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Francesco Giuseppe Bressani

Indian missionary (1612-1672)

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Bressani, FRANCESCO GIUSEPPE, an Indian missionary, b. in Rome, May 6, 1612; d. at Florence. September 9, 1672. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, August 15, 1626 and studied at Rome and Clermont, teaching before his ordination at Sezza, Tivoli, and Paris. On his arrival in America he was assigned to the spiritual care of the French at Quebec, but in the following year was sent to the Algonquins at Three Rivers. In April, 1644, on the way to the Huron Mission he was captured by the Iroquois and cruelly tortured by them, at intervals, for over two months. He was at length ransomed by the Dutch at Fort Orange, and sent to France, where he arrived in November, 1644. In the following year he was again in Canada and labored zealously on the Huron Mission until its destruction by the Iroquois four years later. He continued, however, to minister to the scattered and fugitive Hurons. He was also stationed for a time at Quebec, where he occasionally officiated at the church. In November, 1650, Bressani’s failing health and the meagre resources of the mission obliged him to return to Italy, where he spent many years as a preacher and missionary, dying at Florence. Bressani wrote the “Breve Relatione d’aleune Missioni … nella Nuova Francia” (Macerata, 1653), which was translated into French by Father Martin, S.J. (Montreal, 1852).


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