Jean de La Lande (Birth date unknown -1646) worked as a layman with the French
Jesuits on the Mohawk mission and gave his life on a mission to secure peace.
He was born in the Norman seaport of Dieppe and was probably in New France by
1642. He served on the staff of the Jesuit residence at Three Rivers until he
set out from Quebec on Sept. 24, 1646 with Father Isaac Jogues, two or three
Hurons and a Huron-Iroquois. De la Lande volunteered to accompany Jogues
despite that missionary’s description of the hardships of the life he led and
the dangers he faced because of the conflicts between tribes and the suspicion
some people felt for the missionaries. The Hurons had asked Jogues to lead
them on an embassy to the Mohawks to negotiate a treaty.
A few days into the trip, all but one of the Hurons abandoned the two
Frenchmen when news arrived that the Mohawks were on the warpath. De la Lande
and Jogues continued with one companion on to Ossernenon, the Mohawk village
where Jogues had formerly been held captive. A party of warriors looking for
any Frenchmen to punish for the epidemic and drought that had devastated the
people, were surprised and delighted to capture the famous French missionary.
After a beating, all three prisoners were taken to the village. Jogues was
killed with a tomahawk blow as he entered a lodge, but de la Lande was held
captive in another lodge. He was safe as long as he stayed inside. The day
after Jogues’ death, the French lay volunteer tried to sneak out of the lodge
late at night to recover the priest’s body. A Mohawk man guarding the lodge,
hit de la Lande on the head with a tomahawk, killing him.
Other Martyrs of North America
Originally Collected and edited by: Tom Rochford,SJ