St. Gabriel Lalemant
Regis College, 1888
Saint Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649) was born and raised a Parisian. He had an uncle who was a missionary among the native populations of New France (Canada), and whose stories about the ministry greatly influenced Gabriel’s youth. After studies at a Jesuit College, Gabriel entered the Society of Jesus with a great desire to serve in the missions. But he was thought to be of poor health, and was assigned for seven years to teaching and guiding students in his native land. In 1646 he was finally sent to the Huron missions, where another of his uncles was the superior.
After two years of language and cultural studies in Quebec, Gabriel moved to the village of Sainte Marie. From there he began making weekly visits to the Huron missions as a companion of fellow Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf. After only six months of ministry among the Huron people, Gabriel and Jean were sent to the mission of Saint-Louis, which was attacked and overcome by Iroquois warriors. The two priests were taken prisoner and subjected to incredible tortures before they were killed.
Saint Jean is depicted as a missionary priest in a blue buttoned cassock and green scarf with brown stripes fringed in white Huron flannel. In his right hand he holds two flint-headed arrows and below the saint is a pile of wood from which flames of red and gold rise to knee level, all in recognition of the saint’s protracted torture and death. The white stars to the side of each knee indicate his victory over death.
The central figure on the shield of Regis College is an eagle, which is taken from the crest of the family of Saint John Francis Regis, the patron of the college. The eagle is gold on a red background and bears on its breast the Jesuit emblem in gold on a black shield, IHS together with the three nails of the crucifixion of Christ. The inscription reads: Regis College, Denver; the foundation date is 1888. The school colors are blue and gold.