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The Cause of Father Sebastian RÔle, Martyr 23 August 1724
http://www.holycross.edu/departments/history/vlapomar/jesuits.htm ^ | 23 August 1999 | Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S. J.

Posted on 08/22/2007 9:03:07 PM PDT by topher

PREFACE by poster TOPHER of Freerepublic:

Father Sebastian Râle, SJ, was viciously martyred on this date in 1724 (August 23). He was terribly disfigured in this martyrdom that Abenaki (native Americans that he was a missionary to) could not recognize him. This was not done by Mohawks or other Indians, but rather by a combination of New Englanders and Indians. The hate the people of New England had for this Holy Priest has stood in the way of his beatification and canonization.

He wrote a dictionary of the Abenaki language, which is a prize treasure at Harvard -- but Harvard does not give credit to this Jesuit that he is the author.

Introduction

A native of Pontarlier, France, Sebastian Râle was baptized on 28 January 1652 and joined the Society of Jesus on 24 September 1675. He came to America on 13 October 1689 and, after spending some time with the native Americans in Illinois (1692-95) and at Becancour (1705-11) in Canada, he lived most of his life among the Abenakis for whom he has the distinction of having established the first school ever in what is now the State of Maine.

His was a period when England and France were engaged in a struggle for the control of North America. In that struggle, which was a religious as well as a political conflict, Father Râle incurred the wrath of the English who placed a price on his head because he kept the native Americans loyal to the French, centered at Quebec, as they maintained a defensive perimeter of forts on the rivers between New England and New France.

Determined to stand by his flock, the native Americans of the Kennebec River Valley, and to defend their rights while caring for their pastoral needs and nuturing their religious beliefs and practices, Râle was cut down at his mission in Norridgewock, Maine, on 23 August 1724, as he defended his Abenaki flock with his life. This caused the Protestants throughout the region to rejoice at the death of this most famous Jesuit in colonial New England. In the wake of his death there was a Father Râle's War for two years in which the native Americans lost their lands with the triumph of the English. That his memory has been esteemed by many people in every generation since his saintly martyrdom is an indication of his stature in history.

...

...

Cause of Father Sebastian Râle, SJ

Therefore, given the cumulative testimony presented here, the historical evidence shows that Rev. Sebastian Râle, S. J., in the words of leading church historians (Lord, et alii, vol. 1, p. 115, n. 69) was "a man of exalted piety and sanctity," and that there has existed a genuine and widespread "fama sanctitatis" regarding this Jesuit from the time of his saintly death down to the present.

That interest in his beatification and canonization has perdured in the diocese of his martyrdom only confirms the strength of his cause within the Catholic community itself just as the recognition of his stature by writers outside of it (there was an article by Dwayne Rioux, "Father Sebastian Râle," in the Central Maine Morning Sentinel, for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 1991, and another by Sharon Mack, "Madison Marks Martyrdom of Father Rale," in the Bangor Daily News, August 21, 1992) continues to make readers within the State of Maine conscious of their rich heritage.

While conditions required for advancing the cause of anyone are quite stringent, they are quite flexible with respect to a martyr, as evident from the study (chapter 4) by Kenneth L. Woodward, Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why (1990), a point that was not foreign to the causes of the 108 victims of the Nazis who were beatified in Warsaw by Pope John Paul II on Sunday, June 13, 1999.

In this connection, it may be helpful to recall the response of the Superior of St. Sulpice in Montreal, Canada, when Father de La Chasse asked for the customary prayers for the martyred Jesuit missionary. Recalling St. Augustine, he declared "Injuriam facit martyri qui orat pro eo."And, Zenit News Agency, asserted this principle when, in a dateline from Vatican City, on 28 June 1999, it declared: "For recognized martyrs, no proof of a miracle wrought by their intercession is necessary before beatification." If that is true, then the beatification of this Jesuit is long overdue.

