Every other year this way of counting months
as moons produces one moon too many
so this mid-summer, this thirteenth moon is termed
Abonamicikizoos – that is
“let this moon pass by.”
In this way we count the first of seventy-two
years of Sebastian Rale, Jesuit, a Priest of
Norridgewock, the province of Maine.
We celebrate the scholar come to spend
half the lifetime and his life: Priest of Hunger,
Ice and Snow, Sickness, War, Dark Woods
Sebastian Rale was a Jesuit missionary from France, who came to spread Catholicism to Native Americans. He was stationed with the Abenaki who lived near the Norridgewock settlement. He lived among them for thirty-five years as a part of their society, until finally being killed in the final attack that destroyed the Native Americans’ village along with up to a hundred villagers.
This book, as Rale did in his life, honors the Abenaki by providing the story in their language, Passamaquoddy.
Robert M. Chute wrote the first version of Thirteen Moons in the late 1970s. He submitted the work to Penumbra Press after his self-printed copies became popular among the people he handed them to and hoped for translations into French and a Native language. While the French translation was added to the book, the Native translation didn’t come through. Years later, WWII veteran David Francis asked to translate it into Passamaquoddy, his native language. This edition is a reprinted version of the three-language version, with a new cover made to look like white birch bark.
Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, publishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling-designed and -built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick.