The Shrine of the North American Martyrs, found in the quiet hamlet of Auriesville in the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York, commemorates a tale of Eucharistic triumph. Previously, it was the site of the Mohawk village in which St. Isaac Jogues and his companions—whose feast we celebrate today—were martyred.
St. Isaac particularly wished to bring Jesus in the Eucharist to the fearsome native tribes. His passion was so great that he boldly faced the probability of death in order to bring Christ to the natives.
His blood was not shed in vain. Just ten years after his martyrdom, St. Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the very Mohawk village in which he died. At age nineteen, she approached a missionary priest and asked to be baptized. She was so dedicated to her new faith that she was forced to leave her own people, who couldn’t stand such a contradiction to their way of life.
Her devotion to the Eucharistic was especially profound. She would kneel outside the locked church before Mass, in all weather, just to be close to the Blessed Sacrament. How St. Isaac must have rejoiced, seeing this from Heaven!
These are just a few stories of the incredible American missionaries and religious founders. The Catholic heritage in our country is a vibrant and fascinating one! Ready for more? Authors Alice Camille and Paul Boudreau bring American saint stories to life in Fearless: Stories of the American Saints. In these pages, you’ll learn about the virtues (as well as the down-to-earth humanity!) of holy men and women such as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, St. Junípero Serra, and others. Available today at The Catholic Company!