Reviews - What do customers think about Saint Among Savages: The Life of Saint Isaac Jogues?
Let's Judge People Only By The Times in Which They Lived Jan 29, 2008
This book is one of the best I have ever read. I have read it perhaps six or seven times since discovering it in a library in 1970. We should not wonder that Europeans, in the forbidding land of North America in the 17th century, should have thought of Indians(not called Native Americans til much later) as savages. We must, we have no other choice, we must judge people by the times in which they lived. Not by 2008 standards, low as they are. Otherwise we will find ourselves involved in absurdities such as wondering why the Vikings did not advocate sensitiviy training. This book is about a courageous young priest whose only interest in North America was to bring these Hurons and Iroquois to God. He was misunderstood by the Iroquois and died because of it. But the book is absolutely fascinating and brings to complete life the times in which Jogues lived. Reading this, you can get into the canoe with the young Jesuit and travel with him and others on long journeys. It is a vivid rendering of what it was like to live in absolute wilderness and ministering to people who did not want you anywhere near them. What a story and what an inspiration. Any time I think I have it bad, I think of Isaac Jogues and what he endured.
Those Jesuits! Sep 30, 2007
This account,written some 70 years ago by Jesuit Francis Talbot, brings out the best and most heroic aspects of Jesuit missionary work. Drawing mostly on careful records and reports left by the missionaries, it is an illustration of the courage of these well-educated men who left the comfort of the Old World to spread the Gospel to the Americam people. The Jesuits were careful to respect the culture they found in the New World. Even before active evangelization, that was task number one. They learnt the language and studied the customs. Some of these customs dismayed the European missionaries, but they did not disturb these customs except when they were plainly self-destructive (cannabalism, wholesale promiscuity). They were not into mass baptisms for the sake of getting "numbers". If anything, they erred on the opposite side, making a careful and thorough examination of any individual before he would be admitted to Baptism. Exceptions were made for those dying. Even after making allowances for the possibility that the author is acting as a cheerleader for the Jesuit mission enterprise, I could not but admire the bravery, the good sense, and the piety of these Frenchmen. especially the central figure, St. Isaac Jogues. Although it is a point not stressed (or even mentioned) in the book, I was struck by the contrast between the French approach in encountering the native population, and the English approach. For the most part, the former treated the natives as real men and women with immortal souls. For the most part, the latter did not. The bitter fruit of the English approach is seen in the reservation sysyem. Give me the French traders and Jesuit missionaries any day!
An extraordinary life May 27, 2003
This is a thoroughly researched and enthralling biography of what would have to be one of the most extraordinary lives of all time - the life of a highly educated Jesuit of the 17th century golden age of France, sent as a missionary to the native tribes in the jungles of America. St Isaac Jogues' heroism, holiness, perseverance and indomitable courage, in the midst of the Native Americans, shine out in a well-told story.
Saint Among Savages Oct 15, 2002
This is a reprint of a book first published in 1935. While it has historical information about Isaac Jogues, it comes packaged in the author's cultural baggage of another era. It is full of derogatory references to the native peoples as "savages," and lacks an appreciation of inculturation. Since Vatican II the Church has forged new directions in missiology and an awareness of culture in evangelization. Speaking to a group of native Americans, the pope himself has stated that "The early encounter between your traditional cultures and the European way of life...was a harsh and painful reality for your peoples. The cultural oppression, the injustices, the disruption of your life and of your traditional societies must be acknowledged..." (Speech in Phoenix, AZ, Sept. 14, 1987) This book presents quite a different picture. The heroism of the martyrs can only be admired. But it is ironic that they themselves practiced a form of inculturation far ahead of their time, and so they would presumably be in the vanguard of the Church's missionary outreach today. Publishing this book now can only do them a disservice, as it does to the native peoples whom they loved enough to give their lives for.