Charles Garnier (missionary)

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Saint Charles Garnier
North American Martyrs.jpg
North American Martyrs
Born May 25, 1606
Paris, France
Died December 7, 1649(1649-12-07) (aged 43)
Tobacco Nation country near Collingwood, Canada
Venerated in Catholic Church
Canonized 1930 by Pope Pius XI
Major shrine Shrine of the Canadian Martyrs, Shrine of the North American Martyrs
Feast October 19

Saint Charles Garnier, S.J., baptised in Paris on May 25, 1606, was a Jesuit missionary working in New France. He was killed by Iroquois in a Petun (Tobacco Nation) village on December 7, 1649.[1] [2]


The son of a secretary to King Henri III of France, Garnier joined the Jesuit seminary in Clermont in 1624 as a youth. After completing years of studies in language, culture and theology, he was ordained as a priest in 1635. His father initially forbade him from travelling to Canada where he would face almost certain death as a missionary, but he was eventually allowed to go. He reached the colony of New France in 1636. He travelled immediately to the Huron mission with fellow Jesuit Pierre Chastellain.

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

There were raids between Iroquois and Huron forces. When he learned that Brébeuf and Lalelante were killed in March 1649 by Iroquois after a raid on a Huron village, Garnier knew he too might soon die. On December 7, 1649 he was killed by the Iroquois during an attack on the Petun village where he was living.

Charles Garnier was canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI with the other seven Canadian Martyrs (also known as the North American Martyrs. His feast day is October 19.


  1. ^ Charlotte Gray, The Museum Called Canada: 25 Rooms of Wonder, Random House, 2004
  2. ^ Florian Larivière s.j. La Vie ardente de Saint Charles Garnier, Montréal: Bellarmin, 1957

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