Friedreich’s ataxia is unique in that an ancestral point of origin has been uncovered by geneologists. Many cases of Friedreich’s ataxia can be traced to one common ancestral couple arriving in New France in 1634: Jean Guyon and Mathurine Robin. Quebec was established at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement.
Guyon was a stone mason, but I’ve uncovered no connection to Freemasonry. He came to Quebec as an indentured servant but violated his contract. The land had previously been surrendered to the English in the Anglo-French War, but was returned to the French before Guyon’s arrival. Guyon’s heirs disputed over the land after his death.
The story of their lives is marked by contention over land.
In 1578, the English explorer Martin Frobisher celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Canada in gratitude for his safe return from an expedition. I’ve seen no documentation that this tradition was continued in New France.
Samuel Champlain, the Father of New France, established a series of banquets and plays called the Order of Good Cheer to get the settlers through the harsh winters. As best as I can tell, these celebrations were secular, rather than religious; some accounts refer to strippers. From a brief Internet search, it is hard to know what is legend.
We give You thanks for the beauty and bounty of the land in French Canada. In You we live and move and have our being. Through Your providence, the original settlers of New France existed. Through Your providence, the settlement survived. We pray for a spirit of gratitude to wash over that region, gratitude for all of Your good gifts. May a spirit of gratitude infill the descendants of Jean Guyon and Mathurine Robin.
Anoint the patients with Friedreich’s ataxia, especially Sally, with a spirit of thanksgiving. Fill her with Your Holy Spirit. Let song flow out of her heart. May new songs break old cycles. Fill her life with praise. Let the notes of praise surround each and every chromosome and mitochondrion. May every gene and every biochemical pathway in her body magnify Your Holy Name. May she give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Fill her life with new songs, Lord. New songs.
We don’t know the ancestral points of origin for other neurologic diseases. Yet, we work with the lessons learned from Friedreich’s ataxia for them. Fill them with Your Holy Spirit, especially Lauren, Chris, and Joseph. Let song flow out of their hearts. May new songs break old cycles. Fill their lives with praise. Let the notes of praise surround each and every chromosome and diseased cell. May every gene and every biochemical pathway in their bodies magnify Your Holy Name. May they give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Fill their lives with new songs, Lord. New songs.