Statue at Odanak

statue at Odanak.jpg


Statue at Odanak


Molly Ockett's religious faith and moral character were much admired by her white friends, and were often commented upon in their recollections. For example, Silvanus Poor of Andover wrote, "When she was traveling and felt in a pious mood, she always walked straight and if she came to a puddle of water in the road she wouldn't turn out for it." The concept of strait, as in "narrow" or "confining," and straight, as in "upright," emerges often in stories connected to Molly Ockett. She was obviously fond of the Biblical passage, "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth to life eternal; and few there be that find it." Although she retained her Catholic ties, journeying back to St. Francis on occasion to make confession to the priest, Molly Ockett regularly attended Protestant services when in the Bethel area, and referred to Methodists as those "drefful clever folks." She did not feel bound by white religious conventions, however, and occasionally spoke at Methodist meetings, a right normally reserved for male members of the congregation. A well known story about Molly Ockett and the Sabbath was recorded by Dr. Nathaniel T. True in 1863:

She was easily offended. She made her appearance one Monday morning with a pailful of blueberries at the house of her friend, the wife of Rev. Eliphaz Chapman of Bethel. Mrs. C. on emptying the pail found them very fresh, and told her that she picked them on Sunday. "Certainly," said Molly. "But you did wrong," was the reproof. Mollyockett took offence and left abruptly, and did not make her appearance for several weeks, when, one day she came into the house at dinner time. Mrs. Chapman made arrangements for her at the table, but she refused to eat. "Choke me," said she, "I was right in picking the blueberries on Sunday, it was so pleasant, and I was so happy that the Great Spirit had provided them for me." At this answer, Mrs. Chapman felt more than half condemned for reproving her as she did. Who could possibly judge this child of nature by the same law that would condemn those more enlightened?

Another tale of Molly Ockett's church-going is connected with the town of Poland, Maine, where she was refused a seat at service. In a gesture that must have had a wonderful effect on the assembled congregation, Molly Ockett went outside, got a shingle bolt at a nearby mill and, carrying it inside the church, seated herself upon it directly in front of the pulpit, "where she attended every word during the service." Not surprisingly, Molly Ockett's religious reputation lingered with local residents long after her passing.

The photo at left shows a carved portrayal of St. Mary as an Abenaki woman. This sculpture, which stands at the front of the Abenaki church at Odanak, Qu├ębec, serves as a reminder of Molly Ockett's strong religious beliefs.


Courtesy of Pat Stewart.



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