20130408 Faith kindled in North America 信德在北美燃點

The pioneers of faith labored zealously in North Americans during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and some of them shed their blood for the one true faith.
Junipero Serra
Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was a Franciscan priest. In 1749 he and Father Francisco Palou were appointed missionaries to America.
Father Serra reached Mexico City on Jan. 1, 1750. He served the native people with great zeal and devotion. He travelled a great deal, established nine California missions, and founded farms, rancherias, and schools.
Like St. Paul, Father Serra suffered many hardships during his missionary endeavors: hunger, stormy seas, a near shipwreck, threats, and violent attacks from enemies, but he always lived out his personal motto: “Always forward.”
It was estimated that Father Serra baptized more than 6,000 natives and confirmed more than 5,000. He also travelled about 4,300 miles on foot or by pack animal.
In mid-August 1784, Father Serra asked Father Palou to help him in dying. Father Palou rushed to Serra’s side, and for 10 days the two men prayed together. On Aug. 28 Father Junipero Serra died surrounded by his spiritual children—-the native people.
Jesuit Martyrs
Sts. Isaac Jogues and companions were North American martyrs. They are the secondary patrons of Canada (St. Joseph is the principle patron).
The eight Jesuit martyrs suffered between the year 1642 and 1649. St. Isaac Jogues and St. Rene Goupil were martyred by the Iroquois near Auriesville, New York. Sts. Jean de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalement, Anthony Daniel, Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel suffered in Huron Territory near Georgian Bay.
The life of the missionaries was very hard, and the work of evangelization was not easy. St. Gabriel Lalement wrote, “We have sometimes wondered whether we could hope for the conversion of this country without the shedding of blood.” Sts. John Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues prayed for the grace of martyrdom.
There was enmity between the native tribes—the Hurons and the Iroquois. The Iroquois attacked the Hurons and killed the missionaries with great cruelty. St. Rene Goupil was the first to suffer martyrdom.
St. Isaac Jogues was captured by the Iroquois and his hands were mutilated. After his escape a Calvinist knelt at his feet and kissed the mangled hands exclaiming, “Martyr of Jesus Christ!” Pope Urban VIII granted Isaac Jogues special permission to celebrate Mass with mutilated fingers. The Pope said, “It would be unjust that a martyr for Christ should not drink the blood of Christ”.
St. Isaac Jogues eventually suffered martyrdom at Ossernenon in 1646. Ten years later this place became the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
The other martyrs suffered in 1648 and 1649. They strived to serve the spiritual needs of the Hurons right to the end. A short time after their death, many native tribes (even their executioners) were converted.
Lily of the Mohawks
Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) lost her parents and brother in a smallpox epidemic. Her face was permanently disfigured and her eyes left so pained by strong light that she would always shade her with a blanket.
Kateri was raised by an uncle. She resisted several marriages proposals and lived a chaste life. She was baptized by a Jesuit missionary on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676.
Being the only Christian in her lodge, Kateri was persecuted by her own people for her faith. Eventually she fled to a Christian mission near Montreal.
A favorite question of Kateri was, “Who can tell me what is most pleasing to God that I may do it?” Kateri spent long hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament and practiced extreme mortifications.
With a strong love for Christ, her last words were, “Jesus, I love you.”

傳教先驅在十七、十八世紀登陸北美洲,以驚人的克苦耐勞精神傳揚真理,有些傳教士以大無畏的精神,捨生殉道。

朱尼佩洛.席拉

真福朱尼佩洛.席拉神父(1713-1784)是方濟會會士。1749年,他和方濟.博盧神父一起被派到北美洲傳教。

1750年一月一日,朱尼佩洛.席拉神父越洋抵達墨西哥城,隨即投入向原住民傳教的工作。他攀山涉嶺,足遍廣原,設立了九個加利福尼亞傳教區,築建農場和牧場,又修建學校。

像聖保祿宗徒一樣,席拉神父的傳教歷程,絕不容易。他捱饑抵餓,乘船逆上風暴,幾乎沉沒;生命受到威脅,曾被敵對的人襲擊,但他從未畏縮,只堅持他的格言:「常常前進!」

按照估計,朱尼佩洛.席拉神父徒步乘畜,跑過四千餘英里,替逾六千原住民付洗,施放堅振給五千人。

1784年八月中旬,方濟.博盧神父被急召到病重的席拉神父身旁,與他一起祈禱十天。八月二十八日,眾多皈化的原住民,圍著朱尼佩洛.席拉神父的病榻,目送他呼出人生最後的一口氣。

耶穌會殉道者

聖宜善(依撒格.饒格)神父及同伴,皆在北美洲殉教,被尊為加拿大主保(首席主保是聖若瑟)。

1642年至1649年間,八位耶穌會傳教士在北美地區致命。聖宜善和聖洛能.古比死在魯克族人手中;聖若望.貝巴、聖佳播.雷利蒙、聖安多尼.達諾、聖嘉祿.加尼亞及聖諾奧.沙貝納,則在喬治亞灣附近的胡隆族人地域蒙難。

傳教士生活十分艱辛,福傳絕非易事。聖雷利蒙寫道:「要使這裡的人皈化,看來非要流血致命不可!」聖貝巴與聖宜善同時祈求致命的聖寵。

胡隆族和魯克族是世仇宿敵,互相攻擊。在一次魯克族擊殺胡隆族的戰鬥中,聖古比神父首先殉道。

聖宜善被魯克族人俘虜,他的頭髮、鬍鬚和指甲連根拔去,食指斬斷。後來被荷蘭人救出。一名異教徒看到宜善神父的遭遇,跪在地上,親吻神父殘缺不全的雙手,喊著說:「耶穌基督的殉教者!」教宗伍朋八世特准宜善神父用殘缺的手主持彌撒。教宗認為「為基督流血的烈士,要是不能領受基督的聖血,簡直太不公平了!」

聖宜善不懼危險,稍後重返傳教區,終在1646年死在依魯克族人利斧之下。聖宜善致命之處 —— 奧息能隴 —— 是後來北美洲第一位土著聖人聖嘉德利出生地。

其他傳教士並未因同伴被殘害而退卻,仍以一貫的傳教熱忱,留守胡隆族服務。他們都在1648年至1649年內,為傳教使命全部捨生。但始之不久,很多當地原住民、包括曾仇殺傳教士的人,都全部皈依聖教。

莫霍克族的百合花

因天花疫症,使聖嘉德利.特嘉穎雅(1656-1680)自小喪失雙親和兄長,她自己亦因此面龐永久變形,雙目不能接觸強光。

嘉德利由叔父撫養成人。她守貞潔,亦推卻幾宗提親。1676年四月十八日、復活主日,嘉德利從耶穌會傳教士手中領受聖洗。

嘉德利因皈依聖教一直遭族人指罵和迫害,遂隻身逃到滿地可附近一處傳教處。

嘉德利為人樂道的一句話:「有誰可告訴我,最鍾悅天主的是什麼,好使我實踐?」

聖女喜長時間與耶穌聖體交談,又常做嚴竣的克苦,特別熱愛耶穌。她臨終的一句話:「耶穌,我愛祢。」

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