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Marie-Anne Lagimodiere, Louis Riel’s Grandmother

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Mother’s Day always bring to mind exceptional mothers who have made a difference.  Well-known author Maggie Siggins holds that the most exceptional Canadian mother of the 19th Century was Marie-Anne Lagimodière (née Gaboury). Her home town was Maskinongé, a small village near modern-day Trois-Rivières in Quebec. In 1807, Marie-Anne became the first women of European background to permanently settle in Canada’s far west.  It would take another forty years before another European woman joined her.

With the death of her father when she was 12, Marie-Anne spent the next fifteen years as a housekeeper to a priest who taught her to read and write French, Latin, and do basic math.  Such education was rare for women in those days.  Marie-Anne did not marry until late in life, from a 19th Century Quebecois perspective. She rejected suitor after suitor until the grand old age of 26. Doing the unthinkable, she married a voyageur Jean Baptiste, and then accompanied him back into the hinterlands of western Canada.  They broke the cardinal rule that under no circumstances were Eastern Canadian wives to be involved in the fur trade.  Wives in the fur trade were known as ‘fur widows’, only seeing their husbands every four or five years.

Travelling almost 3,000 kilometres by canoe, Marie-Anne faced violent rapids, portages, and deadly storm on her way west. Upon arriving at Pemina, her husband’s ‘country wife’ tried to poison Marie-Anne with a plum pudding. Her hungry dogs ate the pudding instead of Marie-Anne, and all the dogs died!

Living until age 96, Marie-Anne never returned to see her family in Eastern Canada.  It is said that she was healthy and wise up till the end.  Instead of her dainty dresses, she adopted caribou-skin leggings and embroidered moccasins. Along with learning to make pemmican, Marie-Anne became fluent in Ojibwe and Cree, and helped establish the city of Winnipeg.

She was described in Maggie Siggins’ book Marie-Anne as being ‘one tough cookie’ in order to survive her Western adventures. Shortly after her horse rushed towards a herd of buffalo, Marie-Anne gave birth to her second child in the middle of a prairie field.  Another time when a large bear attacked her companion, Marie-Anne fought back and shot the bear dead.  Once she and her husband were captured by the Tsu Tinna. Upon escaping, they were chased for five days until reaching the safety of Edmonton.  Marie-Anne lived through terrifying conflict between the Hudson Bay Company and the North West Company, in which many forts were burned to the ground.  For four summers in a row, swarms of grasshoppers were so thick that the sky was pitch black.  All crops, gardens, and greenery were ravaged within a few short hours.  During the Great Flood of 1825, Marie-Anne’s house was swept away by the river surge. Trees and cattle were swallowed up.  Marie-Anne begged her husband to leave this ‘God-forsaken’ land, but Jean Baptiste replied that if the local clergy refused to leave, they too would hang in there.  Remarkably all of her seven children lived to adulthood, with her four sons becoming involved in the thriving family businesses.

Her favorite grandchild was one of Canada’s most famous leaders Louis Riel.  He was deeply influenced by the passion and courage of his dear grandmother.  She taught him to speak the various first nations languages. She taught him to be willing to risk.  As Marie-Anne was grieved by the alcoholic debauchery that she saw at Fort Williams, Louis Riel likewise rejected alcohol abuse.  Dying in 1875, Marie-Anne lived long enough to see her grandson Louis’ dream come true: that Manitoba become a province, not just a territory in the Canadian Confederation.  This Mother’s Day I pray that like Louis Riel, we may be inspired by our mothers and grandmothers to be pioneers and explorers of Canada’s future.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Conquering the Mañana Disease

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I have been planning on writing this ‘Mañana’ article for several months, but I never got around to it.  Manana is a Spanish word for ‘tomorrow’. There is an old saying “Why do today what you can put off ‘till tomorrow?” Some have coined the expression “mañana disease”, which means to procrastinate and put things off until tomorrow.  The term ‘procrastinate’ is literally Latin “for tomorrow (crastinus)”.

Once a year in January, many of us take time to make New Year’s Resolutions.  Many of us vow to finish certain important tasks that we have been putting off.  For some of us, it may be finding a new job, getting married, having a child, buying a house, earning a University degree, or restoring a broken relationship.

King Solomon 3,000 years ago had this advice for people struggling with the mañana disease: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6)

 Solomon challenges each of us to not let fear hold us back: “The sluggard says ‘there is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming in the streets.’ (Proverbs 26:13)

 Solomon encourages us to not be arrogant and unteachable: “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.” (Proverbs 26:16).  Solomon cautions us not to become addicted to our pillows: “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.” (Proverbs 26:14).  The ancient word for procrastination is sloth, one of the seven deadly sins.  Solomon humorously points out that sloth can become so addictive that nothing gets done: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” (Proverbs 26:15).

