Info

In just a few more years Moravians succeeded in establishing a second mission, this one conducted by David Zeisberger, among the Delaware of Pennsylvania. But then the French and Indian War greatly damaged the Shekomeko and Delaware missions, since Indians were suspect for being Indian, and Moravians were regularly charged with being papists. Zeisberger eventually found a temporary refuge for his converts at Friedenshütten (meaning 'sheltered by peace') on the Susquehanna River. But hostility from white Pennsylvanians soon drove the Moravians and their converts into the western wilderness, where after much further trauma they eventually established a secure settlement in modern Ontario.

Native American cultures operated on principles greatly at odds with European culture, for relations with divinity as well as for relations with the land, for reconciliation with enemies as well as for reconciliation with God. Perhaps the wonder is not that Europeans found it so difficult to evangelize Native Americans but that even a few of the Indians adopted the Christian message for themselves.

Revival and war

During the early decades of the eighteenth century the European powers treated their colonies with benign neglect. The result for the churches was not drift, but an evolutionary adaptation of immigrant faith to new-world conditions.

In New France, the work of the Jesuits was interrupted when they were ensnared in political manoeuvrings at home. But along with Recollets, Capuchins, and Sulpicians, the Jesuits persevered in a significant, but diminishing work among the Indians even as their religious centre ofgravity swung increasingly to the European settlements. Although interminable quarrels among bishops and leaders of the orders marked a clear spiritual descent from the heroism of the previous century, the structures of an organic Catholic society were nonetheless strengthened. Catholics in Acadia, where political control passed to the British with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, carried on uneasily until the outbreak of imperial warfare in 1754. In the intervening decades, notable mission work by the Jesuit Sebastien Rale and Pierre Maillard of the Seminary of the Holy Spirit (Paris) had complicated relations with Britain, especially since these fathers recruited natives as warriors to harass New England settlements as they also tended to more narrowly religious concerns. At the start of the French and Indian War, Britain took the draconian step of expelling the French-descended Acadians to Louisiana and elsewhere.

0 0

Post a comment