Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Daily Bread: Celebrating Patron Feast Days

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Isaac Jogues. We named our sweet second born Isaac for this saint who had spirit of courageous apostolate. Many boys have remarked that St. Isaac Jogues is "so cool" or "awesome" and there is no wonder why!

St. Issac Jogues came to the New World from France in the 1630s and was the first Catholic priest to set foot on the island of Manhattan. (A fun fact considering that my husband grew up on that island!) St. Isaac then set out to his mission near Lake Superior to bring the message of Christ to the different Indian tribes there. He was captured, tortured and taken to a town near present day Albany on the Mohawk River where he was enslaved. He managed to escape and was sent back to Europe where he arrived on Christmas morning.

He was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privlege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off.

Then St. Isaac Jogues requested to go back to the missions he had left behind in the New World. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. However, a small group of Iroquois stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwardsdecapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk.

So why name our son Isaac? While we know that our boy would most likely never be called to be a blood martyr for his faith- we are well aware of the fortitude necessary to be a martyr as we witness our faith in the simple, everyday moments of life. A conversation shared with a friend, a job well done, daily small sacrifices are all ways to give your life to God and witness your faith.

Last year, Isaac's Godfather, Uncle Colin, helped to organize a trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs. It was a wonderful place to visit, and well worth the trip!Here is an image from the shrine showing St. Isaac carving a cross and the word "Jesus" into a tree. He was known to carve this into trees as he would pass through the forests to help his contemplative prayer- and he would use it also as a teaching tool!

What to eat? Perhaps your family may enjoy succotash. Our family will enjoy our usual feast day cake!

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