Why do we procrastinate?  I procrastinated for years in writing my second book “Battle for the Soul of Canada.”*  Sometimes conquering procrastination seems like too much stress, too much work.  I believe that the rise of the ‘living together’ phenomenon in our culture has a lot to do with marital procrastination, especially for men.  The average age for men to be married is now 34; for women, it is 31.  Many people are waiting for the perfect time to tie the knot, the perfect financial situation, perfect educational situation, perfect housing situation, perfect emotional connectedness.  Perfectionism is at the core of the mañana disease.  Our grandparents rarely experienced perfect lives. Somehow they were able to get married and get on with their lives.

For many men, the concept of having children is even more threatening than being married.  The imagined weight of responsibility can be overwhelming.  It is interesting that in the most affluent parts of the world, we are having fewer children and at a much later stage of life.  The biological clock is on a collision course with the mañana disease.  The irony of Quebec is that its fear of cultural extinction is now becoming a biological reality.  Quebec, which had the highest birthrate, now has the lowest birthrate in North America.  Mañana has real consequences.

I love the poster I saw recently of a huge polar bear lying prone on an iceberg.  The caption goes: “When I get the feeling to do something, I lie down until the feeling goes away.”  Charles Dickens in his famous novel David Copperfield wisely observed: “Procrastination is the thief of time.”  I have found that later often means never.  Life moves on.  People die.  People move away.  Nothing on this earth is permanent.

 We all mean very well in our hearts.  Sometimes we fail to show it to our spouses, our children, our parents, our siblings.  It is so easy to put off saying “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.  How can I make it up to you?  I’ll try not to do that again.  Will you please forgive me”.  It is so easy to let relationships die because of the mañana disease.

When I first came to St. Simon’s North Vancouver, I said to our congregation: “If I haven’t offended you yet, you don’t know me well enough.”  They all laughed at the time, but later found out that I was dead serious.  All of us have the ability to offend others.  We even have the ability to offend ourselves.  Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.  Women especially are often the hardest on themselves, turning their anger inward.  Perhaps conquering the mañana disease may involve looking yourself in the mirror, and with God’s help, forgiving yourself.  Many people, who have been through a painful divorce or an abortion, secretly condemn themselves for years.  God knows and God forgives, if we will only open our hearts to Him.  Say no to the mañana disease.

In this New Year, my challenge for  those reading this article to seize the day, redeem the time, forgive those who need forgiving, and get on with our life both now and for eternity.  Are you ready yet to meet your Maker?

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Louis Riel: Canadian Patriot?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed and Mark Hird

Who was Louis Riel?  Was he a patriot or a dissident or both?

Louis Riel was born at St. Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) on October 22nd 1844, inheriting from his father a mixture of French, Irish and Aboriginal blood, with French predominating.

Louis’ mother Julie sent her son Louis to become Canada’s first Metis priest.  The 1864 death of his father however weighed heavily on Louis, bringing about an abrupt end to his seminary training.  Four months from becoming a priest, Louis met a young Montreal girl, fell in love, and decided to marry.  He rashly left the College of Montreal without obtaining his degree, and then his marriage plans collapsed when his fiancée’s parents forbade this proposed union with a Metis.  Embittered by this racist-rejection, Riel left Montreal in 1866 – without a wife, without a career, without money.

Returning home to the Red River settlement, Riel found that locusts had devastated the land. With the demise of the Hudson Bay Company’s influence, both Eastern Canada and the United States seemed poised to swallow up the Red River settlement.  The Metis felt forgotten, ignored and politically abandoned.

Without adequately consulting the local 12,000 Red River people, the Hudson Bay Company sold the Red River settlement to Eastern Canada.  Louis Riel rallied the Metis people in 1869 to take over the local Fort Garry, the Western nerve centre of the HBC.  Riel’s goal was to force the Federal Government to negotiate Manitoba’s admission into Confederation as a full province, not just a territory. The provincial name Manitoba, rather than the expected territorial name Assiniboia, came from Louis Riel himself.

Louis Riel proclaimed that the Metis were ‘loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England’. “If we are rebels, said Riel, “we are rebels against the Company that sold us, and is ready to hand us over, and against Canada that wants to buy us.  We are not in rebellion against the British supremacy which has still not given its approval for the final transfer of the country…We want the people of Red River to be a free people…”

The Americans watched the Red River Rebellion with keen interest.  Ignatius Donnelly, a former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, said: ‘If the revolutionists of Red River are encouraged and sustained…, we may within a few years, perhaps months, see the Stars and Stripes wave from Fort Garry, from the waters of Puget Sound, and along the shore of Vancouver.’  In the summer of 1870, Nathanial F. Langford and ex-governor Marshall of Minnesota visited Riel at Fort Garry.  They promised Riel $4 million cash, guns, ammunition, mercenaries and supplies to maintain himself until his government was recognized by the United States.  Riel declined.

After William O’Donohogue ripped down the Union Jack, Riel immediately reposted the Union Jack with orders to shoot any man who dared touch it.  Despite his rebellious reputation, Louis Riel showed himself to be a Canadian patriot who single-handedly kept Western Canada from being absorbed by the USA.  Riel prayed in his diary: “O my God!  Save me from the misfortune of getting involved with the United States.  Let the United States protect us indirectly, spontaneously, through an act of Providence, but not through any commitment or agreement on our part.”  Riel also prophetically noted in his diary: “God revealed to me that the government of the United States is going to become extraordinarily powerful.”

“The Metis are a pack of cowards”, boasted Thomas Scott, “They will not dare to shoot me.” If it was not for Riel’s sanctioning of the tragic shooting of the Orangeman Thomas Scott, he might have ended up in John A Macdonald’s federal Cabinet.  Thomas Scott’s death made Riel ‘Canada’s most hated man’.

After fleeing to the United States, Riel was then elected in his absence as a Manitoba MP. The Quebec legislature in 1874 passed a unanimous resolution asking the Governor-General to grant amnesty to Riel.  That same year, after Louis Riel’s re-election as MP, he entered the parliament building, signed the register, and swore an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria before slipping out to avoid arrest.  The outraged House of Commons expelled him by a 56-vote majority.

Exiled to Montana, Riel married and became a law-abiding American citizen. In 1884, with the slaughtering of the buffalo, many First Nations and Métis were dying of hunger.  The Metis in Saskatchewan convinced Riel to return to Canada.  Riel sent a petition to Ottawa demanding that the Metis be given title to the land they occupied and that the districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Alberta be granted provincial status.  The Federal Government instead set up a commission.  In the absence of concrete action, Louis Riel and his followers decided to press their claims by the attempted capture of Fort Carlton.

Due to the Canadian Pacific Railway, my great-grandfather Oliver Allen was shipped with the Toronto militia to quickly defeat Riel at Batoche.  Using an American Gatling gun with 1,200 rounds a minute, the battle did not last long.  While in the West, Oliver Allen met his future wife Mary Mclean a Regina Leader news-reporter sympathetic to Louis Riel.  Right before Riel’s hanging, Mary Mclean disguised herself as a Catholic priest in order to interview Riel.  Before Riel died, he prayed in his diary: “Lord Jesus, I love you.  I love everything associated with You…Lord Jesus, do the same favour for me that You did for the Good Thief; in Your infinite mercy, let me enter Paradise with You the very day of my death.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Samuel et Hélène de Champlain: un vieux couple canadien de 407 ans

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant l’arrivée de Samuel et Hélène de Champlain au Canada, le mot « Canada » était devenue une plaisanterie en France, grâce à Jacques Cartier qui avait rapporté en France  un quartz sans valeur du Canada. Le terme « diamant du Canada » était devenu un symbole de déception. La France a ignoré Samuel de Champlain pendant le majeur parti de sa vie. Pour la plupart des citoyens français, le Canada semblait loin et sans importance. Même les parisiens instruits niaient la valeur du Canada, lui accordant la même importance qu’à la Sibérie.

Au 16ème siècle, la population de France était six fois supérieure à celle de l’Angleterre. Elle possédait autant de littoral, était plus riche, ses marins étaient plus habiles et étaient les premiers à visiter régulièrement la côte canadienne. Mais contrairement à l’Angleterre, il y avait peu de vision en France quant à la priorité d’envoyer des gens au nouveau monde. Pour émigrer au Canada, il y avait même un découragement financier de 36 livres chargés à n’importe qui quittant la France. Par conséquent, Champlain et son entourage du Québec se sentaient négligés, abandonnés et rejetés. Le Roi Louis XIII a même eu la légèreté d’annuler la pension modeste de Champlain de six cents livres, qui lui avait été accordée par Henri IV; forçant Champlain à implorer pour son rétablissement, avec succès.

