Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MORNING Prayers, The HOLY NAME

The Wonders of the Holy Name – Fr Paul O’Sullivan, O.P. – “Revealing the Simplest Secret Ever of Holiness and Happiness.” Part Eight – 17 July

Previous – here:

the wonders of the holy name-day eight-17 july

The Saints and the Holy Name

St Augustine:
This great Doctor of the Church,
found his delights in repeating the Holy Name.
He himself tells us that he found much pleasure
in books which made frequent mention of this all-consoling
St Bernard – felt a wonderful joy and consolation
in repeating the Name of Jesus.   He felt it, as he
says, like honey in his mouth and a delicious
peace in his heart.   We, too, shall feel immense
consolation and peace steal into our souls if we
imitate St. Bernard and repeat frequently this
Holy Name.
St Dominic – spent his days preaching
and discussing with the heretics.   He always went on
foot from place to place as well in the oppressive
heats of the summer as in the cold and rain of
winter.   The Albigensian heretics whom he tried to
convert were more like demons let loose from Hell
than mortal men.   Their doctrine was infamous
and their crimes enormous.   Yet, as another St.
Paul, he converted 100.000 of these wicked men so
that many of them became eminent for sanctity.
Wearied at night with his labours he asked only
for one reward which was to pass the night before
the Blessed Sacrament pouring out his soul in love
for Jesus.   When his poor body could resist no
longer he leaned his head against the Altar and
rested a little, after which he began once more his
intimate converse with Jesus.   In the morning he
celebrated Mass with the ardour of a seraph so that
at times his body was raised in the air in an
ecstasy of love.   The Name of Jesus filled his soul
with joy and delight.
Blessed Jordan of Saxony –  who succeeded St
Dominic as Master General of the Order, was a
preacher of great renown.   His words went straight
to the heart of his hearers above all when he spoke
to them of Jesus.   Learned professors of the University cities came
with delight to hear him and so many of them be~
came Dominican friars that others feared to come,
lest they, too, should be induced to join his Order.
So many were drawn by his irresistible eloquence
that when his visit to a city was announced the Prior
of the convent bought at once a great quantity of
white cloth to make habits for those who were
sure to seek entrance to the Order.   Blessed Jordan
himself received one thousand postulants to the
habit among whom were the most eminent professors
of the European Universities.




The French Revolution reveals the titanic struggle between good and evil.   During the terror, over 40,000 Frenchmen were executed just for holding fast to the Catholic Faith and objecting to the worst excesses of the Committee of Public Safety.   The blood lost in the years of 1792-1794 staggers the imagination even in the retelling and the campaign against the Church was as diabolical as it was cruel.

Contemplative religious communities had been among the first targets of the fury of the French Revolution against the Catholic Church.   Less than a year from May 1789 when the Revolution began with the meeting of the Estates-General, these communities had been required by law to disband.   But many of them continued in being, in hiding. Among these were the community of the Carmelite nuns of Compiegne, in northeastern France not far from Paris – the fifty-third convent in France of the Carmelite sisters who followed the reform of  St. Teresa of Avila, founded in 1641, noted throughout its history for fidelity and fervour.   Their convent was raided in August 1790, all the property of the sisters was seized by the government and they were forced to discard their habits and leave their house.   They divided into four groups which found lodging in four different houses all near the same church in Compiegne and for several years they were to a large extent able to continue their religious life in secret.   But the intensified surveillance and searches of the “Great Terror” revealed their secret and in June 1794 most of them were arrested and imprisoned.

They had expected this; indeed, they had prayed for it.   At some time during the summer of 1792, very likely just after the events of August 10 of that year that marked the descent into the true deeps of the Revolution, their prioress, Madeleine Lidoine, whose name in religion was Teresa in honour of the founder of their order, by all accounts a charming  perceptive and highly intelligent woman, had foreseen much of what was to come.   At Easter of 1792, she told her community that, while looking through the archives she had found the account of a dream a Carmelite had in 1693.   In that dream, the Sister saw the whole Community, with the exception of 2 or 3 Sisters, in glory and called to follow the Lamb. In the mind of the Prioress, this mean martyrdom and might well be a prophetic announcement of their fate.

