CV NEWS FEED // This week, CatholicVote has a special offer: A copy of the American Catholic Daily Reader personally signed by CatholicVote President Brian Burch.
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For a taste of what you’ll get in the American Catholic Daily Reader, please read the excerpt below. It’s the entry for today, August 25. With the American Catholic Daily Reader, you’ll get passages like this for every day of the year.
August 25: The Royal Hydrographer
Louis Jolliet thought, at first, that God had called him to the priesthood. But God had a different plan in mind.
Born in 1645 in a French settlement near Quebec, the young Jolliet grew up in a bustling community of fur traders, Jesuits, and Native Americans. While still a boy, Jolliet enrolled in the Jesuits’ small school in Quebec and spent his adolescence studying theology, philosophy, and music. He showed talent as an organist and harpsichordist, and took minor orders in 1662. But five years later, he decided the priesthood wasn’t for him and left the community.
After that, Jolliet pursued the fur trade. He also befriended a young Jesuit missionary, Father Jacques Marquette, who, in 1673, joined Jolliet on an expedition to explore the “Mesipi”—a possible water route to the Pacific Ocean—and bring the Gospel to Indian tribes along the river.
Throughout the spring and summer, the pair conducted the first extensive exploration of the Mississippi River Valley by Europeans. Although it disappointed them to learn that the river emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, not the Pacific, their findings still proved invaluable.
On their return journey, Jolliet and Marquette paddled north along the Mississippi for six weeks until, on August 25, 1673, they turned east and entered the Illinois River, which Jolliet described as, “the most beautiful, and most suitable for settlement.”
“The river is wide and deep, abounding in catfish and sturgeon,” he wrote. “Game is abundant there; oxen, cows, stags, does, and turkeys are found there in greater numbers than elsewhere.”
After that first legendary expedition, Jolliet married, became a father of four, and continued his explorations of the waterways of Eastern Canada. His reward for his work was an appointment as New France’s “Royal Hydrographer,” and an expansive island in the St. Lawrence River.
In 1700, while returning to that island from Quebec, Jolliet disappeared. Presumed dead, he was never seen again.
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