Champlain fut né en 1567 dans la ville de Brouage, alors un port maritime bruyant sur la côte du sud-ouest de la France, environ 112 kilomètres au nord de Bordeaux. Son père était un capitaine de la marine marchande et Samuel de Champlain est devenu habile à la navigation à un très jeune âge. Champlain plus tard a commenté: « la navigation est l’art qui m’a mené à explorer la côte de l’Amérique, particulièrement la Nouvelle-France, où j’ai toujours désiré voir la fleur de lys s’épanouir. »  Ironiquement, Champlain n’a jamais appris à nager, même après avoir traversé l’Atlantique vingt-neuf fois, car il croyait que la natation était trop risquée.

Pendant un certain temps, Champlain a servi dans l’armée du Roi Henri IV, combattant aux côtés de Martin Frobisher dans une entreprise alliant les Anglais et les Français contre les Espagnols.  En 1599, Champlain commanda un bateau qui ramenait des prisonniers de guerre espagnols, lui permettant d’explorer les Antilles et le Mexique, sous le contrôle de l’Espagne.  En raison de ses voyages, Champlain a prophétiquement suggéré l’idée de faire un canal à travers l’Amérique centrale pour raccourcir le voyage à l’océan pacifique méridional. Le Roi Henri IV était si impressionné par le travail de cartographie de Champlain qu’il lui a accordé un revenu à vie. Henri IV a également donné à Champlain le titre « de », ce qui le rendait un homme de rang de noble.

En 1603, il y a exactement 407 ans, Samuel de Champlain voyageait du fleuve Saint-Laurent, à l’emplacement actuel de Montréal, le village des Premières Nations de Hochelaga. Dans son journal de 1604, Champlain écrivait: « tant de voyages et de découvertes sans résultat, et accompagné de tant de difficultés et de dépenses, nous ont fait essayer récemment d’installer une colonie permanente dans ces terres que nous, Français, appelons la Nouvelle-France. »  Après deux tentatives de colonisation acadienne a Saint-Croix et a Port Annapolis dans les Maritimes, Champlain a tourné les yeux vers la future ville du Québec, un nom qu’il a traduit d’un mot indigène: « où le fleuve se rétrécit ».  La ville du Québec, le village Iroquois de Stadacona, est devenue la ville la plus durable, au nord de Mexico et de Floride, colonisée par les Européens.

La vie n’était pas facile pour Champlain à Québec. Tout en construisant son habitation « à la bastille », Champlain a dû enrayer un complot d’attentat à sa vie. Quand le printemps venait finalement fondre la glace en avril 1609, seulement huit des 24 hommes de Champlain qui avaient passé l’hiver à Québec étaient encore vivants.

Champlain aimait profondément le peuple des Premières Nations, établissant des amitiés durables avec plusieurs groupes. En 1640, Père Lalemant écrivait: « Que tous les Français, qui étaient les premiers à venir dans ces régions, avaient été comme lui! »  Champlain a parlé prophétiquement à une assemblée de Montagnais, d’Algonquins, et
de Français:  « Nos fils épouseront vos filles et dorénavant nous serons une personne. »

Quand Samuel de Champlain a marié Hélène Boullé le 30 décembre, 1610 à Paris, elle avait seulement 12 ans tandis qu’il avait approximativement quarante ans! Elle était si jeune que son père ait insisté sur le fait qu’elle vivait à la maison pendant au moins encore deux années. À l’âge 21, elle s’est déplacée à la ville de Québec. Les premières nations ont été intriguées par Hélène qui les a aimées chèrement en retour. Une dame intitulée avec les vêtements et les convenances  élégantes, Hélène était le centre d’attraction au Québec. Mais pour elle, la colonie a tenu peu de joie. Contrairement à Paris, le Québec n’avait eu aucune magasin, foule animée ou bavardage intéressant. Comme une femme jeune et intrépide, elle languissait pour la joie de vivre de Paris. Champlain qui avait 56 ans a favorisé la compagnie de ses voyageurs français et indigènes robustes et la grandeur intacte de Canada à l’intérieur. Et ainsi, après quatre ans, Champlain et Hélène se sont tragiquement séparés.  De l’amour, Champlain est appelé  l’île de « l’Expo Montréal 67 »  après elle: l’île Sainte- Hélène. Quand Hélène a appris de sa mort de mari en 1635, elle est entrée dans un couvent, choisissant de devenir une nonne plutôt que de se marier encore.