Prayer for the Beatification of Sebastian Râle, SJ

Eternal Father, grant that Sebastian Râle,
martyr of the faith among the Abenakis of Maine,
will be raised to the altar of the blessed.
Through his intercession,
we pray that your divine favor
will be manifest among us
so that we may return praise to your eternal glory.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son
Who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit
One God world without end. Amen.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: blackrobe; martyr

1 posted on 08/22/2007 9:03:13 PM PDT by topher
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To: topher
His life is documented in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Catholic Encyclopedia: Sebastian Râle (Rasle)

Also, there is the entry from the Canadian Dictionary Online:

RALE (Râle, Rasle, Rasles), SÉBASTIEN

Finally, there is also this from Virtual American Biographies:

Sebastien Rasle

As one can tell by these three biographies of his life, he has a number of spellings of his last name.

2 posted on 08/22/2007 9:12:44 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher

Note that the article is an excerpt... Use the link to read the original article...


3 posted on 08/22/2007 9:13:42 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher
The death of Father Rale

In 1722, Father Rale barely manage to escape a raid by the New Englanders on the village he was in. His church was plundered and burned to the ground.

His escape must have been difficult -- he was an old man and he had two broken legs that did not mend very well. He had a great deal of trouble to walk like a normal person.

The second raid of August 23, 1724, Father Rale, realizing that if the New Englanders killed him, they might stop the attack on the Abenakis, and his sacrifice might thus spare the lives of his flock.

With this in mind, he went to a cross at the center of the village (which is what the painting depicts). He was then surrounded by 7 braves -- determined to protect their shepherd from the English.

Father Rale is an important figure in American history. At the time of the American Revolution, the Abenakis of Maine would not join the Americans unless they promised to send them a blackrobe after the war.

They missed Father Sebastian Rale. To this end, the Indians took the cross that Father Rale was wearing at the time of his death to General Washington so that the Colonists would fulfill their promise.

They even ventured from Maine to see Bishop Carroll in Baltimore to see if he could provide them with a blackrobe.

The first two bishops of Boston made pilgrimages to see the spot where Father Rale was martyred. The first was Bishop Cheverus. It is Bishop Cheverus High School where the painting from this article if found.

The second bishop of Boston, Fenwick, made a pilgrimage to the spot of the martyrdom of Father Rale on August 23, 1833.

At that time, Bishop Fenwick purchased ground for a memorial and later a memorial of granite was built on the location of the death of Father Rale.

4 posted on 08/22/2007 9:22:38 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher

There is one correct spelling in modern times. The French dropped the silent s from their language long ago, replacing it with an accent (”^”). Now, in the age of computers, the accent is hard to print, and is often omitted. So, Rasle is no more correct than “George Wafhington,” and Rale is no more correct than “a fiancee” or “a resume.”


5 posted on 08/23/2007 7:41:24 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
There are some many different spelling of his name in writings. I have seen the spelling of his name change in the same document several times...

If only the spelling of his last name was the only controversy surrounding him.

Harvard's Antropological Museum has it spelled "Kale", with a "K".

6 posted on 08/23/2007 8:58:51 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher

>> Harvard’s Antropological Museum has it spelled “Kale”, with a “K”. <<

Typo? Or did someone mis-read it?


7 posted on 08/23/2007 10:43:07 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
From the email I received from them, someone took the name from inside his dictionary.

The dictionary of this priest is one of the earliest dictionaries of Native Americans in North America (which is why it is such a prize.

The dictionary was stolen from Father Rale in the raid of 1722 and has remained in the possessions of New Englanders since and was at some point donated to Harvard.

The handwriting was so old that the "R" may have faded such that it was thought to be a "K".

The dictionary was translated to English and printed by Harvard circa 1833 -- over a hundred years after the death of Father Rale, but still over 170 years ago...

I was doing some searches on the net to find out more about this last night when I found that one site had his arrival date in America as October 18, 1689, not October 13, 1689.

