The North American Martyrs

Surely we can admire the courage and dedication of the Jesuits who ministered to the Native Americans in upstate New York and Southern Canada during times of political and tribal tumult. Warring Native American tribes, competing French, Dutch and English fur traders and the epidemic of disease brought by the settlers themselves to the naive immunity of the Native Americans all made for harrowing and dangerous evangelization. It eventually cost the missioners their lives, including Isaac Jogues who returned after an escape to France for yet another mission in North America.

During his escape to France from his first captivity, he stayed for a brief time in the Dutch colony of Manhattan and became the first Catholic priest there, for which he is honored on one of the great bronze doors at St. Patrick's cathedral.

The statue shown here depicts his maimed hand from torture, which prohibited him from saying mass until special permission was obtained from the pope.


Saint Luke, Evangelist

St Luke edited from Shutterstock
Today's feastday is Saint Luke, the Evangelist, by tradition a Greek gentile and physician. In addition to his gospel, Acts of the Apostles is also attributed to him and both are written in an educated and polished form of Greek, indicating he took great care in composing and putting his words into writing. 

His gospel is written for those who do not necessarily understand Jewish customs and emphasizes Jesus' concern for the poor and the "left out," showing Jesus very often at prayer. His gospel narrative contains some of the most beloved stories in the New Testament. His symbol is the ox, in this statue portrayed at his feet.

How fortunate for us that St. Luke loved the Lord and not only spread the gospel message, but took time to write it down.