Plus d’une moitié des négociants fourrure-marchands travaillant avec Champlain étaient Huguenots (Protestants français) de La Rochelle en France.  L’Édit de Nantes (1598), qui leurs a donné la liberté religieuse au Québec et en France, a été limité la première fois en 1625 et finalement retiré en 1685. Bien qu’on ait donc interdit les Huguenots de donner louanges au Canada par le décret royal, les équipages des bateaux des Huguenots ne pourraient pas être retenus de tenir des services religieux à bord quand dans le port. Les Huguenots ont aimé chanter les psaumes en français, une pratique d’abord encourager et alors prohiber par la cour royale française. Champlain et son épouse Hélène avaient été élevés dans des maisons des Huguenots. Ainsi grâce à Champlain, on l’a convenu que les Huguenots pourraient tenir des réunions de prière sur les bateaux, mais chanter des psaumes seulement en mer où personne d’autre pourraient entendre.

Après que l’anglais sous le commandant britannique David Kirke a bloqué les bateaux français d’approvisionnement, Champlain et ses hommes sont presque morts de faim, survivant la plupart du temps sur des anguilles achetées des Indiens et sur des racines et bois-écorcent.  Champlain a été forcé de se rendre en 1628 aux frères de David Kirke et a été envoyé pendant quatre années en Angleterre. Le Traité de St-Germain-en-Laye a été signé dans 1632 qui ont apporté Champlain de nouveau à la ville de Québec, dont beaucoup avait été brûlée à la terre par les Anglais. Ensuite après avoir consacré les 32 dernières années de sa vie au Canada, Champlain est mort d’une attaque cérébrale en 1635 à l’âge de 68.

Champlain était un pionnier canadien de talents multiples, au même temps marin et soldat, auteur et entrepreneur, artiste et voyageur, visionnaire et pragmatiste. Il a écrit quatre livres importants de l’histoire des débuts de Canada. Il a produit les meilleures cartes nord-américaines et les plus tôt diagrammes de port. À plusieurs reprises Champlain a mis sa vie dans le péril afin de découvrir des itinéraires à l’étendue sauvage de l’ouest du Canada.  « Aucune autre colonie européenne à l’Amérique, » a commenté l’historien éminent Samuel Eliot Morison,  « n’est tellement l’ombre rallongée d’un homme comme le Canada est celle de cet homme vaillant, sage, et vertueux, Samuel de Champlain. »  Je remercie Dieu de cet homme courageux, Samuel de  Champlain, qui a montré la persévérance et le dévouement contre des chances impossibles.

Ma prière pour ceux lisant cet article est que nous aussi pouvons montrer à la même persévérance en faisant face à nos tâches quotidiennes Dieu-données.

Le Révérend  Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Samuel and Helene de Champlain: A Canadian Romance

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Before Samuel & Helene de Champlain came on the scene, the very word ‘Canada’ had become a joke in France, thanks to Jacques Cartier bringing back quartz and ‘fool’s gold’ from Canada.  The term ‘diamond of Canada’ became a symbol for deception and emptiness.  During Champlain’s lifetime, France largely ignored him.  To most French citizens, Canada seemed distant and unimportant.  Even well-educated Parisians denied the value of Canada, sometimes dismissing it as another Siberia.

In the 16th century, France’s population was six times that of England, it possessed as much coastline, it was more affluent, its sailors were more skilled and were the first to consistently visit the Canadian seaboard.  But in contrast to England, there was little vision in France for the priority of sending people to the New World.  To immigrate to Canada, there was even a financial disincentive of 36 livres charged to anyone leaving France.  As a result, Champlain and his Quebec people felt disregarded, deserted and discarded.  King Louis XIII even had the thoughtlessness to cancel Champlain’s modest pension of six hundred livres granted by Henry IV; forcing Champlain to successfully implore for its reinstatement.

Champlain was born in 1567 in the town of Brouage, then a bustling seaport on the southwestern coast of France, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Bordeaux. His father was a sea captain and as a boy he became skilled at seamanship and navigation.  Champlain later commented: “…(Navigation) is the art…which led me to explore the coast of America, especially New France, where I have always desired to see the fleur-de-lys flourish.”  Ironically Champlain never learned to swim, even after crossing the rugged Atlantic Ocean twenty-nine times, as he thought swimming was too risky.

For a while Champlain served in the army of King Henry IV, fighting alongside Martin Frobisher in a joint undertaking by the British and French against the Spanish.  In 1599 Champlain captained a ship which returned Spanish prisoners-of-war, allowing him to explore the Spanish-controlled West Indies and Mexico.  As a result of his travels, Champlain prophetically suggested the idea of making a canal across Central America to shorten the trip to the southern Pacific Ocean.  King Henry IV was so impressed by Champlain’s map-making work that he granted him a lifetime income.  Henri IV also gave Champlain the title ‘de’, which marked him as a man of noble rank.

