May 6th – A Special Day for Father Bressani and Bishop Laval

Father Francesco Giuseppe Bressani was born May 6, 1612 in Rome.  He became an Italian Jesuit missionary.  At the age of fourteen he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. Becoming zealous to serve as missionary among the American Indians, he went to Quebec in the summer of 1642, and the following year he was sent among the Algonquins at Three Rivers. In April, 1644, while on his way to the Huron country, where a mission had been established, he was captured by the Iroquois, who at that time were an exceedingly fierce and even cannibal nation, perpetually at war with nearly the whole known continent. By them he was subjected to tortures, but finally was made over to an old squaw to take the place of a deceased relative. From her he was ransomed by the Dutch at Fort Orange (the modern Albany), and by them he was sent to France, where he arrived in November, 1644. Despite his terrible experiences among the savages, and his maimed condition, the indomitable missionary returned to Canada the next spring, and labored with the Hurons until their mission was destroyed by the Iroquois four years later. In November 1650, Bressani, in broken health, went back to his native land. He spent many years as a preacher and home missionary. He died in Florence September 9th, 1672. The following account of Father Bressani‘s sufferings among the Indians is translated from two of his own letters in his book Breve Relatione d’alcune Missioni nella Nuova Francia, published at Macerata in 1653.
Today is the feast day of Saint Francois de Laval.  He was the first Canadian bishop of Quebec and is the Patron Saint of Bishops of Canada.  He was born April 30, 1623 and today was the day he died in 1708.  As a community, let us keep in mind that today is also Father Bressani’s birthday.  He was born in 1612 and died September 9, 1672.  He first came to New France in 1642.  Laval was the Bishop of New France in 1658.  Even though it is not mentioned, I am sure Bishop Laval knew Father Bressani, considering they were here almost around the same time.  We ask for both their intercession today, on the death of Laval and the birth of Bressani.
The Surviving Martyr Prayer

Jesus, You chose the Italian Jesuit, Father Francesco Giuseppe Bressani as a missionary to evangelize the New World.

May we evangelize the world too, especially in our own school and community. We ask Father Bressani to help us have a deeper understanding of Jesus, so that we can make this school a centre of light and a place of sharing.

We pray that even when we are challenged like Father Bressani, we ask for his intercession to have the strength to go through our suffering and accept it as God’s grace, offering it up for the conversion of the world.

We pray for our community to be generous, to serve and to give so that we know we are doing Your will. Help us to unite in prayer, so that we may learn and educate all others.

We offer up our Father Bressani prayers to the loving and admirable Mother as we pray together with the intercession of all saints and martyrs, known and unknown.


Written by: Monica Di Nardo (Father Bressani Chaplaincy Lead from 2011-present)

Written during Holy and Easter Week 2017