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During the French Revolution, they refused to obey the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government, which mandated the suppression of their monastery. They were guillotined on 17 July 1794, during the Reign of Terror and buried in a mass grave at Picpus Cemetery.During the anti-clericalism of the Revolution, the monasteries and convents were suppressed. Consequently, the nuns were arrested in June 1794, during the Reign of Terror. They were initially imprisoned in Cambrai, along with a community of English Benedictine nuns, who had established a monastery for women of their nation there, since monastic life had been banned in England since the Reign of Henry VIII. Learning that the Carmelites were daily offering themselves as victims to God for the restoration of peace to France and the Church, the Benedictines regarded them as saintly.

The Carmelite community was transported to Paris, where they were condemned as a group as traitors and sentenced to death. They were sent to the guillotine on Thursday, 17 July 1794. They were notable in the manner of their deaths, as, at the foot of the scaffold, the community jointly renewed their religious vows and sang the Veni Creator Spiritus, proper to this occasion.[1] One of the nuns then began to sing a hymn as she mounted the steps of the scaffold, which the rest of the community took up. Accounts vary as to the hymn they used. Some accounts state that they sang the Salve Regina, accorded a special place in the Carmelite Order;[2] more recently it has been argued that they sang Psalm 117, the Laudate Dominum, the psalm sung at the foundation of a new Carmelite monastery.[3] They continued their singing as, one by one, they mounted the scaffold to meet their death. The novice of the community, Sister Constance, was the first to die, then the lay Sisters and externs, and so on, ending with the prioress, Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, O.C.D.

When the Reign of Terror ended only days after their martyrdom, one revolutionary week (10 days) later, on Sunday 27th July 1794, the leader of the English nuns credited the Carmelites with stopping the Revolution's bloodbath and with saving the Benedictines from annihilation. The nuns of Cambrai preserved with devotion, as the holy relics of martyrs, the secular clothes the Carmelites had been required to wear before their arrest, and which the jailer forced on the English nuns after the Carmelites had been killed. The Benedictines were still wearing them when, on 2 May 1795, they were at last allowed to return to their homeland, where they became the community of Stanbrook Abbey.The martyrs are commemorated on that date in the Calendar of Saints of the Carmelite Order.

The Martyrs:

  1. Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, prioress (Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine) b. 1752
  2. Mother St. Louis, sub-prioress (Marie-Anne [or Antoinette] Brideau) b. 1752
  3. Mother Henriette of Jesus, ex-prioress (Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy) b. 1745
  4. Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified (Marie-Anne Piedcourt) b. 1715
  5. Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, ex-sub-prioress and sacristan (Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret) b. 1715
  6. Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception (Marie-Claude Cyprienne) b. 1736
  7. Sister Teresa of the Sacred Heart of Mary (Marie-Antoniette Hanisset) b. 1740
  8. Sister Julie Louise of Jesus, widow (Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville) b. 1741
  9. Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius (Marie-Gabrielle Trézel) b. 1743
  10. Sister Mary-Henrietta of Providence (Anne Petras) b. 1760
  11. Sister Constance, novice (Marie-Geneviève Meunier) b. 1765
  12. Lay SistersSister St. Martha (Marie Dufour) b. 1742
  13. Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit (Angélique Roussel) b. 1742
  14. Sister St. Francis Xavier (Julie Vérolot) b. 1764
  15. ExternsCatherine Soiron b. 1742
  16. Thérèse Soiron b. 1748

Refereces: The Catholic Catalogue ; Wikipedia ; First Night History


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