignace, distant from our cabin about a short quarter of a League, to instruct the Savages and the new Christians of that Village.
It was on the 16th Day of March, in the morning, that we perceived a great fire at the place to which these two good Fathers had gone. This fire made us very uneasy; we did not know whether it were enemies, or if the fire had caught in some of the huts of the village. The Reverend Father Paul Ragueneau, our Superior, immediately resolved to send some one to learn what might be the cause. But no sooner had we formed the design of going there to see, than we perceived several savages on the road, coming straight toward us. We all thought it was the Iroquois who were coming to attack us; but, having considered them more closely, we perceived that they were Hurons who were fleeing from the fight, and who had escaped from the combat. These poor savages caused great pity in us. They were all covered with wounds. One had his head fractured; another his arm broken; another had an [page 25] arrow in his eye; another had his hand cut off by a blow from a hatchet. In fine, the day was passed in receiving into our cabins all these poor wounded people, and in looking with compassion toward the fire, and the place where were those two good Fathers. We saw the fire and the barbarians, but we could not see anything of the two Fathers."

This account is recorded in Vol 34 of the Jesuit Relation and is made by the shoemaker Christophe Regnault. This record to my reading says that Ste. Ignace was not far from Ste. Marie as they could see the fire and the barbarians. I do not think that this would be at all possible if these villages were where they are reported to be.
This not the only account however and I will post Father Paul Ragueneau's later. I am not sure if Ragueneau's is an eye witness account or a compilation of second hand accounts. Regnault's was eye witness but not written until 1678 and he does not even mention Ste. Louis, the closer of the two villages where according to others Brebeuf and Lalemant were first captured. Historians seem to have totally ignored this account of the shoemaker (who later became a lay brother I believe) in deciding the locatio n of either of these villages. Why?

1 comment:

Steve said...

Ragueneau would have been at Ste. Marie at the time of the attack and his Relation would have been the closest account in time of the event. I think his account is more accurate than Regnault. And even Regnault admits he is "not a doctor of the Sorbonne" although his account should not be totally disregarded. He gathered the bodies of the Martyrs, prepared them for burial by doing a post- mortem, as well as prepared the bones for transport to Quebec. He may have not expanded the details on the village location since he may have felt that information had been dealt with by Ragueneau.