Oil Dedicated to Saint Rene Goupil And Companions
Saint Rene Goupil And Companions is the patron of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Given his training as a surgeon and his efforts to relieve the suffering of others, he makes an excellent patron for physicians also. Goupil worked at the Hôtel Dieu Hospital in Sillery, near Quebec City, which combated the Indians’ practice of euthanasia by providing palliative care. There, as well as in his captivity, he epitomized a Catholic medical practice which shows concern for the soul as well as the body. Finally, Goupil bore heroic witness to the dignity of all human persons when he offered medical treatment even to one of his Mohawk torturers.
In 1951, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists chose Saint René Goupil. One of the North American Martyrs canonized in 1930, as their patron. This is fitting, given Goupil’s training as a surgeon, and his charitable efforts to relieve pain even while suffering excruciating torments at the hands of the Iroquois Indians. St. René would also make an excellent patron for physicians.
Most of what we know about St. René Goupil (1608–1642) comes from the pen of St. Isaac Jogues, who shared Goupil’s captivity among the Iroquois. Jogues, one of the Jesuits who ministered to the Algonquin. Montagnais, and Huron Indians of Canada during the seventeenth century. Testified that Goupil understood surgery well. Goupil was a barber-surgeon, and as such. Lower in the medical pecking order of the day than surgeons proper or physicians.
Since physicians did no surgery, an anatomy course was created for Parisian barbers in the late fifteenth century. Thenceforward, French barber-surgeons remained on the cutting edge of new medical developments. While the surgeons proper, entrenched in a group called the Society of St. Côme. Drifted into irrelevance until they united with the college of barber-surgeons in 1656.