About the North American Martyrs Image

The North American Martyrs (also known as the Canadian Martyrs) were French Jesuit missionaries to the Native Americans who were martyred for their faith.

Read the full North American Martyrs novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

What Happened to the North American Martyrs?

The North American Martyrs were six priests and two lay brothers, all Jesuits, who evangelized the Huron, Iroquois, and Mohawk Indian tribes.

Here are the eight saintly men

Saint Rene Goupil (lay brother martyred in 1642 in New York State)
Saint Isaac Jogues (priest)
Saint John de Lalande (lay brother, martyred in 1646 in New York State)
Saint Anthony Daniel (priest, martyred in Canada in 1648)

Saint John de Brebeuf
Saint Noel Chabanel
Saint Charles Garnier
Saint Gabriel Lalemant (all four were priests martyred in Canada in 1649)

These heroic men evangelized Hurons primarily. The Natives called them the Black Robes and respected them more than Protestant missionaries.

While the Hurons received the Jesuits favorably by and large, the Iroquois were hostile due to their distrust of the French.

Father John de Brebeuf was the first Jesuit to arrive, in 1625. He founded the Huron mission and for 24 years evangelized them.

But on March 16th, 1649, Fr John de Brebeuf and Fr Gabriel Lalemant were captured by the Iroquois and tortured.

The Iroquois flayed their skin off and burned them severely in a sadistic mockery of baptism. They were them executed on March 17th.

The Mohawks imprisoned Saint Isaac Jogues for over a year then cut off many fingers of his hand.

He traveled back to Europe, but then courageously returned to New York State where he was martyred by the Natives.

All eight men were canonized June 29 of 1930 by Pope Pius XI.