Four hundred and seven years ago, in 1603, Samuel de Champlain traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the site of present day Montreal, the First Nations village of Hochelaga.  In Champlain’s 1604 Journal, he wrote: “So many voyages and discoveries without result, and attended with so much hardship and expense, have caused us French in late years to attempt a permanent settlement in those lands which we call New France.”  After two Acadian colonizing attempts at St. Croix and Port Annapolis in the Maritimes, Champlain turned his eyes to the future Quebec City, a name that he translated from an aboriginal word: ‘where the river narrows.’  Quebec City, the Iroquois village of Stadacona, became the earliest enduring city north of Mexico City and Florida settled by Europeans.

Life was not easy for Champlain at Quebec City.  While building a miniature Bastille-like ‘habitation’, Champlain had to stamp out an attempted murder plot against himself.  When spring finally broke up the ice in April 1609, only eight of Champlain’s 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.

Champlain cared deeply about the First Nations people, building lasting friendships with many groups.  Pere Lalemant in 1640 wrote: ‘Would God that all the French, who were the first to come into these regions, had been like him!’ Champlain spoke prophetically to a gathering of the Montagnais, Algonkin, and French: “Our sons shall wed your daughters and henceforth we shall be one people”

When Samuel de Champlain married Hélène Boullé on December 30, 1610 in Paris, she was only 12 years old while he was approximately forty!  She was so young that her father insisted that she live at home for at least another two years.  At age 21, she moved to Quebec City.  The First Nations were intrigued by Helene who loved them dearly in return.  A titled lady with elegant outfits and etiquette, Helene was the center of attention at Quebec.  But for her the settlement held little joy.  Unlike Paris, Quebec had no shops, lively crowds or interesting chitchat.  As a high-spirited twenty-five-year-old, she pined for the exhilaration of Paris.  Champlain, fifty-six, favored the companionship of his hardy French and aboriginal voyageurs and the untainted grandeur of the Canadian outback.  And so, after four years, Champlain and Helene tragically parted ways.  Out of love, Champlain named the ‘Montreal Expo 67’ Island after her: Isle Saint Helene.  When Helene learned of her husband’s death in 1635, she entered a convent, choosing to become a nun rather than to marry again.

More than half of the fur-trading merchants working with Champlain were Huguenot (French Protestants) from La Rochelle; France.  The 1598 Edict of Nantes, which gave them religious freedom in Quebec and France, was first restricted in 1625 and finally revoked in 1685.  Although the Huguenot were therefore forbidden to worship in Canada by royal decree, the crews of Huguenot ships could not be restrained from holding services on board when in harbour.  The Huguenot loved to sing the psalms in French, a practice first encouraged and then outlawed by the French Royal Court.  Both Champlain and his wife Helene had been raised in Huguenot homes.  So thanks to Champlain, it was agreed that the Huguenot could hold prayer meetings on the ships, but sing psalms only at sea where no one else could hear.

After the English under British Commander David Kirke blockaded the French relief supply ships, Champlain and his men nearly starved, surviving mostly on eels purchased from the Indians and on roots & wood-bark. Champlain was forced to surrender in 1628 to David Kirke’s brothers and was sent for four years to England.  The Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye was signed in 1632 which brought Champlain back to Quebec City, much of which had been burnt to the ground by the British.  After having devoted the last 32 years of his life to Canada, Champlain died of a stroke in 1635 at age 68.

Champlain was the most versatile of Canadian pioneers, at once sailor and soldier, writer and entrepreneur, artist and voyageur, visionary and pragmatist.  He wrote four important books relating Canada’s early history.  He produced the best North American maps and its earliest harbour charts.  Repeatedly Champlain put his life in jeopardy in order to discover routes to Canada’s western wilderness. He nurtured struggling Quebec to steadfast life.  “No other European colony in America, “commented the eminent historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” I thank God for this courageous man Samuel Champlain who showed perseverance and dedication against impossible odds.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may show that same perseverance in facing our God-given daily tasks.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts

par le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Avant Champlain, les explorateurs comme Jacques Cartier n’avaient pas réussi à laisser leur marque. Champlain et Sieur de Monts étaient des personnes persévérantes et visionnaires de grande foi qui ont fait d’énormes sacrifices pour frayer un chemin dans cette grande terre du Canada. Avec mon expérience lors de la tournée de réconciliation de La Danse cet été passé, Dieu m’a donné un amour profond pour les personnes francophones qui ont développé notre nation pendant 150 ans avant l’arrivée des Anglais.

