Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A confederation of Algonquin tribes, comprising the Penobscots, Passamaquoddies, Norridgewocks, and others, formerly occupying what is now Maine, and southern New Brunswick. Their territory joined that of the Micmacs on the northeast, and that of the Penobscots on the southwest. Their speech is a dialect of the Micmac language of the North American Indians. They took sides with the French and maintained an increasing hostility against encroachments of the English. When their principal town, Norridgewock, was taken, and their missionary, Rasle, was killed (1724), the greater part of them removed to St. Francis, in the province of Quebec, Canada, whither other refugees from the New England tribes had preceded them. They are now represented by the Amalectites on the St. John River, New Brunswick, and Quebec (820); the Passamaquoddies, on the bay of that name, in Maine (300); the Penobscots, at Old Town, Maine (400), and the Abnakis at St. Francis and Becancourt, Quebec (430). There are a dozen variations of the name Abenakis, such as Abenaquiois, Abakivis, Quabenakionek, Wabenakies, etc. They are described in the "Jesuit Relations" as not cannibals, and as docile, ingenious, temperate in the use of liquor, and not profane. Their language has been preserved in the monumental dictionary of Sebastian Rasle . After the unsuccessful attempt of de la Saussaye, in 1613, to plant a colony as Mount Desert -- where the Jesuit Fathers Biard, Masse, and Quentin proposed to evangelize the Indians -- the Capuchins and the Recollects, aided by secular priests from the seminary of Quebec, undertook the work, but met with indifferent success. The Jesuit Druillettes was sent to them in 1646, but remained only a short time. Subsequently, other missionaries like Bigot, Thury, and de la Chasse laboured among them, but three years after the murder of Father Rasle, that is to say in 1727, when Fathers Syvesme and Lauverjat withdrew, there was no resident pastor in Maine, though the Indians were visited by priests from time to time. They remained unalterably attached to the Faith, and during the Revolution, when Washington sent to ask them to join with the colonies against England, they assented on condition that a Catholic priest should be sent to them. Some of the chaplains of the French fleet communicated with them, promising to comply with their request, but beyond that nothing was done. At the present time there are Indian missions for the remnants of the tribe at Calais, Eastport, and Old Town.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter