Tag Archives: Compiegne

The Cross and the Guillotine

In this month of July devoted in particular to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, it is fitting that the Church honors today the Martyrs of Compiegne in France. In 1794, sixteen members of the Discalced Carmelite community offered themselves as a holocaust, poured out their blood, to end the bloodshed of the French Revolution, in particular the Reign of Terror.

Their Superior, Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine, said, “Having meditated much on this subject, I have thought of making an act of consecration by which the community would offer itself as a sacrifice to appease the anger of God, so that the Divine peace of His dear Son would be brought into the world, returned to the Church and State.”

Fr. Richard Veras said that these were not melodramatic women. “This was a Christian community who prayerfully and painstakingly discerned and verified a vocation to martyrdom.”

On July 16, 1794, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the 16 women (13 nuns, 2 externs and 3 lay sisters) were brought before a court in Paris, accused of treason, sedition, etc. for holding fast to the ancient Faith of France. Sentenced to death, they were led one by one to the guillotine. As each sister was helped up the steps by Bl. Teresa of St. Augustine, they kissed a small statue of Mary hidden in the palm of her hand (still preserved by the Carmelites). The Reign of Terror lasted only 10 more days after this sacrifice. As Warren Carroll, founder of Christendom College, so beautifully put it in his book on the subject: “The Cross had vanquished the guillotine.”

O blessed Martyrs of Compiegne,

you were offered the choice of life versus death, and you chose life eternal!

We too are asked to make sacrifices big and small for the sake of the Kingdom.

Help us to courageously stand with Christ no  matter what the cost.