 

Samuel de Champlain et Sieur de Monts nous ont donné le cadeau merveilleux de la langue et de la culture française. Champlain, en particulier, a aidé à définir qui nous sommes comme Canadiens. Nous serions bien plus pauvres au Canada sans nos frères et sœurs francophones, sans leur joie de vivre, leur musique, leur danse, et leur flair artistique. Comme l’a déjà dit un poète américain, »le Canada est un pays presque inventé par le cerveau simple de Champlain ».  Un projet de loi privé fédéral C-428 fut rejeté. Ce projet voulait nommer le 26 juin le « Jour de Samuel de Champlain ». Le MP Greg Thompson du Nouveau Brunswick qui présentait ce projet de loi disait: « la plupart de nous savons qui est Davy Crockett, mais plusieurs d’entre nous n’avons jamais porté attention à Samuel de Champlain.

Tandis que beaucoup de Canadiens se rappellent vaguement de Champlain, aujourd’hui peu de personnes ont une idée de qui était l’homme derrière Champlain: Sieur de Monts. Né à Saintonge, en France en 1558, Sieur de Monts était un homme d’affaires français Huguenot à qui avait été accordé une charte exclusive du Roi Henri IV pour le commerce de fourrure dans le nouveau monde. Le Roi Henri IV chargea Sieur de Monts d’établir le nom, la puissance, et l’autorité du roi de la France; d’amener les indigènes à une connaissance de la religion chrétienne; de peupler, de cultiver, et de coloniser les dites terres; de faire de l’exploration et plus particulièrement de chercher des mines de métaux précieux. La charte de 1603 nommait Sieur de Monts comme Lieutenant Gouverneur de la Nouvelle-France, lui donnant autorité sur toute l’Amérique du Nord entre les quarantième et quarante-sixième parallèles (de Montréal à Philadelphie actuelle).

 

Une des conditions de la charte exigeait la colonisation de soixante nouveaux colons chaque année. En 1604, Champlain et de Monts, pères du Canada, ont établi leur première colonie sur l’île de Saint-Croix, sur la frontière entre le Nouveau Brunswick et le Maine, aux États-Unis.  Précédant Jamestown, Virginie (1607) et Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), Saint-Croix était la première colonie européenne sur la côte nord de l’Atlantique. Des Huguenots (protestants français) et des catholiques romains étaient inclus parmi les 79 premiers colons, avec un pasteur Huguenot et un prêtre catholique. Grâce au décret de Nantes, on a accordé aux Huguenots l’exercice libre de leur foi, une liberté qui a duré jusqu’en 1625. Comme mon épouse et mes enfants ont des racines Huguenotes, j’ai été fasciné d’apprendre que les Huguenots persécutés étaient au premier rang de la bourgeoisie française naissante.

 

On croit que Champlain a choisi Saint-Croix parce qu’elle partageait la même latitude que la France tempérée, supposant que le climat serait semblable. Au lieu de cela, les banquises de glace ont séparé les colons de la nourriture fraîche et de l’eau du continent. Ce premier et seul hiver sur Saint-Croix fut brutalement froid, ayant pour résultat 35 décès causes par le scorbut. Ironiquement les os de ces premiers colons français ont juste été ré enterres cette année à Saint-Croix, après avoir passé un demi-siècle à Temple University, à Philadelphie.

 

La colonie de Huguenot/Acadienne a été déplacée en 1605 à Port-Royal (l’Annapolis moderne royal en Nouvelle-Écosse). Tandis qu’il était à Port-Royal, Champlain a fondé le premier club social de l’Amérique du nord « l’Ordre du Bon temps » dans un effort de briser la monotonie des longs hivers nord-américains. Chacun leur tour, les messieurs préparaient le dîner en essayant de surpasser les autres avec son choix de viande, de vin et de chanson. Pour leur divertissement, Marc Lescarbot, un jeune avocat parisien, a écrit et produit la première pièce de théâtre en Amérique du Nord, « le théâtre de Neptune ».

 

Sieur de Monts a souffert plusieurs revers, y compris le retrait de son monopole du commerce de fourrure en 1608 et l’assassinat de son bon ami, le Roi Henri en 1610. En 1608, Sieur de Monts a envoyé Champlain a Québec, de ce fait fondant la ville de Québec, la première colonie permanente au Canada. « Je suis arrivé là le 3 juillet» a écrit Samuel de Champlain en 1608. « J’ai cherché un endroit approprié à notre colonie, mais je ne pouvais n’en trouver aucun plus commode ou mieux situé que la pointe de Québec ». Champlain y a mis à pied et déploya la fleur de lys, marquant le début de cette ville, ainsi que du Canada.

