Life of Father De Smet
Apostle of the Rocky Mountains
By Fr. E. Laveille, S.J.
What a story! Fr. Pierre De Smet (1801-1873) is mentioned in U.S. history books almost as a footnote, but there was in the mid-19th century America no single person the American Indians trusted as they did this Jesuit Priest. He was "more powerful than an army" at a huge treaty conference of U.S. officials and the Western Indian nations near Laramie in 1851, and he was the chief negotiator at another, with the Sioux, in 1868. He was invited to the White House in 1867 to a conference with the Indians. As a young Belgian seminarian headed for the American Mission lands in 1823, he literally had to "escape" out of Europe to begin his apostolate, but in time--through his numerous letters to friends, which they published--he became the best-known missionary in the world, and even met Pope Gregory XVI in private audience, and many of the most famous people of his time. Eight times he returned to Europe to raise funds and beg supplies for the Indians. He travelled through the wilderness in summer and winter, by every means of conveyance and on foot, braving hardships and going without food for days. The anecdotes, adventures and "quotes from the Indians" make this a masterful, captivatingly told story. In 1842 a Flathead Indian chief spoke to him the following: "Black Robe, welcome to our country. Long have we desired to see you and be enlightened by your words. Our fathers worshipped the earth and the sun. I remember distinctly the day we first heard of the one and only true God. Since then it is to Him we have addressed our prayers and supplications, and yet we are much to be pitied. We do not know the teachings of the Great Spirit, and we sit in darkness. But now I hope you have come to bring us light. I have finished. Speak, Black Robe! Every ear is open and eager to hear your words." This book is filled with many equally powerful passages. For the author, Fr. E. Laveille, S.J., quotes copiously from Fr. De Smet's letters, and he is a master storyteller with a masterful story to tell. A priest who went only where commanded, Fr. De Smet, by his own estimation, travelled 260,929 miles in his missionary journeys. Worn out from his labors, he spent his few waning years at the Jesuit Province of St. Louis. If anyone will begin this book, he will want to finish it. For it is filled with adventures, descriptions of the Indians, their needs, their faith, their paganism, their willingness to convert, their being corrupted by the white man, etc., etc. Here is a book that will surprise, inspire and edify the whole family--or anyone who reads it.
Impr. 400 pgs, PB
"Antichrist will enjoy the use of free will on which the devil will operate as it was said of Judas: `Satan entered into him,' that is, by instigating him. He shall deceive both by worldly power and the operation of miracles. In the matter of worldly power, St. John (Apoc. XIII) says `He will control the treasures of gold and silver and all the previous things of Egypt.' The power of miracles will be simulated. `He will do wondrous signs and even make fire come upon the earth' (Dan. XI) and thus, he will lead many into error even, were it possible, the elect' (Matt. 24).
"But his miracles will be lies. No one can perform a true miracle against the faith, because God is not a witness of falsity. Hence, no one preaching a false doctrine can work miracles, whereas one leading a bad life could." (Comment in II Thess. II, Lec. 1-III) (St. Thomas Aquinas)
"After the two prophets, (Henoch and Elias) are killed the greatest power on earth will be given to Antichrist. Then they will set up cauldrons on the streets with boiling contents, and drive the men who are known as Christians, and their wives and children, there, to choose either to profess in the Deity of Antichrist and thereby to keep their family and be rewarded with riches and a home, or to profess the Christian faith, and thereby, death in the boiling cauldron. Thereupon the women and their children, who will choose to die for love of Jesus, will be thrown into a pit of fire covered with wood and straw and burnt.
Both men are in Paradises living in bliss and eating the same foods which once Adam had eaten. They, too, must shun, in obedience to God, the same tree from which Adam and Eve were not to eat. This tree is not large; its fruit looks very nice and lovely like a rose, in the interior, however, it is sour by nature whereby is indicated the bitter evil of sin. God has forbidden this fruit because it is very harmful to men and is even now regarded as poison. An angel will accompany Henoch and Elias from Paradise. The clearness and bliss which surrounded their bodies will then disappear and they will receive again the terrestrial appearance and will become mortal beings. As soon as they will see the earth they will be frightened like people who see the ocean and do not know how they can cross it. They will eat honey and figs and drink water mixed with wine while their spirit will be nourished by God. They will appear as preachers in the last time of misery when most of the good men have already died as martyrs, and they will console the people for a long time yet. Henoch and Elias will close in on the Antichrist; they will tell the people who he is, by whose power he works miracles, in which way he came into the world and what will be his end. Then many a man and woman will be converted.
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