The story of the early Jesuit missionaries who arrived in North America between 1632 and 1637 is a remarkable by all accounts. For twenty long years, they toiled alone and unaided in the vast, wild regions of eastern Canada, bearing the hardships of a harsh climate, scarcity of food and inadequate lodging, as well as the constant menace of those inhabitants they had come to evangelize.
Nevertheless, they worked and prayed unceasingly and bore all these hardships for the love of Christ and the salvation of souls, being filled with joy at the opportunity to suffer and bear fruit for our Lord.
Excerpt from the Foreword
“In the pages that follow Father François Roustang has given us excerpts from the writings of four of these men and to these he has added four more selections written by their companion missionaries, who were spared the grace of red martyrdom. In doing so he has broadened the seven-year timeframe into which the martyrs are generally placed, and he has expanded the field of what is certainly one of the most heroic chapters in religious history. (These writings) serve to give the experiences of each man the animation and life of a modern novel. Roustang has also done us a great favor in giving, by way of an introduction, a snapshot of his eight subjects, allowing us to study each man’s background, his sanctity, idiosyncrasies, defects and talents and the circumstances of his narrative. The result is that we can learn much, not only about eight Jesuits of heroic virtue and about the times in which they lived, but also about human nature itself.”
—Cornelius Michael Buckley, S.J.