The Jesuit Relations History 140 Professor Arguello
Introduction: Native North America and the French Jesuits (1 of 2)• The book is based on reports of French missionaries of the Society of Jesus on their efforts to convert the "pagan savages" to Catholic Christianity.• The reports talk about evangelizing, colonization, devastation of epidemics, outbreak of war, and other events.• The reports describe the customs, habits, and cultures of various native nations.• The Jesuits sought personal Christian perfection.• The Catholic reformation took place in the late 16th century and early 17th century.• It fought against the corruption and lack of activity among the clergy.• Indians who were affected by the Spanish conquest were placed in protective settlements called "reducciones"The Colonization of new France• The French colonized the Americas not through domination and subjection, but through multistanded commercial/diplomatic links between France and different Indian nations of the Canadian hinterland.
• The Canadian Missions• Jesuits from France traveled to New France for missionary efforts.• At first the natives welcomed the Jesuits and they became baptized, but later on they disliked Christianity because they found out it was an exclusive and intolerant religion.• Confronting the Other : The Problem of Cultural and Historical Difference• There is a cultural gap that separates observers from those being observed.• For Catholics during this period, Christianity was not just the best religion, it was the absolute truth.
Chapter 2: Jean de Brebeuf on the Hurons • Brebeaf describes that the Huron language is very different than English and is very difficult to learn. • He describes that the Hurons find their origin in heaven. • The Hurons do not know that God created them. • Brebeuf notes that the Hurons believe that there is a powerful spirit or demon that resides in animate things; like the earth, rocks, lakes, and sky.
• The Hurons consider their dreams to be ordinances and irrevocable decrees, if one does not execute them immediately, it is a crime.• In Hurons civilization, they live in assembled villages, the cultivate the fields, and they live together in peace and friendship.• Hurons do have laws; people that do wrong are punished.• The Hurons have a feast of the dead. The bodies of the dead are taken from their cemeteries and each captain makes a feast for the souls in his village.
Chapter 3: Disease and Medicine• The Jesuits in New France knew nothing about germs, viruses, and immunity.• Jesuits did not like native medicine and they did not like that the medicine or "pagan ceremonies" would sometimes in fact cure illness.• They saw it as not help from God, but supernatural or diabolical help.• The Hurons had medical practices such as dances and games. These would be used as remedies to keep their health and be healthy.
• In 1636, the Hurons suffered from a terrible fever that came from influenza that originated in New England.• The Jesuits were able to baptize some people. Many were baptized only when they were very close to death.• The Jesuits believed that the Devil used smallpox to revive the former complaints against the Jesuits- that their presence in their land was the reason for their misfortunes)sickness).• The Hurons no longer wanted the Jesuits to be near the sick.
Chapter 5: Writings on the National Environment• Alonquian and Iroquoian peoples tell tales about humans, animals, and magical/spiritual qualities as told by Father Paul Le Jeune.• The Jesuits wrote about the wild animals of North America.• The natives believed that the animals can have vices ad virtues.• In 1633, there were many natural disasters that took place in New France.• People were unsure of whether the natural disaster were a positive or negative sign from God.
• In 1663, there was a huge earthquake, people did not know where to take refuge.• God had protected the Jesuits’ settlements and non of them were injured.• In 1664, the first comet was seen at Quebec.• Francois Le Mercier documented the position of the comet over the course of a few days. “Of the Condition of Canada over the Last Two Years” • Monsier Talon wanted to do everything possible to make New France a prosperous country. • Fisheries were set up and they were very successful. • The settlers also searched for mines and minerals. • Hemp was also planted in New France.
Chapter 6: Missions to the Iroquis • One of the greatest goals of the Jesuits was to convert the Iroquois. • After two French invasions which had severe negative effects on the fields and villages the Iroquois came to terms with the French. • There was peace between the French and the Iroquois for a little while , but soon later the peace was gone and war resumed. • A few Jesuits went to the land of the Mohawks in 1667 and established their headquarters in the rebuilt town of Gandaoague. • Fathers Fremin, Pierron, and Bryas wanted to reestablish the missions in the land of the lower Iroquois. • Captives were brought to the towns where the Jesuits stayed ( their headquarters). • Father Fremin baptized some of the children of the captives.
• Father Jean Pierron threatened to have an armed invasion of the natives country if they did not accept the ceremonies and rules of conduct of Christianity.• Pierron said that even if he was able to save one soul, then all of his efforts would have been worth it- "for Christ gave his blood for that soul."• Pierron wanted to try to win over the Indians by being very gentle and kind, and having close relationships with them.• Since the Indians were very fond of him, Pierron created a game for them that was intended to bring them to salvation. • The majority of Mohawk settled across the St. Lawrence from Montreal, as a spot called Sault St. Louis. • In the 17th century, Catholicism was seen as meritorious to inflict pain on ones body as a means of atoning for sins and imitating the lives of the saints and the Passion of Jesus.