Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Martyrs of Compiègne

And today, another Carmelite feast day...

Here are some snippets from an article at Catholic Lane today (link at bottom):

The Carmelite Sisters of the Carmel of Compiegne, including the Prioress, Sr. Teresa of St. Augustine and fifteen companions were ordered to leave their Carmel on September 14, 1792 – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Shortly before their eviction, Sr. Teresa of St. Augustine led the Sisters into making a communal act of consecration offering their lives for the sake of peace in France. Outside of the convent, the women lived in groups of four and wore the garb of simple French women. They continued to live by the rules of the Carmel, meeting for common prayer and seeking solace in the Sacred Heart.
On July 17, 1794, the Carmelite Sisters, dressed in their religious habits in defiance of the order to wear plain dress, were led through the streets of Paris in a tumbrel, the open cart for transporting prisoners to the guillotine. At the Place du Trone Renverse, they were taken off the cart. Sr. Charlotte of the Resurrection, a seventy-eight year old invalid, was cruelly thrown to the ground from the tumbrel.  Witnesses heard her forgive her tormentor and offer words of encouragement and prayer for him. Although she had an “extreme horror” of the guillotine, Sr. Julie declared: “We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God.” Strengthened by their intense devotion to the Sacred Heart, witnesses observed that they “looked like they were going to their weddings.” 
The crowds that usually gathered at executions were rowdy, often hurling insults and mocking the criminal; however, at the sight of the sixteen Sisters, the crowd watched in stunned silence. Not a sound came from the mob of onlookers.
Read the whole story in context of history at Catholic Lane.

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