When the Jesuits first went to New France which come to later on be known as Canada to spread the gospel they strived so much not to be as the early Christians who had come to force their religions upon the natives. One of the main things that helped the Jesuits succeed in their conversion of the people of New France is the use of hospitals and medicine from their motherland. In 1637 the people of Huron were attacked by the deadly small pox virus (Ojibwa 2012). The shaman of the Huron people at the time found himself at a hard pace as people started to lose faith in his healing powers. A Jesuit Jean De Brebeuf attempted to heal the shaman after he broke his leg (Ojibwa 2012). He died afterwards. The act did not go unnoticed as the people started to associate the missionaries with the role of being shamans.
In 1640 the Jesuits stated healing the people using urban medicine and this helped the people see the in new light. Most of the baptized children started showing signs of improvement, a fact hat lead to the conversion of two main chiefs of the Huron people (Ojibwa 2012). The Jesuits used simple hospitals to help in the treatment of the natives (Zupanov 2009). Soon the natives saw that the Christians received better and more effective treatment that the non-Christians a fact that led to most of the natives conforming to the new faith. The new wave of healing related to the Jesuits helped catapult the process of the conversion of the native of New France (Zupanov 2009).
The first nations acceptance towards Christianity
When the Jesuits come to Canada the decided to use humility and assimilating themselves to the Canadian culture in order to with the souls of the native onto Christianity. This was due to the fact that they incorporated the use of force in the conversion process. For example, the conversion of the Spanish was off to a good start until they started forcing the natives to give up land and labor with no pay (Theriault. 2011).
When the Jesuits came onto the picture, they took a different approach. From the lessons learnt in the expeditions to Asia, the Jesuits had learnt that force was not the solution to the conversion process (Theriault. 2011). The Jesuits decided to more peaceful on their approach towards the natives on imparting the new religion to them. In Canada, the Jesuits worked to gain converts by assimilating themselves to the culture of the natives. In the Huron settlement, the Jesuits created a society where the Christians and natives lived together in harmony. In the course of time, the cultures intertwined with more natives getting to learn about Christianity.
Overtime more natives got converted to Christianity as the Jesuits got to be more accepted among the Hurons of New France (Theriault. 2011). The other factor that helped in the conversion of the first nations to Christianity was the use of education and hospitals to convince the natives that Christianity was a better way of life. Modern medicine used by the Christians in the conversion of the natives played a major role in bringing more converts into the fold. The Jesuits were known as the healers of the soul with their religion identified as one that sought to teach, preach and heal (Zupanov 2009).
Ojibwa. 2012. 17th Century Jesuits in New France. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1291.
Theriault., Peter Meehan and Michel. 2011. ""Jesuits." Historica Canada." The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/jesuits/.
Zupanov, Ines. 2009. "Conversion, illness and possession: Catholic missionary healing in early modern South Asia." In Divins reme des; Medecine et religion en Inde.
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