Father Jacques Marqette, May 18

May 18, 2010

Father Marquette preachingFather Jacques Marquette

Laon, France, June 1o, 1637 – May 18, 1675, Ludington, MI

Father Jacques Marquette SJ, sometimes known as Pere Marquette, was a French missionary who founded Michigan’s first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first non-Native Americans to see and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.

Jacques Marquette was born in Laon, France, on June 1, 1637 and joined the Society of Jesus at age seventeen. After working and teaching in France for several years, he was dispatched to Quebec in 1666 to preach to the Native Americans, where he showed great proficiency in the local languages, especially Huron. In 1668 Father Marquette (French: Père Marquette) was redeployed by his superiors to missions farther up the St. Lawrence River in the western Great Lakes. He worked at Sault Ste. Marie and at the Mission of the Holy Spirit in La Pointe, on Lake Superior, near the present-day city of Ashland, Wisconsin. Here, he came into contact with members of the Illinois tribes, who told him of the existence of the Mississippi River and invited him to come teach further south. Because of wars between the Hurons at La Pointe and the neighboring Dakota people, however, Father Marquette had to relocate to the Straits of Mackinac; he informed his superiors about the rumored river and requested permission to explore it.

Leave was granted, and in 1673, Marquette was joined by Louis Joliet, a French Canadian explorer. They departed from St. Ignace on May 17, with two canoes and five other voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry. They followed Lake Michigan to the Bay of Green Bay and up the Fox River. From there, they portaged to the Wisconsin River, which they were told led to the river they sought. On June 17, they entered the Mississippi near Prairie du Chien.

The Joliet-Marquette expedition traveled to within 435 miles (700 km) of the Gulf of Mexico but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point they had encountered several natives carrying European trinkets, and they feared an encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain.[2] They followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which they learned from local natives was a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. They returned to Lake Michigan near the location of modern-day Chicago. Marquette stopped at the mission of St. Francis Xavier in Green Bay in September, while Joliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries.

Marquette and his party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago. In the spring of 1675, the missionary again paddled westward and celebrated a public Mass at the Grand Village of the Illinois near Starved Rock. A bout of dysentery picked up during the Mississippi expedition, however, had sapped his health. On the return trip to St. Ignace, he died near the modern town of Ludington, Michigan.

The Michigan Historical Marker at this location reads:

Father Marquette Memorial Father Jacques Marquette, the great Jesuit missionary and explorer, died and was buried by two French companions somewhere along the Lake Michigan shore on May 18, 1675. He had been returning to his mission at St. Ignace which he had left in 1673 to go exploring in the Mississippi country. The exact location of his death has long been a subject of controversy. A spot close to the southeast slope of this hill, near the ancient outlet of the Pere Marquette River, corresponds with the death site as located by early French accounts and maps and a constant tradition of the past. Marquette’s remains were reburied at St. Ignace in 1677. ”

His grave is now located at what is currently the Ojibway Museum on State Street in downtown St. Ignace. Father Marquette is memorialized in several towns and rivers that bear his name (such as Marquette, Michigan), as well as the Father Marquette National Memorial near St. Ignace. Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, Illinois, is located at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and is the site where Indians of the Illini Confederation showed Marquette a faster return route to the Great Lakes.


Saint Honoratus, December 22

December 22, 2009

Saint Honoratus, Bishop of Toulouse
December 22

We know little about this character and the scant information we have is uncertain. He ranked second in the list of Bishops of Toulouse, including Saint Saturninus, Martyr to the 250 and Rhodes, who died in 358, but his name comes from the legend of St. Firmino martyr, “the story of the most fabulous,” according to Duchesne. According to this document, Honoratus, bishop of Toulouse, was educated and ordained bishop Firmino, son of Senator Spanish Firmus, himself converted by Saint Saturnino.

His body was found in 1265 in the basilica of St-Sernin and was the object of worship in the 15th centiry; his name was added to December 22 in the calendar of a Breviary copied in 1404.

Author: Henri Platelle

Source: Santi e Beati

Blessed Dominic Spadafora, December 21

December 22, 2009

Blessed Dominic Spadafora, Friar and Priest

Randazzo, Sicily, ca. 1450-December 21, 1521

Dominic Spadafora received the habit at the priory of St Zita at Palermo and became a zealous preacher of the Word in Sicily and throughout Italy. He had a special devotion to the passion of our Lord and by his charity and humility converted many to the Lord, even attracting some to the Order. He founded thepriory of Our Lady of Grace in Monte Cerignone, Sicily, where he remained as superior until his death on December 21, 1521.

