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St. Isaac the Eight-Fingered
Posted By Eric Sammons On October 19, 2009 @ 7:26 am In Saints | Comments Disabled
I’ve always thought that the Orthodox have the coolest saint names. St. Simeon is not simply “St. Simeon,” he is “Righteous Simeon the God-receiver”. Maximus is “St. Maximus the Confessor”, and St. Theophan is “St. Theophan the Recluse”. With these names you immediately get a sense of the mission God called them to. Sorry to say, but you don’t get that with names like “St. John Fisher” or “St. Maximilian Kolbe”. I am sure that if St. Isaac Jogues , whose memorial we celebrate today, was an Eastern saint, he would have a name like “St. Isaac the Eight-Fingered”.
Why such a name? Because before his eventual martyrdom at the hands of the Mohawks, he was brutally tortured by them for 13 months. During this time two of his fingers were either eaten or burned off. As a priest, this was a serious problem, as only the thumb and forefinger were allowed to touch the precious Host, so he was canonically not allowed to say Mass any longer. However, Pope Urban VIII gave him special (and quite rare) permission to celebrate Mass due to his status as a “living martyr”. What is most amazing is that after his incredible torture he returned to the Mohawk mission where he was eventually clubbed to death and beheaded.
Tertullian famously said that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”. If this is true (and I believe it is), then St. Isaac Jogues is one of the few seeds of the North American Church, and we should beg his intercession for our country. One of the most obvious flowers of this Church is Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born at the approximately the same place that Jogues was martyred only ten years later.
I am very excited as next summer I plan to take a pilgrimage with my family to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs  which is located at St. Isaac’s martyrdom site. It is holy ground and a source of many spiritual blessings.
St. Isaac Jogues (the Eight-Fingered), pray for us!
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URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/10/19/st-isaac-the-eight-fingered/
URLs in this post:
 St. Isaac Jogues: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08420b.htm
 Shrine of the North American Martyrs: http://www.martyrshrine.org/
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