HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Saint Isaac Jogues: With Burning Heart
Authors: Christine Virginia Orfeo and Mary Elizabeth Tebo
Illustrator: Barbara Kiwak
Publisher: Pauline Books and Media, 2002
Related website(s): http://www.pauline.org (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 12
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Orfeo, Christine Virginia, and Tebo, Mary Ellizabeth. Saint Isaac Jogues: With Burning Heart (Published in 2002 by Pauline Books and Media, an arm of the Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Pauls Ave., Boston, MA 02130). Isaac Jogues (1607 –1646) was a French missionary who traveled and worked among the Iroquois, Huron, and other Native populations in North America. Jogues was born to Laurent and Françoise (de Sainte-Mesmin) Jogues on January 10, 1607, in Orléans, France, where he was the fifth of nine children of a bourgeois family. He was educated at home until the age of ten, at which point he began attending Jesuit schools. In 1624, at the age of seventeen, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Rouen in Northern France. Jesuit missionaries inspired Jogues, and he aspired to follow in their footsteps. Jogues professed simple vows in 1626, and went to study philosophy at the royal college of La Flèche. In 1629, he taught humanities to boys in Rouen. In 1633, Jogues was sent to the Collège de Clermont in Paris to pursue his studies in Theology. In 1636, he was ordained a priest at Clermont.
In 1636 missionary fathers Jean de Brébeuf, Charles Lallemant, and Enemond Massé returned from New France. Their accounts increased Jogues’ desire to devote himself to the conversion and welfare of the natives, and he was assigned as a missionary to the Huron and Algonquian peoples; both were allies of the French in Quebec. For six years, Jogues lived in the village of St-Joseph and learned the Hurons’ ways and language. On August 3, 1642, Jogues, Guillaume Couture, René Goupil, and a group of Christian Hurons were heading back from Quebec City when they were waylaid by a war party of the Mohawk Nation, part of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Mohawk beat Jogues with sticks, tore out his fingernails, then gnawed the ends of his fingers until finger bones were visible. The war party then took their captives on a journey to a Mohawk village. What happened to Jogues? Did he manage to escape captivity? Was he ever able to see his family again? Saint Isaac Jogues: With Burning Heart is Book 12 of some 25 in the “Encounter the Saints Series.”
The book does give a look at the cruelty and torture practiced by the Indians on the missionaries, members of other tribes, and even people of their own tribe. In fact, this was the biggest complaint. One person wrote, “It has a lot of *detailed* descriptions of the torture inflicted on others by certain Indian tribes.” Another said, “This was supposed to be for children but very, very graphic details about torture and scalpings.” However, I agree with the one who noted, “One thing – the book deals with some semi-violent themes (nothing graphic, just the nature of the story of this particular saint).” Parents of younger children or sensitive children may wish to pre-read this one before giving it to their child, and if they want to do this as a read-aloud they should probably wait until their kids are 8+. As one might imagine there are lots of references to specific Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. However, one doesn’t have to be a Catholic or agree with the Catholic Church to appreciate the fact that many of the early New World explorers were men of sincere faith or to admire their courage in living by and even dying for their beliefs.