A Need for Proof
Sainthood and miracles go hand in hand. It is often the case that some sort of miracle is performed on behalf of a Saint or Saint-to-be because it was meant to be. In otherwords, a miracle can be an event that was preconceived and pre-designed as part of the omniscient process to help an individual through some problem in life. In the case of a Saint-to-be, this event has more meaning since it represents the one saint offering help or assistance to another of similar kinship or “blood relations”, someone who is probably or inevitably a Saint-to-be.
It is also the case that whenever an individual is being considered for sainthood, a miracle performed by that Saint-to-be is needed in order to finally convince members of the Vatican of the need for canonization. Becoming a Saint and being a Saint require a recipient not only be conscious of the gift and its possible source, but also be aware of the fact that these are a by-product of an afterlife involving someone else. This means that in order to achieve Blessedness or Sainthood, one event has to precede another in perfect fashion, and be appropriately acknowleged at the receiving end, saint-to-be or not, before such a history of claims can be undeniable and indisputable one behalf of the Vatican.
Does the story of Tschoop or John enable such a stage to be reached by him? To date, no miracles are in the press as having anything to do with Tschoop or Brother John, as far as I know. There is no amulet that mentions Brother John, or prayer card out there with Brother John’s prayer to be shared and used. So far as I have been able to deduce (which is only based on superficial, circumstantial sources for evidence), there is no official church approved Psalm or Prayer specifically dedicated to the Mahican converts or Brother John.
Still, we do have the following verse provided as a part of David Zeissberger’s life story in which Tschoop was discussed. Zeissberger was witness to all of the Tschoop’s life as it was conveyed to him by the missionaries, by Tschoop’s friends who often came to visit and whom often had to leave Tschoop behind due to his medical state, and much later, in the end, as a personal witness to Tschoop’s life successes. This could suffice as a prayer for use in a healing process, performed under the guidance of Brother John:
(second and third phrases alone?)
Venerable or Blessed?
When we take into consideration the experiences required of someone to become Venerable and then Blessed, there are a number of coincidences, synchronicities or happenstances that need be taken into account if we are to understand how and why an individual becomes deserving of whatever gifts that he or she receives. With Tschoop, this is very important because it was his medical state that returned him into “the messenger.” And since Tschoop wasn’t totally cured of his disability, the cure was not his gift, the conversion was. Tschoop was only “cured” in the figurative and more spiritual sense. In turn, he and his followers were “cured” of the social changes that were taking place, a lesson that in turn could be passed on down to others throughout the remaining years in life. These events in turn become an important lesson to the missionary programs and their leaders, as well as to the witnesses of these success stories, as well as their tragedies.
However, these events alone do not mean that someone deserves beatification, but they are a sign of the steps taken by a Servant of God or a Venerable.
What makes Tschoop deserving of this honor is his collection of life experiences that resulted due to his devotion to the word as taught to him through his own changes in behavior and practice, and numrous impacts on others that have since spread well beyond the original boundaries defined for the missions. These are two remarkable things about Tschoop’s behavior that stand out regarding his personality and need for consideration as a Servant of God and Venerable, and maybe beatification.
The best evidence for beatification or cannonization would of course be a miracle or two that can be linked to Tschoop’s spirit. But the ability to identify a miracle and relate it to an individual can be a difficult task. Unlike Saints Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene, and Blessed Katrina, evidence for a miracle related to Tschoop is lacking.
There could be some knowledge based reasons along with social reasons for this. Perhaps this is because few people know about Tschoop except in passing at the cemetery in Old Bethlehem, or the Moravian Missions monument in Shekomeko.
Grounding this theory or bringing it back to this World, if we focus on just the physical aspects of Tschoop’s fate to date, there are other reasons he has not been considered for even his Child and Servant of God life history. For one thing, Tschoop is an old disabled man. He lacks the “beauty” as defined by our modern culture that the other matrons who have become Saints have had. This was in part due to his medical history, nothing of his own responsibility due to personal malfeasance.
However, this limitation we, and the Church, placed on such a social figure could simply vanish or be transformed were Tschoop’s impacts truly witnessed and experienced, not as tales from the past, but more as predictions of the future–as intercessions. Furthermore, even if such an event as an intercession did happen (or has happened), it takes knowledge about the history of Tschoop himself, along with an understanding of Tschoop as a possible cause for such an event, for the proof to be developed as needed. In order to document if and when such a miraculous event actually took place, one would have to be ready for such an event to realize immediately afterwards just what form of miracle has just taken place. [I am aware of one such possible event personally, but being the writer have to remain neutral on this.]
In today’s society, people are not culturally aware and learned of this part of Native American or Mahican history. For this reason, so we might miss out such an opportunity to be a witness to change. If we liken Tschoop, to Saint John the Apostle, both of whom are likened to the spirit of the eagle in both an artistic and philosophical sense, then such becomes the possible reason for why Tschoop can cure something as harsh and mistreating as any of numerous chronic disease through the flight or passing of a single eagle feather, an action taken as a part of a prayer that is symbolic of a metaphysical need, a confession performed under the guise of some natural theological event. In Native American tradition, this flight of the feather symbolizes the loss of the cause for your disease, and so a cure is born, but not through any natural scientific way. In such a way, a miracle could be performed using a traditional Native American prayer routine, the Mahican way.