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The History of Father Jewels

Father Jewels is the name given to a 17th century French missionary known as Father IsaacJogues. Jogues was born in Orleans, France in 1607. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1636 and only months later sailed to the New World as a missionary arriving in the village of Quebec in 1636. He served as a missionary to the Huron and Algonquian allies of the French. In August of 1642 while traveling by canoe in route to the country of Herons, he and his party were captured by the Mohawk Iroquois. Jogues and his party were taken back to the Iroquois village Ossernenon on the Mohawk River (north of present day Albany) where they were tortured. It was during this torture that some of Jogues' fingers were amputated or became severely deformed. He was rescued by Dutch traders, brought to the Island of Manhattan (being the first priest to visit what wold become New York City) and from there sailed back to France where he was received with great praise and joy. As a living martyr Jogues was given special dispensation to perform mass by the Pope (under church law, only the thumb and forefinger could be used in the blessed sacrament). His missionary zeal was undiminished and he sailed back to Canada to continue his work among the native Indians. In 1645, after a tentative truce was established between the Iroquois and the Hurons, Algonquins and French, he headed south back to the Mohawk country. On his was south he reached present day Lake George (which he christened Lac du Sainte-Sacrement) where he left gifts to the Iroqois and was favorably received. He returned to Canada shortly thereafter and was given permission to establish a permanent mission among the Mohawk nation. However, during his absence among the Iroquois, a plague of insects devestated the Indian harvest. This along with an epidemic among the natives, made Jogues and his band of returning missionaries easy scapegoats for the Indian's troubles. Jogues was murdered in 1646 having been decapitated with his head mounted upon a post facing north toward Canada to ward off future French travelers. Jogues was canonized as a saint by the Catholic church in 1930. His peaceful presence looks out over present day Battlefield Park in Lake George as a permanent monument having been built in his honor.

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