The Saint Canadian Martyrs

Meet the Saint Canadian Martyrs

Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649)

Jean de Brébeuf was ordained as a priest at the age of 33. He was the first Jesuit missionary to work in the Huron country (1626) and he mastered the Natives’ languages.

He worked throughout the region, established outposts of the mission, converted thousands of Wendats (Hurons) to the faith. He inspired many Jesuits to volunteer for New France’s missions.

He was robust and of great stature, yet had a gentle temperament. He had his visions of the cross and of his future martyrdom during his capture on March 16th, 1649. He was tortured for hours and martyrized at St. Ignatius, 10 km from St. Mary, at the age of 56.

It was said that Brébeuf had the heart of a giant. He was known as the apostle of the Hurons, who called him “Echon”.


Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649)

Gabriel Lalemant entered the Jesuit noviciate at 19 and was ordained as a priest at 27. He was well educated, a College professor and administrator, but of delicate health. He had a strong desire to go to the Mission in the Huron country.

After two years spent in Canada, he left for the Huron country. After seven months there, he was able to speak the native language. He was Brébeuf’s assistant for a month, and joined him in his 17-hour martyrdom. He died on March 17th, 1649, at St. Ignatius, at the age of 38.

He expressed his strength as “My strength is God’s strength. Within Him, I can do everything.”



Antoine Daniel (1601-1648)

Antoine Daniel was ordained as a priest at 29. We was a missionary near Lake Bras-d’Or (1632), founded the first college for boys in North America (in Quebec City, 1635) and worked in the Huron country for twelve years.

In 1648, he went for his annual retreat in St. Mary and returned to his mission, 19 km away. On July 4th, he was finishing holding Mass when the mission came under attack. He faced the enemy in liturgical clothes, encouraged the converted to live their faith to the end, giving time to the others to escape.

His martyrized body was thrown in the church on fire. He died at Mount St. Louis at 48.


René Goupil (1608-1642)

René Goupil had to leave the Jesuit noviciate because of his ill health. He studied medicine and offered his services to the Canadian mission. On his way to St. Mary, he was captured and tortured with Isaac Jogues (1642).

One month later, René Goupil was martyrized while he was making the sign of the cross on a child. Isaac Jogues made his vows in the Society of Jesus just before his death, in Auriesville, NY, at 35.

Charles Garnier (1606-1649)

Charles Garnier was a Jesuit missionary in the Huron country at age 31. For thirteen years, he was a pastor and missionary to the Hurons and Petuns.

He was a gentle man of faith, innocent, without fear. He drew people to the faith. When the mission of Etharita was attacked and he was injured, he nevertheless continued to baptize neophytes and help a wounded Huron. He died doing this at 44, around 48 km from St. Mary.


Noël Chabanel (1613-1649)

Noël Chabanel became a Jesuit priest at 28. He was a renowned professor and humanist in France. He had an ardent desire to join the missions in New France. Once there, however, he was unable to learn the native languages and felt useless.

He vowed to remain in the missions, in view of the apparent failure to come, always in the shadows of martyrdom. His own martyrdom came secretly by the hands of an apostate on December 8th, 1649, on the coast of the river Nottawasaga, 40 km from St. Mary


Isaac Jogues (1607-1646)

Issac Jogues arrived in the Huron country in 1636. He worked in two of the mission’s outposts for three years. He helped build St. Mary (1639) and explored the West and reached Sault-Sainte-Marie.

Captured by the Iroquois when he was returning from Quebec City to St. Mary (1642), he was tortured, lost his fingers, and was enslaved. He escaped and went back to France, but returned to Canada that same year to work again as emissary and missionary to the Iroquois.

He was martyrized at Auriesville, NY, at 39.


Jean de Lalande (d. 1646)

Jean de Lalande offered his services as layman to the Jesuits in New France at 19. He was accompanying Isaac Jogues to the mission Mohawk (1646). He was captured with him and witnessed his torture. The next day (October 19th, 1646), he was also tortured at Auriesville, NY.


Chapel of the Jesuits


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“My strength is God’s strengh. In Him, I can do all.”

(Gabriel Lalemant)



The Amerindians gave some nicknames to the French. Onontio, “great mountain”, first designated Montmagny, then the other governors; Achiendassé, “black robe”, was initially attributed to the Jesuit Jean de Brébeuf, then all the Jesuit missionaries; François de Laval was nicknamed Hariaouagui, “the man of the great deed”.