Jacques Marquette was born in Laon, France in the year 1637. At age 17, he joined the Society of Jesus and studied and taught for about 12 years before becoming a Jesuit missionary. During that time, he decided what he wanted to do with his life.
Thereby in 1665, at the end of his university studies, he wrote to his superior: “Previously, I felt inclined toward the mission to the Indies; today, I would most gladly venture to whichever country it might please you to send me.”
Jacques Marquette was assigned to be a missionary to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In 1666, he traveled to Quebec in Canada. As the first step for his missionary work, he devoted himself to studying the local languages and became fluent in six different Native American dialects. In 1668, he left Quebec to support another missionary Claude Dablon in his evangelization work at Sault Ste. Marie among the Ottawa tribes. Later he served in St. Ignace.
In 1673 he joined the expedition of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer, in exploring the river Mississippi. Despite sharing the same goal, their ambitions were different–Jolliet focused on finding the river while Marquette wanted to spread the Gospel among the people he encountered on the way there. Upon his return, Marquette set out to found a mission among the Illinois tribes in 1674.
Though the cold winter hindered him, he finally reached those Indians by spring. But a severe illness forced him to return home and en route, he breathed his last at the mouth of a river which was later named Père Marquette (Father Marquette) in his honour.
Beloved, wherever you are and whatever you do, is proclaiming the gospel has been your goal?Take away from the article
“Lord, whatever I do, help me to focus on my ultimate goal of Gospel proclamation. Amen!”Word of Prayer
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