Sunday, May 9, 2010

St. Charles Garnier, S.J., "May Death Find You With God In Mind"

The enemy Iroquois, as they approached the village, seized upon a man and woman who had just come out of it. They learned from these two captives the condition of the place, and ascertained that it was destitute of the better part of its people. Losing no time, they quickened their pace that they might lay waste everything, opportunity so greatly favoring them. It was on the seventh day of the month of last December, in the year 1649, toward three o'clock in the afternoon, that this band of Iroquois appeared at the gates of the village, spreading immediate dismay, and striking terror into all those poor people,—bereft of their strength, and finding themselves vanquished, when they thought to be themselves the conquerors. Some took to flight ; others were slain on the spot. To many, the flames, which were already consuming some of their cabins, It was a scene of incredible cruelty. The enemy snatched from a Mother her infants, that they might be thrown into the fire ; 
other children beheld their Mothers beaten to death at their feet, or groaning in the flames,
permission, in either case, being denied them to show the least compassion. It was a crime to shed a teár, these barbarians demanding that their prisoners should go into captivity as if they were marching to their triumph. 
A poor Christian Mother, who wept for the death of her infant, was killed on the spot, because she still loved, and could not stifle soon enough her Natural feelings.
Father Charles Garnier (St. Charles Garnier, S.J.) was, at that time, the only one of our Fathers in that Mission. When the enemy appeared, he was just then occupied with instructing the people in the cabins which he was visiting. At the noise of the alarm, he went out, going straight to the Church, where he found some Christians.  
" We are dead men, my brothers," he said to them. "Pray to God, and flee by whatever way you may be able to escape. Bear about with you your faith through what of life remains ; and may death find you with God in mind." 
He gave them his blessing, then left hurriedly, to go to the help of souls. A prey to despair, not one dreamed of defense. Several found a favorable exit for their flight; they implored the Father to flee with them, but the bonds of Charity restrained him.
Link (here) to the mentioned portion of the Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents from 1650

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