The order commemorates his death on October 3, the date of the translation of his remains in 1677.

Source: Order of Preachers

Saints Abraham and Coren, December 20

December 20, 2009

Saints Abraham and Coren Confessors
December 20

Abraham and Coren were disciples of the holy bishops Joseph, Isaac, and Leander, Armenian priests who were married and had the cure of souls. When in 450 the king of Persia, the Armenians Iezdegerd II sent a decree ordering the mazdeismo to accept as religion, the clergy and principles of Armenians gathered at the synod of Artashat, responded strongly that they preferred death rather than renounce their Christian faith. At this synod was attended by Abraham and Coren. The following year (451) the king sent his army to impose by force what had been unable to achieve with the threats, but the Armenian people under the leadership of her principles fought bravely, and the clergy to support and encourage the soldiers in tough fight. The war marked a defeat for the Armenians, many of whom gained the palm of martyrdom, while others were taken prisoner. Among the latter were also Abraham and Coren, who together with their teachers Joseph, Isaac, and Leander, were thrown into prison for three years in the city of Nisapur, north-east of Persia.

The bishops were put to death since they were held responsible for the rebellion against the king, while their disciples Abraham and Coren, asked to renounce their faith in favor of the worship of the sun was proposed to be set free. They refused, and so the judge ordered them Tamsapur dragged on the ground and then cut off their ears, then sent them to forced labor in Mesopotamia in the lands of the king. Here they lavished help and console the survivors of the Armenian prisoners of war 451. After seven years of hard work, in 461, Coren died after a sunstroke confessing his faith, while Abraham continued for two years to endure life in exile, until he was released in 463 and was able to return home. Here, however, because the people honored him as a confessor, he retired to devote himself to life in solitude cenobitic. After three years, however, the fame of his angelic life attracted even more attention to the people, which forced him to accept the consecration of bishops. He was, in fact, Bishop of Bznunik for some years and died with a reputation for holiness. The feast of the two holy confessors is celebrated on 20 December.

Author: Paolo Ananian

Source: Santi e Beati

Blessed 6 Mercedarian Fathers, December 19

December 19, 2009

Blessed 6 Mercedarian Fathers
December 19

The Blessed Mercedarians: Peter of Benevento, Giovanni de Verdera, Bartholomew of Podium, William de Pruner, Peter de Gualba and William de Gallinaris, distinguished for the sanctity of life. Distinguished by the observance of monastic rules, by constant prayer and the practice of every virtue rushed to go to heaven and enjoy eternal delight.

The Order celebrates them on December 19.

Source: Santi e Beati

St. John de Matha, December 17

December 17, 2009

St. John de Matha

Faucon (Provence), France ca. 1154-Rome, 1213

Tradition holds that John de Matha was born in Faucon (Provence), France around the year 1154. He completed his graduate studies with honors at the University of Paris where he later taught theology. Ordained to the priesthood he experienced a heavenly vision while celebrating his first Mass. He quickly realized that he had been destined by the Lord to redeem Christian captives.

To attain this objective, he founded the Order of the Most Holy Trinity at Cerfroid, France about 1193. He wrote the Order’s Rule, which was approved by Pope Innocent III in 1198. Professing the Rule with great zeal, he was very active in redeeming Christian captives and performing works of mercy. All his life he sought the glory of the Triune God, whose mystery of love and redemption he set as the foundation and purpose of the Order. He died in Rome in the house of St. Thomas In Formis on the Caelian Hill on December 17, 1213.

Source: Trinitarian Order

Blessed Honoratus (Wenceslas) Kazminski, December 16

December 16, 2009

Blessed Honoratus (Wenceslas) Kazminski, Capuchin
Biala (Poland), October 16, 1829 –Nowe Miasto, December 16, 1916

Honoratus, born Wencesalo Kozminski, was born in Biala Podlaska October 16, 1829. He received his early education at home and completed his primary studies in Plock, then went to Warsaw to study architecture. In 1846 he suffered a religious crisis, after which he entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Warsaw, and was ordained a priest on December 27, 1852. He dedicated himself to an intense pastoral care and founded over 26 religious institutes, 18 of which exist today. He was a prolific writer, spiritual director and sought out confessor. He died in Nowe Miasto December 16, 1916. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1988. Read the rest of this entry »