Note: Jean de Brebeuf (1593-1649) was a Jesuit missionary who established several missions in Huronia to evangelize the Native nations. Unfortunately, the Europeans also brought over new diseases that decimated the Natives people. In the 17th century, the Native population fell from about 30 000 to 12 000 people. The monks were quickly identified as the source of these numerous epidemics. The excerpt below describes the torture of Father Brébeuf.

“Father de Brébeuf had his legs, thighs, and arms stripped of flesh to the very bone; I saw and touched a large number of great blisters, which he had on several places on his body, from the boiling water which these barbarians had poured over him in mockery of Holy Baptism. I saw and touched the wound from a belt of bark, full of pitch and resin, which roasted his whole body. I saw and touched the marks of burns from the Collar of hatchets placed on his shoulders and stomach. I saw and touched his two lips, which they had cut off because he constantly spoke of God while they made him suffer.

I saw and touched all parts of his body, which had received more than two hundred blows from a stick. I saw and touched the top of his scalped head; I saw and touched the opening which these barbarians had made to tear out his heart.

In fine, I saw and touched all the wounds of his body, as the savages had told and declared to us. . . .”


Christophe Regnault, cited in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. René LATOURELLE