The reason that mistake stands out is that October 13 is the date of the Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima in 1917 as well as the date that Pope Leo XIII fell into a trance about the pending 100 war on the church on the devil. Pope Leo XIII was inspired to write the prayer to St. Michael after this event.

But to return to the original point, some of these documents are almost 300 years old -- the dictionary is probably close to that age as it was started probably about 1690-1700...

8 posted on 08/23/2007 10:59:38 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher
His was a period when England and France were engaged in a struggle for the control of North America.

Father Râle incurred the wrath of the English who placed a price on his head because he kept the native Americans loyal to the French

The village was miles from "New France" per the treaty signed at the conclusion of Queen Anne's War.

From the New Advent article: During Queen Anne's War, frequent attacks were made by the English upon Norridgewock, and in 1705 the church was burned. Râle and his converts escaped capture by flight.

Rotten old English colonists just picking on the peace loving Catholic Indian folk...

Abenakis had participated in the Deerfield Massacre in 1704... Of the colonists killed, twenty-two were men, nine were women, and twenty-five were children.

One hundred and nine residents, including the women and children who had survived the attack, were taken captive and forced on a months-long, three-hundred-mile trek to Quebec in harsh winter conditions; twenty-one of them died along the way.

9 posted on 08/23/2007 11:24:04 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: topher

The “Indian Mass” in Penobscot (Abenaki):

http://mysite.verizon.net/driadzbubl/IndianMasses/PenobscotUse.html


10 posted on 08/23/2007 11:46:04 AM PDT by Claud
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To: GoLightly
There is a lot of controversy about Father Rale because he was a facilitator of allowing the French Army to communicate with the Abenaki -- even if his intentions were peace loving.

There are things that are documented in his letter to his nephew and another letter to his brother about how he encouraged the Indians to take hostages.

Clearly, the Abenakis did not understand the treaty or even the concept of ownership of land.

They felt they had a right to stay on their own land.

The response by the English was the following:

100 Pounds for every Abenaki male SCALP over the age of twelve.
105 Pounds for every Abenaki male over the age of twelve taken captive.
20 Pounds for every Abenaki woman scalp.
20 Pounds for every Abenaki child scalp.

I believe it was these BARBARIC SETTLERS OF MASSACHUSETTS who first started the practice of taking SCALPS of INDIANS. But I could be wrong. They probably were the first to trade money for SCALPS.

The settlers of Plymouth then Massachusetts were also responsible for the Salem witch burnings...

Father Rale did try to get the Abenakis to not kill the English. And he pleaded with the Indians not to go to war.

There were repeated incidents of the English giving firewater to the Indians which made them crazy.

All of my research pointed that the French were here to be missionaries to the Indians. They also did fur trapping and fishing.

The English had other plans (which is probably good for us).

But there was no reason that a raid let by the English would result in the terrible mutilation of Catholic priest.

The North American Martyrs in New York did not have done to them what was done to Father Rale. However, Father Rale probably died much quicker.

There is a tremendous amount of reading that can be dug up on this subject.

There was great hatred of the English of Father Rale.

Father Rale was clearly trespassing on English territory, but he did that to be a shepherd among his flock.

From the ranks of these Indians later came Chief Orono -- the only Indian to be became an officer in the American Revolution.

The Indians (Abenakis) embraced the Catholic Faith to such an extent that they requested a JESUIT BLACKROBE for their participation with American Colonists in the American Revolution. They made it quite clear that that they did not want an ENGLISH clergyman who was not Catholic.

As for the hardships and brutalities that happened on the British settlers, the same thing happened to the Indians and continued to happen to them until the 1870's such as in the old West...

11 posted on 08/23/2007 11:47:04 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher
If there had been balance in your post, I wouldn't have said a word!

Clearly, the Abenakis did not understand the treaty or even the concept of ownership of land.

Yet they allied themselves with the French & the French tactic was to harass English settlers, to keep them from becoming too settled!

The population of the Abenakis had been greatly reduced because of a variety of European illnesses, which they lacked natural defenses against. Settlement of French citizens in New France was low, while populations of English colonies further south were growing.

