Saturday, December 24, 2011

It is more than artifacts that come from Huronia.


Fr. Jean de Brébeuf came to Canada in 1625 as a missionary, and was sent to the Huron Indians near Georgian Bay in 1626. He learned their language and preached there until 1629, when Québec was captured by the Kirke brothers from Newfoundland (a little-known event in Canadian history), and he went back to France. He returned to live among the Huron again in 1633 .

It was in 1643 that Jean de Brebeuf wrote the "Huron Carol" with his understanding of the Wendat language. The above youtube link will take you to the Wendat version that is then repeated in French and English. This is the first carol written in Canada and also known as "The Moon of Wintertime"

The Huron Carol was written by him in their language, both as gift and to help in his missionary and teaching efforts.. He wrote the words to the music of a 16th century Carol called "Une Jeune Pucelle" (A Young Maid). Fortunately one of the last Jesuit missionaries to the Huron, Fr. de Villeneuve, wrote the old Huron words to the carol and later translated it into simple French. Fr. Brébeuf's carol was translated to English by Jesse Edgar Middleton, and was included in "The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada" (the ‘Red Book’) in 1971.
On 16 March 1649 Jean de Brébeuf was captured by invading Iroquois and brutally killed. He was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1930.
     Text adapted from Kir Shalom, Huron Carol, Canadian Encyclopedia
Image from Canadian Heritage Gallery

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