A look at some of the history and holidays on November 29
Feast of Father Cuthbert Mayne – one of the Forty Martys of England and Wales, he was the first seminary trained priest to be executed for practicing his faith in Elizabethan England. He was an English citizen who attended seminary school on the continent. British hatred of all things popish was at its zenith in England when Father Curthebert, in response to the English reformation, travelled to England to minister to Catholics in hiding. He was arrested in 1547, charged with high treason for saying mass, and hanged, drawn and quartered.
British mistrust of and hatred of Catholicism was a major part of the Glorious Revolution that, in 1688, overthrew the Catholic King James II. It even played an important, though indirect role, in the American Revolution. In 1780, with the Revolution hanging in the balance, Britain experienced several days of violent rioting, The Gordon Riots, after King George III approved of legislation to remove legal disabilities practicing Catholics. The riots kept reinforcements in Britain and mortally wounded Britain’s efforts to find allies to counter France.
And British hatred of Catholicism traveled to America in every ship that crossed the pond. Catholicism was the one religion proscribed in twelve of the thirteen colonies. It wouldn’t be until early in the 19th century that the proscriptions were lifted in the new United States.
Feast of Francis Fasani – was a humble 18th century parish priest in Italy who was beloved by his community. After his death, when he was being investigated for beatification, one witness opined “He heard the confession of every type of person with the greatest patience and kindness on his face”. He was charitable and welcoming to all, giving as his reason the hope of being able one day to say to the Lord: “I was indulgent, I don’t deny it; but it was You who taught me to be so.”
History and the news are often similar — “if it bleeds, it leads.” It is nice on occasion to simply recognize someone who lived a principled life caring for the well being of others.
In the early 18th century, the Natchez Indian tribe were a comparatively small tribe of 6,000 located in four villages on the shores of the Mississippi River. The French first made contact with the Natchez in 1682 as the French were trying to secure the interior of North America from, all the way from Canada to New Orleans. Initially, relations were friendly, and the Natchez allowed the French to build a small settlement in their lands. By 1720, the settlement at “Fort Rosalie” was occupied by about 400 French colonists and 200 African slaves. The Natchez had several conflicts with the French colonists, but the final straw came in 1729 when the the French commander Sieur de Chépart ordered the Natchez to vacate their village of White Apple so that he could use its land for a new tobacco plantation.
On this day in 1729, the Natchez destroyed the French settlement, killing 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie. French retribution was swift. By January, 1730, the French and several hundred Choctaw Indian allies began the systematic destruction of the Natchez tribe. Several hundred of the Natchez sought sanctuary with a British allied tribe to their north, the Chickasaw.
When French forces approached the Chickasaw and demanded that they turn over the Natchez, the Chickasaw refused, setting in motion the Chickasaw Wars. The Chickasaw won every one of their battles against the French alliance and held to their villages that controlled a portion of the Mississippi River, events that ultimately contributed to the later French defeat in the French Indian War.