Friday, May 3, 2013

Catechetical Chaplet of the North American Martyrs

This chaplet is based on the various prayers and catechetical formulae that were among the first texts translated into American Indian languages by the missionaries of Canada. It is made with a cross, a single bead before each triad (set of three beads in honor of the Trinity), and eight triads in honor of the eight canonized martyrs.

Each of the eight triads begins with its own catechetical text to meditate on and consider prayerfully.


On the cross, make the Sign of the Cross.

On the bead before each triad, say the appropriate Meditation (see below), then the following prayers:
On the first bead of each triad say the Our Father.
On the second bead of each triad say the Hail Mary.
On the third bead of each triad say the Glory Be.
End each triad with an invocation of one of the martyrs.


The First Triad: the Ten Commandments
 1. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt,     out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before     me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness     of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor     of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt     not adore them, nor serve them.
 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
 3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
 4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
 5. Thou shalt not kill.
 6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 7. Thou shalt not steal.
 8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
 9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Jean de Brébeuf, pray for us.

The Second Triad: The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.

The Third Triad: The Theological Virtues
1. Faith, the Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed.
2. Hope, the Divine virtue by which we firmly trust that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.
3. Charity, the Divine virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.

The Fourth Triad: The Four Last Things
1. Death, the separation of the soul from the body.
2. Judgment, in which Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day.
3. Hell, the state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments.
4. Heaven, the state of everlasting life in which we see God face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Anthony Daniel, pray for us.

The Fifth Triad: The Precepts of the Church
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
3. To confess at least once a year.
4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter time.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Charles Garnier, pray for us.

The Sixth Triad: The Capital Sins and their Opposing Virtues
1. Pride, the excessive love of our own ability.
2. Covetousness, the excessive desire for worldly things.
3. Lust, the excessive desire for the sinful pleasures forbidden by the Sixth Commandment.
4. Anger, an excessive emotion of the mind excited against any person or thing, or an excessive desire for revenge.
5. Gluttony, the excessive desire for food or drink.
6. Envy, the feeling of sorrow at another's good fortune and joy at the evil which befalls him.
7. Sloth, a laziness of the mind and body, through which we neglect our duties.
Humility is opposed to pride; generosity to covetousness; chastity to lust; meekness to anger; temperance to gluttony; brotherly love to envy, and diligence to sloth.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. Noël Chabanel, pray for us.

The Seventh Triad: The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
1. To feed the hungry
2. to give drink to the thirsty
3. to clothe the naked
4. to ransom the captive
5. to shelter the homeless
6. to visit the sick,
7. and to bury the dead.
1. To admonish the sinner
2. to instruct the ignorant
3. to counsel the doubtful
4. to comfort the sorrowful
5. to bear wrongs patiently
6. to forgive all injuries
7. and to pray for the living and the dead.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. René Goupil, pray for us.

The Eighth Triad: The Beatitudes
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
3. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
8. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Our Father….
Hail Mary…
Glory Be...
St. John de la Lande, pray for us.

When all the triads are concluded, recite the Collect of the North American Martyrs:

O God, who didst consecrate the first-fruits of the faith in the northern regions of America by the preaching and blood of Thy blessed martyrs John, Isaac and their companions: vouchsafe unto us, we beseech Thee, that through their intercession the fruitful harvest of Christians may everywhere daily receive an increase. Amen.


A prominent example of the kinds of prayers and catechesis used by the Canadian missionaries is found in the Ledesma Catechism translated into Huron by St. Jean de Brebeuf. The Jesuit Relations often mentions such prayers and texts three of the most typical are the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Creed. We also have a set of Piscataway prayers from the Maryland mission, written by the English Jesuit Andrew White.

The catechetical texts in this chaplet are taken from the Baltimore Catechism, with the occasional emendation. I have included the Beatitudes as a meditation, although they so not seem to have been commonly taught by the Jesuit missionaries, because they are more appropriate as devotions for the praying Catholic than, say, a factual list for catechumens such as the Seven Sacraments.