Monday, October 11, 2010

Canadian Martyrs (17th century)

  Three nights on Block Island gave me insight into why so many people make it their year-round home, or, after a decade, decide to call it quits.
  They are drawn to its magic. They connect to the landscape. It's a place to find your inner self, make art, create, or explore. Then, the people that have had enough of the solitude or wild times or whatever it is that happens on a small island between January and December, pack up and leave.
   My grandmother was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, a place where my French ancestors settled in the late 1500s. And I believe that the mystique of island life was a part of me at birth.
   I don't have to go to an island to find myself, write, feel productive, or connect with nature. It's something that's already within me, although I do enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn with an ocean view outside my window and walking the beaches for hours upon when I stay on any island.
  The Canadian Martyrs are the patron saints of Canada. They were all born in France: St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Noel Chabanel, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Charles Garnier, St. Rene Goupil, St.  Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Lalande, and St. Gabriel Lalemont.
  The Canadian Martyrs died in the mid-17th century in Canada and upstate New York during the wars when the Iroquois attacked the Huron. The Iroquois were convinced the Jesuit priests were like the devil or evil spirits because their arrival coincided with the small pox epidemics.
  They were canonized in 1930 and their feast day is Sept. 26.

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