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Charles Garnier

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Jesuit Missionary, born at Paris, 1606, of Jean G. and Anne de Garault; died 7 December, 1649. He studied classics, philosophy, and theology at the Jesuit college of Clermont, joining the order in 1624. He begged to be sent to the Canadian mission, and sailed in 1636 on the same fleet as Governor Montmagny. He was sent forthwith to the Huron country, where he was to spend the fourteen years of his heroic apostolate without once returning to Quebec. In six months he mastered the difficult language, and began a career of unceasing charity which was to be crowned by martyrdom. His zeal for the conversion of infidels brooked no hindrance nor delay. Neither distance nor weather, nor danger of death could prevent him from hastening to the stake to baptize and exhort captives of war. Filth, vermin, fetid and loathsome disease could not deter him from tending and redeeming dying sinners. His frail frame miraculously resisted the intense strain. His angelic patience amidst endless trials won him the title of "lamb" of the mission, whereof Brébeuf was styled the "lion". Several times -- first in 1637, then in 1639 with Jogues, and later with Pijart -- he strove to convert the Tobacco nation. His constancy finally overcame their obstinacy. They asked for the black robes (1646), and Garnier went to dwell with them until death. After the martyrdom of Fathers Daniel (1648), Brébeuf, and Lalemant (March 1649), he calmly awaited his turn. After decimating the Hurons, the Iroquois attacked the Tobacco nation. During the massacre of St. John's village, Garnier went about exhorting his neophytes to be faithful. Mortally wounded he dragged himself towards a dying Indian to absolve him, and received the final blow in the very act of charity (1649) on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, a dogma he had vowed to defend. His letters to his brother, a carmelite, reveal his sanctity. Ragueneau testifies to his heroic spirit of sacrifice. Parkman compares his life to that of St. Peter Claver among the blacks and styles it a voluntary martyrdom.

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