22. St. Charles Garnier, Scranton University

St. Charles Garnier
Scranton University, 1888

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Saint Charles Garnier (1606-1649) was a Parisian, born into a family of some wealth. When he was eighteen, he entered the Society of Jesus. Shortly after his ordination to the priesthood in 1635, he expressed a strong desire to become a missionary among the Huron indians of “New France” as Canada was then called. His father was at first so much opposed to the idea that Charles delayed a year. After convincing his father of how deeply the life of a missionary attracted him, Charles left in April 1636 for Canada.

When the Huron fur-traders came to Three Rivers near Quebec in late summer of that year, St. Charles went with them to their home district, Huronia. Within two years he became proficient in their language, and began an almost eight-year period of ministry, living for varying periods of time in different native villages. In the winter of 1649, just at the time of his greatest success, it became clear that Iroquois warriors were about to attack the village where he was staying. Charles sent his younger Jesuit companion, Noel Chabanal, back to Quebec, while he himself remained with his people. On December 7, the saint was wounded during the violent attack, and then killed while trying to assist other victims.

Saint Charles is pictured wearing a grey-blue cassock and cincture that were the typical clothing of a missionary priest. His silver-blue rosary with a medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary is looped about the cincture. At his left shoulder is a crescent, another symbol of his devotion to the mother of Jesus, and at his left side is a white sheep, representing his dedication as a pastor. Below his feet there are white daisies nestled in greenery and a chain of blue flowers, representative of the peaceful manner in which he ministered among the Native Americans.

The shield of Scranton University contains traditional symbols of learning: books with a lamp standing on them and a cross behind them. These symbols appear in silver on a purple background surrounded by silver rays of varying lengths. The inscription reads: University of Scranton, Scranton; the foundation date is 1888. The school colors are purple and white.

Charles Garnier - Scranton University