Blessed Memorial of the Martyrs of Compiègne!
Persecution against Catholics was common during the French Revolution and following Reign of Terror led by Maximilien Robespierre. Fourteen Carmelite nuns and two postulants were accused of treason, brought to trial without lawyers or witnesses and condemned to death. On July 17, 1794, they were brought to a Parisian public square for execution. A cheering crowd came to watch the spectacle but they were silenced when they witnessed the Carmelites joyfully singing as they awaited their martyrdom. One by one, each woman approached her superior and asked for her prayers before they were guillotined. The customary drum roll did not take place and no one in the crowd cheered, laughed, or mocked the victims. After the last Carmelite was killed, the crowd dispersed in silence and a great sense of unease overtook the city. The martyrs' remains were taken to a rural cemetery and buried in a mass grave along with 1,300 other victims. Robespierre soon fell from power and was guillotined eleven days after the Carmelites met the same fate. The Reign of Terror was brought to a sudden and unexpected end. (Source: Catholic Answers)
Martyrs of Compiègne, pray for us!
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