Today is the feast of the Jesuit martyrs of North America. These heroic missionaries came to the New World from France and gave their lives witnessing to Jesus Christ.
I've visited their shrines both at Auriesville and Midland, Ontario. A few miles from the Midland shrine is the site where Saints John de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lallemant were martyred. They suffered terrible tortures. Now the spot is one of the most peaceful, haunting places I've ever visited. A simple marble altar stands in a grassy clearing, surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The silence is punctuated only by the wind whistling through the trees.
The courage of these martyrs was incredible. After severe torture and more than a year of being held captive, St Isaac Jogues escaped and found his back to France. But all he wanted to do was go back and bring the Gospel to the Indians. He did, and that eventually led to his martyrdom.
If you ever go to Auriesville, don't miss the ravine, where Jogues looked for the body of St Rene Goupil.