Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19 begins with Evaluate Your Life Day

Almost all the Usual Suspects are in accord. Today is Evaluate Your Life Day. Exactly how you should evaluate it, by what criteria, or what you should do with the insights you gain by means of this evaluation are not specified at all.

Usual Suspect American Greetings, however, suggests that today is Dress Like a Dork Day -- different, presumably, than the celebration earlier this week of Wear Something Gaudy Day -- although the same outfit may do for both occasions, don't you think?

Image obtained from Wikipedia
Today is also the Feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, and the other North American Martyrs. These Jesuits had done years of missionary work among the Huron Indians. But the Hurons were often at war with the Iroquois. In 1642, Jogues was captured by a party of Mohawk Iroquois and tortured. His hands were mutilated by his captors, but they kept him alive as a slave. In 1645, according to Wikipedia, Jogues was freed by sympathetic Dutch merchants and taken back to Manhattan. From there he returned to Europe, seeking -- and obtaining -- special permission from the Pope to celebrate Mass with his mangled hands.

After peace was supposedly worked out between the Hurons and Iroquois, Jogues went back to North America. In 1646, Jogues was sent as an ambassador to the Mohawks -- but when "when the double-calamity of sickness and crop failure hit the Mohawks," Jogues was blamed. On October 18, 1646, Jogues and another Jesuit priest, St. Saint Jean de Lalande, "were tomahawked in the neck (beheaded-not clubbed as some tell the story)."

Not all the North American Martyrs died in the same place or at the same time. St. Jean de Brébeuf was killed in 1649 when he was captured by the Iroquois along with a fellow Jesuit, St. Gabriel Lalemant. Their captors fastened them to stakes and tortured them to death "by scalping, mock-baptism using boiling water, fire, necklaces of red hot hatchets and mutilation. According to Catholic tradition, Brébeuf did not make a single outcry while he was being tortured and he astounded the Iroquois, who later cut out his heart and ate it in hopes of gaining his courage."

1 comment:

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