Mother Teresa had said to her sisters: “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 the state.”   The sisters discussed her proposal and all agreed to it but the two oldest, who were hesitant.   But when the news of the September massacres came, mingling glorious martyrdom with apostasy, these two sisters made their choice, joining their commitment to that of the rest of the community.   All made their offering; it was to be accepted.

After their lodgings were invaded again in June, their devotional objects shattered and their tabernacle trampled underfoot by a Revolutionary who told them that their place of worship should be transformed into a dog kennel, the Carmelite sisters were taken to the Conciergerie prison, where so many of the leading victims of the guillotine had been held during their last days on earth.   There they composed a canticle for their martyrdom, to be sung to the familiar tune of the Marseillaise.   The original still exists, written in pencil and given to one of their fellow prisoners, a lay woman who survived.

On July 17 the sixteen sisters were brought before Fouquier-Tinville.   All cases were now being disposed of within twenty-four hours as Robespierre had wished;  theirs was no exception.   They were charged with having received arms for the émigrés; their prioress, Sister Teresa, answered by holding up a crucifix. “Here are the only arms that we have ever had in our house.”   They were charged with possessing an altar-cloth with designs honouring the old monarchy (perhaps the fleur-de-lis) and were asked  to deny any attachment to the royal family.   Sister Teresa responded: “If that is a crime, we are all guilty of it; you can never tear out of our hearts the attachment for Louis XVI and his family. Your laws cannot prohibit feeling; they cannot extend their empire to the affections of the soul; God alone has the right to judge them.”   They were charged with corresponding with priests forced to leave the country because they would not take the constitutional oath; they freely admitted this.   Finally they were charged with the catch–all indictment by which any serious Catholic in France could be guillotined during the Terror: “fanaticism.”   Sister Henriette, who had been Gabrielle de Croissy, challenged Fouguier-Tinvile to his face:  “Citizen, it is your duty to respond to the request of one condemned;  I call upon you to answer us and to tell us just what you mean by the word ‘fanatic.”   “I mean,” snapped the Public Prosecutor of the Terror, “your attachment to your childish beliefs and your silly religious practices.”   “Let us rejoice, my dear Mother and Sisters, in the joy of the Lord,” said Sister Henriette, “that we shall die for our holy religion, our faith, our confidence in the Holy Roman Catholic Church.”

Give over our hearts to joy, the day of glory has arrived.
Far from us all weakness, seeing the standard come;
We prepare for the victory, we all march to the true conquest,
Under the flag of the dying God we run, we all seek the glory;
Rekindle our ardour, our bodies are the Lord’s,
We climb, we climb the scaffold and give ourselves back to the Victor.

O happiness ever desired for Catholics of France,
To follow the wondrous road
Already marked out so often by the martyrs toward their suffering,
After Jesus with the King, we show our faith to Christians,
We adore a God of justice; as the fervent priest, the constant faithful,
Seal, seal with all their blood faith in the dying God….

Holy Virgin, our model, August queen of martyrs, deign to strengthen our zeal
And purify our desires, protect France even yet, help; us mount to Heaven,
make us feel even in these places, the effects of your power. Sustain your children,
Submissive, obedient, dying, dying with Jesus and in our King believing.

While in prison, they asked and were granted permission to wash their clothes.   As they had only one set of lay clothes, they put on their religious habit and set to the task. Providentially, the revolutionaries picked that “wash day” for their transfer to Paris.   As their clothes were soaking wet, the Carmelites left for Paris wearing their “outlawed” religious habit.   They celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in prison, wondering whether they would die that day.

It was only the next day they went to the guillotine.   The journey in the carts took more than an hour.   All the way the Carmelite sisters sang: the “Miserere,” “Salve Regina,” and “Te Deum.”   Beholding them, a total silence fell on the raucous, brutal crowd, most of them cheapened and hardened by day after day of the spectacle of public slaughter.   At the foot of the towering killing machine, their eyes raised to Heaven, the sisters sang “Veni Creator Spiritus.”   One by one, they renewed their religious vows.   They pardoned their executioners.   One observer cried out: “Look at them and see if they do not have the air of angels!   By my faith, if these women did not all go straight to Paradise, then no one is there!

Sister Teresa, their prioress, requested and obtained permission to go last under the knife.   The youngest, Sister Constance, went first.   She climbed the steps of the guillotine With the air of a queen going to receive her crown,” singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, all peoples praise the Lord.”   She placed her head in the position for death without allowing the executioner to touch her.   Each sister followed her example, those remaining singing likewise with each, until only the prioress was left, holding in her hand a small figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   The killing of each martyr required about two minutes.   It was about eight o’clock in the evening, still bright at midsummer. During the whole time the profound silence of the crowd about the guillotine endured unbroken.

Two years before when the horror began, the Carmelite community at Compiegne had offered itself as a holocaust, that peace might be restored to France and the Church.   The return of full peace was still twenty-one years in the future.   But the Reign of Terror had only ten days left to run.   Years of war, oppression and persecution were yet to come but the mass official killing in the public squares of Paris was about to end.

The Cross had vanquished the guillotine.

These sixteen holy Carmelite nuns have all been beatified by our Holy Father, the Pope, (Pope St. Pius X, 27 May 1906) which is the last step before canonisation.    Blessed Carmelites of Compiegne, pray for us!

relic of the 16 martyrs of compiegne - pray for us!


Quote/s of the Day – 17 July – Memorial of the 16 Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne and July – the Month of the Most Precious Blood

Quote/s of the Day – 17 July – Memorial of the 16 Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

“This Blood, that but one drop of, has the power to win All the world, forgiveness of its world of sin.”

“If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

this blood-st thomas aquinas


One Minute Reflection – 17 July

One Minute Reflection – 17 July

Although you have not seen him, you love him;  even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls…..1 Peter 8-9

1 peter 8 9

REFLECTION – “Let us rejoice, my dear Mother and Sisters, in the joy of the Lord, that we shall die for our holy religion, our faith, our confidence in the Holy Roman Catholic Church.”……Sister Henrietta O.C.D. (one of the 16 Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne)

let us rejoice-sister henrietta

PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to not only love our Holy Faith but to follow Your Divine Son, happily and with complete trust to the Cross.   Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne, pray for us that we may be graced with your courage and conviction at every moment of our lives, that we may live and die for Christ our Lord, amen.

blessed martyrs of compiegne - pray for us


Our Morning Offering – 17 July

Our Morning Offering – 17 July

Prayer of St Mary of Jesus Crucified O.C.D.

Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road lead me.
Mary, my mother, look upon me.
With Jesus bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me. Amen

holy spirit,inspire me-st mary of jesus crucified

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints of the Day – 17 July – The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne O.C.D.

Saints of the Day – 17 July – The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne O.C.D. (born between 1715–1760 –  guillotined on 17 July 1794 at the Place du Trône Renversé (modern Place de la Nation) in Paris, France).   Before their execution they knelt and chanted the “Veni Creator”, as at a profession, after which they all renewed aloud their baptismal and religious vows.   Their heads and bodies were interred in a deep sand-pit about thirty feet square in a cemetery at Picpus, as this sand-pit was the receptacle of the bodies of 1,298 victims of the French Revolution, there seems to be no hope of their relics being recovered.  Five secondary relics are in the possession of the Benedictines of Stanbrook, Worcestershire, England.   They were Beatified on 27 May 1906 by Pope Pius X.   Miracles proved during the process of beatification were:
• cure of Sister Clare of Saint Joseph, a Carmelite lay sister of New Orleans, Louisiana when on the point of death from cancer in June 1897
• cure of the Abbé Roussarie of the seminary at Brive when at the point of death on 7 March 1897
• cure of Sister Saint Martha of Saint Joseph, a Carmelite lay sister of Vans of tuberculosis and an abcess in the right leg on 1 December 1897
• cure of Sister Saint Michael, a Franciscan of Montmorillon on 9 April 1898.

The 16 Martyrs were:

Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, prioress
Mother St. Louis, sub-prioress
Mother Henriette of Jesus, ex-prioress
Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified
Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, ex-sub-prioress and sacristan
Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception
Sister Teresa of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Sister Julie Louise of Jesus, widow
Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius
Sister Mary-Henrietta of Providence
Sister Constance, novice
Lay sisters:
Sister St. Martha
Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit
Sister St. Francis Xavier
Catherine Soiron
Thérèse Soiron

The French Revolution – Descent into Tyranny:  Priests and active religious became employees of the state.   The Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790 intensified the crisis for the Catholic clergy.   It required an oath of loyalty that conflicted with loyalty to the pope and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Non-juring priests (those who would not take the oath) were exiled, imprisoned and executed as traitors.   The revolutionary leaders campaigned to de-Christianize France, abolishing holy days and even the observance of Sunday as a day of rest and worship.

