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Patron Saint - St. Charles Garnier
St. Charles Garnier St. Charles Garnier

St. Charles Garnier

Charles Garnier, born in Paris on May 25, 1606, was a French Jesuit missionary, who was martyred at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, near present day Midland, Ontario, Canada, on December 7, 1649.

The son of a secretary to King Henri III of France, Garnier joined the Jesuit seminary in Clermont in 1624 and was ordained in 1635. His father initially forbade him from travelling to Canada (which was then called New France) but Charles was eventually allowed to go and arrived in present day Quebec in 1636. Charles travelled immediately to the Huron-Wendat mission, along with fellow Jesuit, Pierre Chastellain.

One of the first things Father Garnier did, upon his arrival at the mission, was to learn the language of the First Nations people of the area. Father Garnier respected the language and culture of these people and sought to understand the common humanity between the Europeans and the First Nations people.

Father Garnier spent the rest of his life as a missionary among the Hurons, never returning to Quebec. The Hurons nicknamed him "Ouracha", or "rain-giver", after his arrival was followed by a drought-ending rainfall. Father Garnier was greatly influenced by fellow missionary, Jean de Brébeuf, and was known as the "lamb" to Brebeuf's "lion".

When Brébeuf was killed in March 1649, Father Garnier knew he too might soon die. On December 7, 1649, he was indeed killed by the Iroquois during a raid on the Huron village where he was living. Father Garnier spent the last moments of his life ministering to the injured and dying Huron-Wendat people in the village.

Father Charles Garnier, now known as St. Charles, was canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI, along with the other Canadian Martyrs, and his feast day is October 19th.