 

Ma prière est que ceux qui lisent cet article puissent démontrer ce même esprit de pionniers exprimé par Champlain et Sieur de Monts.

 

le Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Recteur, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

 


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Blessed are Those Who Mourn

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

I lived in Montreal, Quebec, during the days of Trudeaumania, and was naively caught up in the energy of it.  I even had newspaper photos of Trudeau plastered on my wall.  Trudeau symbolized the boundless optimism of Canada in the late 1960’s when we believed that if we tried a bit harder, our national problems would rapidly go away.  As a westerner who has spent most of my life in BC, I also went through the alienation phase with Trudeau when my heart hardened to his style of leadership.  Given the hardness of my heart, I was surprised how much his funeral moved me, even to the point of tears.  I felt like I wasn’t just mourning for Trudeau’s death but for the death of an era when things seemed simpler.

When my mother-in-law passed on, my wife and I both decided to take a 13-week ‘Grief Share’ course.  Grief Share is a video series with small group sharing by the participants.  As a clergyman, I often take funerals and help others deal with their grief.  But when one’s own family is involved, grief is experienced quite differently.

We live in a high-tech culture that gives us little time to really grieve.  In contrast to the speed of modern internet communications, grieving cannot be rushed.  The heart of ‘quality grieving’ involves a lot of ‘quantity grieving’.  Grieving takes a lot more time than many of us want to devote to it.

Another thing that has been reinforced to me through taking the ‘Grief Share’ course is that grieving is best done in community and through relationships.  Our culture is radically individualistic and private about things that really matter.  Some people have become so private about death that they have even given up on funerals.  Instead we just read in the paper about the death of former friends and loved ones.  The tragedy of the demise of funerals is that it has left many people stuck in grief, with no way to express it.

I was in the Okanagan visiting relatives when my Aunt Marg said to me: ‘Ed, I have a friend who has had a mental breakdown, and no one can figure out why.  Can you help her?’  Meeting with Aunt Marg’s friend, I discovered that due to an physical illness, she had missed her mother’s funeral.  Sensing that this was the root of the breakdown, I led her on the shore of Lake Okanagan in some brief prayers, releasing memories of her mom into the arms of Jesus.  Upon returning to Vancouver, my Aunt Marg phoned me and said: ‘I don’t know what happened.  But whatever you did seemed to work.  She is totally better now’.  Some of you reading this article may be suffering at this very moment from never having been able to go to the funeral of a loved one.  Perhaps your loved one lived half way around the world, and it didn’t seem practical.  Perhaps no funeral was even permitted.  Either way, you need to create the opportunity for you to release the memories of your loved one into Jesus’ arms.

Grief, when not dealt with, can cut us off from others.  Grief can paralyze our day-to-day functioning in ways that can be embarrassing.  None of us are immune from grief.  That is why the Good Book encourages us to ‘weep with those who weep’.  Grieving is best done when a loving community and family surround us with their thoughts and prayers.  We have to fight the temptation in grief that makes us want to hide away and try to handle it ourselves.  Time by itself heals nothing.  In fact, refusing to weep with those who weep can actually make us sick, sick at heart, sick in body, sick in spirit.  How much unnecessary cancer, heart disease and arthritis comes because we refuse to grieve?

That is why the most famous person in the universe said: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’.  Jesus knew that there is a healing that can come when we face our grief head-on.  There is a comfort that can come when we are willing to be honest about how tough it has been to lose our loved ones.  There is a blessing that will come when we let the tears flow and allow others to listen deeply to our pain.  Even Jesus, the Son of God, went through intense grief and loss.  The shortest verse in the bible is simply ‘Jesus wept’.  Weeping is an expression of the depth of our love.

I have found that grieving will not destroy me, but refusing to grieve will.  Grieving will not cause me to fall apart, but rather fall together.  Grieving will not bring a breakdown, but rather a breakthrough.  So many of the dysfunctional and addictive things that we do in life are the fruit of our unwillingness to do the hard work of grieving.  But running from death always brings death, death of hope, death of peace and death of intimacy.

 

By embracing death on that painful cross, Jesus broke the power of death to destroy our hopes and dreams.  By rising from the dead, Jesus proved that death does not have the final word.  By faith in Jesus’ resurrection, we will see our loved ones again.  We need not fear as we grieve, for Jesus has them in his loving arms.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca