Monday, July 17, 2017

Martyrs of Revolution: the Carmelites of Compiegne

Today is the feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, France, who were put to death during the French Revolution on this day in the year 1794AD at the tail end of the Reign of Terror.

These blessed Carmelite martyrs were executed for their faithfulness to the Catholic Faith and their religious vows in the face of the demonic and militantly secularist French Revolutionary government of the Reign of Terror.

God chooses the weak, and makes them strong.  These little sisters were not broken by the fury and malice of that Revolution.

Their names:

They were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X.

For more:
Catholic Saints Info: Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

The Martyrs of Compiegne by Newkirk

Their story was made into a novella, in 1931, by Gertrude von le Fort, entitle The Song at the Scaffold; a liberetto by Georges Bernanos; and based on the Bernanos text, an Opera by Francis Poulenc, Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957.

The closing scene of the Opera by Poulenc -- the execution of the sisters -- is moving, indeed.  They sing a haunting version of the Salve Regina as, one by one, they are guillotined.  There is some introduction before the sound of the guillotine begins -- and it is heart wrenching to hear the voices dwindle to one, and then none:

Live well!

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