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JESUITICA: Saint Jean de Brébeuf SJ

lacrosse_01Lacrosse began life as a sport to instil manly virtues and preparedness for war in the youth of Native American tribes. St Jean de Brébeuf SJ observed the game being played by Iroquois tribesmen, and (so the story goes) he called it lacrosse as he thought the stick they used resembled a bishop’s crozier. There was, however, nothing episcopal – or indeed sportsmanlike – in what the Iroquois did to St Jean when they captured him in a Huron community, where he was a most successful missionary. They scalped him, carried out a mock baptism on him with boiling water, and mutilated him. He is now the patron saint of Canada.