Black Robe and Axis Mundi

The Bible has long been known as the center of the Christian religion and the center of life for those who claim to be active Christians. In the Seventeenth century, when the Europeans discovered Native Americans had an antiquated or uncivilized way of living, they felt the necessity to extend their knowledge to their cultures and conquer them. This meant that Europeans would extend the word of God to the Native Americans, so they could learn God’s way of living, and they could follow His teachings the way they have already learned to do.

Because of this, churches would send brave missionaries on tough missions to prove their love to God and extend His word to those who do not know better about Him. In this movie Father Laforgue, or “Black Robe,” is the one filling this position.

Even though he is surrounded by a tribe of Native Americans, he is alone because he does not have someone who understands his mission and shares his way of living and thinking. He is permanently living in the profane world, trying to convert it sacred. He encounters numerous obstacles and only finds guide in his holy book, The Bible. This serves to him as Axis Mundi because it is the center of his world. It is the one object he refers to seek for guidance and reassurance to confirm that he is doing the right thing and living the right way.

Many at the time were illiterate, which at the time was equal to ignorant, and which correlation has not seemed to change severely to our modern life. Father Laforgue was not, and what he read repeatedly was The Bible. It was his main source of knowledge. Having the ability to read it separated him from the profane, and gave structure to his life. Unlike the “savage” Native Americans, he had a sacred text that provided communication with God, and allowed him to extend his hand to those who lived in the profane in order to bring them to the sacred.

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