Gabriel Lalemant

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Saint Gabriel Lalemant
SOJ Saint Gabriel-Lallemant.jpg
Jesuit, Missionary and Martyr of Canada
Born October 3, 1610
Paris, France
Died May 17, 1649(1649-05-17) (aged 38)
Saint Ignace (Waubashene near Tay, Ontario)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized June 29, 1930 by Pope Pius XI
Major shrine Shrine of the Jesuit Martyrs, Midland, Ontario, Canada
Feast September 26 (Canada); October 19 (U.S.)

Saint Gabriel Lalemant (October 3, 1610, Paris, France – March 17, 1649, Saint Ignace, Ontario) was a Jesuit missionary in New France beginning in 1646. Caught up in warfare between the Huron and nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, he was killed in St. Ignace by Mohawk warriors and is one of the eight Canadian Martyrs.


Gabriel Lalemant was born in Paris, October 31, 1610, the son of a French jurist and his wife.[1] He was the third of six children, five of whom entered religious life. Two of Gabriel's uncles served the Jesuits in New France: Charles Lalemant as the first Superior of the Jesuit missions in Canada, and Jérôme Lalemant as the Vicar-General of Quebec.

In 1630 Lalemant joined the Jesuits, and in 1632 he took the vow to devote himself to foreign missions. He taught at the Collège in Moulins from 1632 to 1635. He was at Bourges from 1635 to 1639 studying theology[1] and was ordained there in 1638. He taught at three different schools, being professor of philosophy at Moulins. In September 1646 he arrived in Quebec, where his uncle Jérôme Lalemant was head of the Canadian mission.[2]

Little is known about Lalemant's stay in Quebec. Father Bressani, a fellow missionary in New France, referred to him as a man of extremely frail constitution. For the first two years Gabriel worked in and around Quebec and the trading center of Trois Rivières (Three Rivers). In September 1648 he was sent to Wendake, the land of the Wyandot (Huron), as an assistant to Father Jean de Brébeuf,[3] and posted to the mission at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. In February 1649 he replaced Noël Chabanel at the mission of Saint Louis.

In March 1649, while most of the Huron warriors were away, 1,200 Iroquois attacked the settlement of Saint Ignace. A few survivors escaped to warn the village of St. Louis. Its eighty warriors fought to delay the attackers, trying to enable the elderly, women, and children to flee. Lalemant and Brébeuf remained with the warriors and were captured and taken to the nearby mission at Saint Ignace. There both were tortured before being killed on March 17, 1649.

After the withdrawal of the Iroquois war party from the area on March 19, seven Frenchmen went to St. Ignace to retrieve the bodies of the Jesuits and Huron. They returned them to Sainte-Marie where they were buried.[2]

Lalemant was canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930. [1]

His surname may be spelled either Lallemant or Lalemant by different references.



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