Thursday, 15 May 2014

René Goupil

René Goupil
Born: 15/5/1608
Died: 29/9/1642

René Goupil was the first North American to be canonised as a martyr by the Roman Catholic church and remains the only saint who, at the time of his death, could fit into a small satchel due to the amount of bits he had missing.

Goupil was born in Anjou, France and lost his first body part during the delivery when the midwife mistook his foot for a shrew escaping from his mother's womb and crushed it using a hardback copy of The Decameron.

Goupil's lopsided gait earned him the nickname 'Gimpy Goupil' in his village and spurred him on to become a surgeon in the hope of finding a cure for one-footedness. 

He became a missionary in 1640 after leaving the medical profession the year before when he accidentally lost his left forearm in a patient during an eye examination.

Sailing for New France in 1640, Goupil lost an ear to captain's parrot shortly after the ship, La Petit Badinage left harbour. The parrot attacked Goupil's ear as it was stuffed with peanuts as part of a medical experiment he was performing to see if peanuts could cause deafness if you stuffed enough of them into your ear.

Travelling from his first mission in New France to the Huron frontier, his party became lost in the snow after Goupil said Jesus had told him to keep going North until it got warmer again. It's believed he was actually talking to a bear rather than the son of god and the party voted to eat his left leg to stay alive until they found civilisation.

Eventually arriving at  the Huron camp in 1642, minus his other ear and right hand to frostbite, he enraged the Huron chief by saying "Bonjour, voulez-vous parler de dieu?" which in their language suggested his mother's breath smelled like walrus cock.

He was kicked out of camp and eventually massacred by a passing band of Iroquois warriors who mistook his denuded body for a man-turtle. He was canonised in June 1930 and was made patron saint of drastic weight loss

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