Saint John de Brébeuf, SJ
and Companions
North American Martyrs



Brebeuf on cinderella Brebeuf on cinderella
Cinderellas from La Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal, Canada, 1943
showing the face and martyrdom of of St. Jean in red (SSJB 4303) and turquoise (SSJB 4304)

Brebeuf on Canada Scott 741 Brebeuf on Canada Scott 742 Brebeuf on Canada Scott 743
CANADA, 1977, Christmas, Scott 741-43

John de Brébeuf was one of eight Jesuit North American martyrs cruelly killed between 1642 and 1649 at the hands of the Mohawk. He died 16 March 1649 at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, near Midland, Ontario. Brébeuf wrote a catechism in Huron and a French-Huron dictionary for use by other missionaries, and he composed in Huron Canada's first Christmas carol, Jesous Ahatonhia or The Huron Carol. Ronald G. White, an illustrator of children's books has used Native American motifs in the stamps above to illustrate the carol: (10¢) three braves see an angel in the northern lights, (12¢) they follow the star to the lodge where the infant is to be found, and (25¢) they worship at the crib. Brébeuf is also known for naming a Native American game lacrosse, as it is called today, because the stick used in the game reminded him of a bishop's crozier. He was canonized in 1930, and his feast is celebrated on October 19.

North American Martyrs

Martyrs' crosses on Vatican Scott C81
VATICAN CITY, 1986, Journeys of Pope John Paul II, Scott C81

In 1984 Pope John Paul II visited Canada. Scott tells us that the crosses to his left in the stamp above are the "five crosses of the Jesuit martyrs." The Canadian or North American Martyrs were Jesuit Fathers Jean de Brébeuf, Antoine Daniel, Gabriel Lalemant, Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel — the five who died on what is now Canadian soil in the region of Midland, Ontario — together with Jesuit Father Isaac Jogues and two lay volunteer workers, Rene Goupil and Jean de La Lande, who died in what is today the United States, in the region of Auriesville, New York. Rene Goupil, however, once a surgeon, had entered a Jesuit novitiate in 1639 in Paris, but had to withdraw because he had become deaf.