The settlers of Plymouth then Massachusetts were also responsible for the Salem witch burnings...

There weren't any witch burnings in the colonies. (One of my ancestors was among those hanged.) The Plymouth Colony was small & was absorbed into the larger, Massachusetts Bay Colony around the time of the witch hysteria. Much of the hysteria was created by some epidemics & it is believed that French & Indian attacks were also a contributing factor.

Father Rale did try to get the Abenakis to not kill the English. And he pleaded with the Indians not to go to war.

Meanwhile, the French forces he helped keep them allied to encouraged them to go to war.

There were repeated incidents of the English giving firewater to the Indians which made them crazy.

Most English colonies had laws against selling firewater to the Indians, but there were individuals who clearly broke those laws.

All of my research pointed that the French were here to be missionaries to the Indians. They also did fur trapping and fishing.

Yes, some of the French were missionaries, but others were soldiers. When George Washington spoke about avoiding foreign entanglements, I'm sure he was talking about the colonies getting dragged into every single was one wars on the European continent during the colonial period.

The fur market was flooded & prices of fur were dropping like a rock. Europeans had been fishing Canadian waters long before their governments "discovered" the territory. Some place names in Canada reflect places on the Channel Islands.

The English had other plans (which is probably good for us).

There were also English fishermen, trappers & Protestant missionaries.

The North American Martyrs in New York did not have done to them what was done to Father Rale. However, Father Rale probably died much quicker.

There was a whole lotta bloodshed on all sides & it wasn't just in New York. Hannah Emerson Duston's six day old baby probably died pretty quickly, getting it's head smashed against a tree. (I believe that was done by a different tribe, but the common thread was kidnappings by Indians allied with the French.

I believe it was the French who began the practice of putting prices on scalps. As I said, the French population was low, so they tried to gain territory by harassing English settlers to keep them from expanding out.

There was great hatred of the English of Father Rale.

If he'd gotten the Indian population on the side of the English, instead of trying to maintain their relationship with the French, I'm sure much of that English hatred for him would have been reduced.

As for the hardships and brutalities that happened on the British settlers, the same thing happened to the Indians and continued to happen to them until the 1870's such as in the old West...

True, but again, there was a lot of bloodshed on both sides. I live in Blackhawk war territory.

12 posted on 08/23/2007 1:04:04 PM PDT by GoLightly
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To: GoLightly
I only take issue with one point, and it is the following:

GoLightly posted:

There was a whole lotta bloodshed on all sides & it wasn't just in New York. Hannah Emerson Duston's six day old baby probably died pretty quickly, getting it's head smashed against a tree. (I believe that was done by a different tribe, but the common thread was kidnappings by Indians allied with the French.

Father Rale tried unsuccessfully a number of times to stop the Abenakis from killing, but he always kept trying.

There is a story that Father Rale tells in one of his letters that 6000 Abenaki braves went to New York to meet with the Governor. This was before one of the wars between the British and French.

Father Rale tried to convince the chiefs of the Abenakis at this meeting to not go to war with the British. The chiefs went off to a council after meeting with the Governor of New York and then listening to Father Rale's plea for the Indians to stay out of it.

At this time, the Governor make a hostile look in the direction of Father Rale. The Indians, seeing this, immediately surrounded Father Rale with about 21 braves.

The Chiefs came back and explained to the Governor of New York why they were going to war on the British and ally themselves with the French.

It did not help that Father Rale tried to get the Indians to stay out of the war... But he tried...

His presence in Maine was so that he could be a missionary to his people...

