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Claude Allouez

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Allouez, CLAUDE, one of the most famous of the early Jesuit missionaries and explorers of what is now the western part of the United States, b. in France in 1620; d. in 1689, near the St. John’s River, in the present State of Indiana. Shea calls Allouez “the founder of Catholicity in the West”. He was a predecessor and subsequently a colaborer of Marquette, and there is a book still extant containing prayers in Illinois and French, in which an ancient note states that it was prepared by Allouez for the use of Marquette. Allouez labored among the Indians for thirty-two years. He was seventy-six years old when he died, worn out with his heroic labors. He preached the Gospel to twenty different tribes, and is said to have baptized 10,000 neophytes with his own hand. He took charge of, and put on a firm basis, the famous Kaskaskian mission, which death had compelled Marquette to relinquish. None of the missionaries of his time dared more or travelled over a wider territory than Allouez. He even reached the western end of Lake Superior. His life was one alternation of triumphs and defeats. At times he had to prevent the Indians from adoring him as a god; at others, they were about to sacrifice him to their deities. It is noteworthy that much of his trouble came from the old Iroquois who had murdered Jogues, Brebeuf, and the other Jesuits in the East, and who were now drifting or being driven towards the West. There is an especial distinction to be accorded to Allouez in the fact that he was the first Vicar-General of the United States, the office having been assigned to him by Monseigneur Laval, Bishop of Quebec. His jurisdiction extended over the entire western country, including the French traders as well as the native tribes.


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