The Brave Lives and Holy Deaths of the Eight North American Martyrs" arrived on our doorstep yesterday afternoon. Amid laundry and teaching and carpooling and trying to keep up with my new fitness plan, I've been sneaking in snatches of it. I am grateful to blogging brother John Janaro for recommending it. I hope to write a full review once I finish this book.
So, why is a woman who drives around suburbia carting her kids and planning tomorrow's lessons for her high school students delving into the lives of the eight 17th century French men martyred as they ministered to native people in what is now Ontario?
Well, our 12-year-old is searching for a Confirmation name and told me he wants something French. He likes French, he takes French and he is hoping to visit Quebec City with me this summer. And he thinks it would be cool to have a French name in the middle of the four Anglo and Italian names he already has.
I googled and discovered the North American Martyrs. I didn't grow up reading about saints and I never even had heard of these guys. But once my son and I read about Saint Antoine Daniel, one of the martyred Jesuits, we were hooked. The man, facing an Iroquois attack on his mission in Huron country, gave his people general absolution, baptized the catechumens and, carrying a cross, walked calmly forward to certain death. I get goosebumps just writing this.
I am fortunate, blessed really, to be living a very ordinary life as a wife, mother and teacher. But I am finding inspiration from those remarkable souls who risked it all for their faith.