13 posted on 08/23/2007 9:49:18 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher

Sebastien Rale came to America as a Jesuit missionary in 1689. He learned to speak Abenaki and other Algonquian languages. He encouraged the Norridgewocks to hold their land in trust for their children. In 1721 the Norridgewock chief Toxus died, and his successor Ouikouiroumenit advocated peace and sent four hostages to Boston. Rale wrote to Governor Vaudreuil, who sent the priest de la Chasse with Canadian Abenakis to reinforce Norridgewock. Vaudreuil ignored the treaties made by the tribe as unauthorized. In August the two priests went to the English settlement at Georgetown with two hundred Indians and demanded that the hostages be freed. Massachusetts governor Shute sent back one hostage, strengthened the garrison, and in a letter he asked Rale and other priests to withdraw from British territory. He accused Rale of urging the Abenakis to raid the English settlers, and in January 1722 Col. Westbrook captured Rale’s papers that proved the case.

http://san.beck.org/11-6-NewFrance1663-1744.html


14 posted on 08/24/2007 9:44:26 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: GoLightly
There should be some sort of record of the letter from Rale to Governor Vaudreuil.

I will see if I can find it.

There are the records of letters of Father Rale to his nephew (about 1721-1723) and to his brother (1723).

There is the letter of Father de la Chasse on the death of Father Rale.

Father Rale was an advocate for peace for the Abenaki with the British.

One of the more interesting stories about Rale is the Mass in 1833 celebrating the 109th anniversary of the death of Father Rale. After the Mass, a grandson of one of the party who killed Rale told about how an Indian woman came to his grandfather's rescue.

The Indian woman had just buried her husband and came across one of the attackers -- this man's grandfather.

This Indian woman chose to help a man who could have just killed her husband. She was afraid the other Indians would kill him if they found him, so she hid in a cave and took care of him.

The man's grandfather was wounded.

Obviously, this Indian woman is an example of one of these savages of Father Rale [ /sarcasm off].

15 posted on 08/24/2007 2:58:37 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher
There should be some sort of record of the letter from Rale to Governor Vaudreuil.

Yes, there should.

I will see if I can find it.

I'd contact Sanderson Beck (the author of the site I posted), even though he's a hard-line left winger suffering from BDS.

There are the records of letters of Father Rale to his nephew (about 1721-1723) and to his brother (1723).

I wonder what was in the papers captured by Westbrook in 1722.

There is the letter of Father de la Chasse on the death of Father Rale.

Did it go into his death at length or was the death just being reported?

Father Rale was an advocate for peace for the Abenaki with the British.

You could be correct & probably are. Still, a phrase about trying to serve two masters keeps coming to my mind.

One of the more interesting stories about Rale is the Mass in 1833 celebrating the 109th anniversary of the death of Father Rale. After the Mass, a grandson of one of the party who killed Rale told about how an Indian woman came to his grandfather's rescue.

The Indian woman had just buried her husband and came across one of the attackers -- this man's grandfather.

This Indian woman chose to help a man who could have just killed her husband. She was afraid the other Indians would kill him if they found him, so she hid in a cave and took care of him.

The man's grandfather was wounded.

Have a name?

Obviously, this Indian woman is an example of one of these savages of Father Rale [ /sarcasm off].

Dehumanizing opponents in times of war is a long standing tradition. That territory was mostly in a state of war for centuries, with occasional bouts of peace breaking out. It's not like there was total peace until the white man showed up to initiate all of the troubles either. Native Americans fought over territories, just like white men did, though modern history revisionists work hard to claim otherwise.

16 posted on 08/25/2007 9:41:18 AM PDT by GoLightly
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To: GoLightly
Have a name [of the grandfather]?

This might be somewhere in the collection of papers of Bishop Benedict Fenwick. I found this story in a book published a few years later.

Obviously, the Freemasons would not want such a story and the facts known. Roman Catholics have been the subject of bigotry for about 200 years in Boston and Massachusetts.

The need to win the Catholic vote has changed that somewhat, but the favorite target of Boston newspapers is the Roman Catholic Church.

The more important thing to know was the name of the person who told this story after the Mass on August 23, 1833. That person was probably not a Catholic and was probably a protestant resident of Norridewock (spelling?)

17 posted on 08/26/2007 7:09:33 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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