Saint Antoine Daniel (May 27, 1601 – July 4, 1648) was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, and one of the eight Canadian Martyrs.
Daniel was born at Dieppe, in Normandy on May 27, 1601. After two years' study of philosophy and one year of law, Daniel entered the Society of Jesus in Rouen on October 1, 1621. He was a teacher of junior classes at the Collège in Rouen from 1623 to 1627. In 1627 he was sent to the College of Clermont in Paris to study theology. In 1630, Daniel was ordained to the priest-hood. he then taught at the College at Eu.
In 1632, Antoine Daniel and Father Ambroise Davost set sail for New France. with Antoine's brother, Daniel's brother Charles was a sea-captain in the charge of the De Caen Company of France representing Protestant-Huguenot interests. Captain Daniel had French fort on Cape Breton Island in 1629. They arrived at St. Anne's Bay, Cape Breton, where the two Jesuits remained for a year ministering to the French who had settled there.
In the spring of 1633, Daniel and Davost joined Champlain on his way to Quebec, and arrived there on June 24. Father Davost arrived later having stopped off at Tadoussac on the way.
In 1634 he travelled to Wendake with Frs. Brébeuf and Daoust. Daniel studied the Wendat (Huron) language and made rapid progress. He translated the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and other prayers in the Huron native tongue and put them to music. For two years, in what is now Quebec, he had charge of a school for Indian boys, but returned to Huronia in 1638 to relieve Father Brébeuf at the new mission.
He returned to Teanaostaye, the chief town of the Huron, in July 1648. Shortly thereafter, the Iroquois made a sudden attack on the mission while most of the Huron men were away in Quebec trading. The priest rallied the defenders.Before the palisades had been scaled, he hurried to the chapel where the women, children, and old men were gathered. He gave them general absolution and immersing his handkerchief in a bowl of water, he shook it over them, baptizing the catechumens by aspersion
In an effort to cause a diversion, Fr. Daniel, still in his vestments, took up a cross and walked towards the advancing Iroquois. Seized with amazement the Iroquois halted for a moment, then fired on him. They flung Daniel's lifeless body into the chapel, which they had set on fire. Many of the Huron did manage to escape during this incident.
Fr. Daniel was the first martyr of the missionaries to the Hurons. Father Ragueneau, his superior, speaks of him in a letter to the Superior General of the Jesuits as "a truly remarkable man, humble, obedient, united with God, of never failing patience and indomitable courage in adversity"
Daniel and seven other martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930.