by Milton Lomask

This book was about one of the North American martyrs Saint Isaac Jogues. He was a Jesuit that journeyed from France to Quebec in hopes of bringing Christ to the natives of North America. The Hurons agreed to let him live amongst them, so he traveled the arduous journey to their village by canoe and foot when the waters were impassable to canoes (called portages).

We were then immersed in Huron village living with Father Isaac as he attempted to minister to them, teach them and help them. The priests had to sometimes employ out-of-the-box thinking in their dealings with their Huron hosts. There was a particularly humorous episode involving “Captain Clock”.

All went well until the villagers were struck with a sickness and the medicine man said it was on account of the “Blackrobes”, putting the lives of the missionary priests in danger. Despite the threat to their lives, the priests stayed and managed to survive until the villagers’ rage calmed down and once again welcomed the Blackrobes back into Huron homes.

While on a trip with a band of Hurons, the group was ambushed and kidnapped by some Iroquois, the enemy of the Hurons. Saint Isaac lived as a slave with the Mohawks (a subgroup of the Iroquois) and endured many tortures. He managed a daring escape and found his way back to France where he received medical attention and rest. Once he felt better, he headed right back to North America to try and convert his captors and was martyred.

It was an excellent book. It moved along well and kept me and my 4th grader entertained (we were reading it for his history). We learned a lot about the wilderness, the various North American tribes and the relations between the Europeans and the natives at the time in addition to the life of a great saint.

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