Catholicism's Militant Pioneers to North America: The Seventeenth Century Jesuits of New France


  • Mark P. Schock Wichita State University


Catholicism, Society of Jesus, Jesuits of New France, Catholic missionaries, Colonial United States, Ignatius Loyola


It is a romantic image endemic to the American psyche. Men possessed of an almost superhuman will to fulfill their mission. Superbly trained and motivated, physically and mentally prepared to overcome any obstacle and pay any price, including the "ultimate price" to accomplish the seemingly impossible. For a good many Americans that image is clothed in military uniform or pioneer buckskin. Outmanned and outgunned, they fight to the bitter end. But perhaps the members of the first such organization in Euro-American history were not soldiers or embattled Indian fighters at all. Yet, given the military background and early pretensions of their founder it is not surprising that they approached their mission in a military fashion. Not warriors, in fact unarmed, these men were Roman Catholic priests, members of the elite Society of Jesus, the Jesuits of New France.