After the fall of the constitutional monarchy and the execution of King Louis XVI in 1792, Maximilien Robespierre created rituals to honour the Cult of the Supreme Being even as he led the Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror from 1793 to 1794 — dedicated to eliminating enemies of the Republic.

The Carmelite nuns of Compiègne were just such enemies, although all they wished to do was remain true to their vows to pray, live and work together in a cloistered community. In Robespierre’s view, these nuns were counterrevolutionaries.

When revolutionary officials visited one of their new “convents” in Compiègne, they found a portrait of King Louis XVI and a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the king.
Along with their so-called subversive cloistered religious life, this evidence was enough to arrest them.

Counter-revolutionary Carmelites:  Compiègne is a town north of Paris with many other historical connections:   St. Joan of Arc was captured there in the 15th century and two armistice agreements were signed in the Forest of Compiègne in the 20th century: the surrender of Germany in 1918 and the surrender of France in 1940.   In the 17th and 18th centuries the French royal family visited their chateau in Compiègne often and they supported the Carmelites of Compiègne, who were from poor and middle-class families.
After abolishing religious vows, officials visited the Carmelite convent at Compiègne. They offered freedom and financial rewards to those who wanted to leave the order, but none accepted their offer.   Instead, the prioress, Sister Teresa of St. Augustine, led the others in an act of consecration, a vow of martyrdom.
They were thrown out of their cloister on Sept. 14, the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, in 1792.   In quiet defiance they continued to live in small groups observing their usual schedule of prayer.

The Trial:   Sixteen members of their community were taken to Paris for trial in June 1794.   They shared their detention with a group of Benedictine nuns from Cambrai, from a house established for English religious exiles (King Henry VIII had suppressed English monasticism in the 16th century;  it would not be fully re-established until the 19th century).

While awaiting trial the nuns were forbidden to wear their habits.   But because they washed their civilian clothes just before their trial on July 17, the Carmelites appeared in court wearing their habits.   The outcome of the trial was certain, and so the nuns would also die in their habits.   Like so many of the trials during the Reign of Terror, the proceedings were unfair and the nuns endured mockery of their vocation before being sentenced to death that very day.

Their deaths were orderly, calm and holy.   Each Carmelite paused before their prioress and asked permission to fulfill her vow.   They sang together, chanting the Salve Regina, the Te Deum and Veni, Sancte Spiritus on their way to the guillotine and then intoned the psalm Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes (“Praise the Lord, all peoples”);  each stroke of the guillotine silenced another voice until at last the prioress walked up the steps to die. The usually cheering mob was unusually silent.

Place du Trône Renversé:  Until June 8, 1794, the guillotine had stood at what is today Place de la Concorde.   Because Robespierre planned a deistic celebration of the Cult of the Supreme Being on what should have been Pentecost Sunday and the stench of blood along the procession route would have interfered with the solemnity of the occasion, it had been moved to Place du Trône Renversé (the throne turned upside down).

The square had been the royal Place du Trône at the end of a grand entry from the east, along which the kings and queens of France had passed between two grand columns, topped by statues of the great crusading kings, St. Louis and Philippe-August.   The place’s name had been changed after the execution of Louis XVI.

In six weeks, 1,306 “enemies of the state” were decapitated there before the Terror ended.   A place of understandable horror, it was renamed Place de la Nation in 1880.

Within 10 days of the Carmelites’ martyrdom, Robespierre and the members of the Committee of Public Safety were executed at the same site.   The English Benedictines of Cambrai, safely home at Stanbrook Abbey, recalled their former cellmates.

The Benedictines had been released wearing the Carmelite’s civilian clothing and they regarded the clothes as relics of the martyrs.   They ascribed the end of the Reign of Terror to the martyrdom of the Carmelites, who were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X.

For pilgrims seeking to walk the path of the Carmelites, after leaving the whirl of the Place de la Nation, they should walk to Cimitière de Picpus where the Carmelites are buried in one of the two mass graves behind the wall next to the family tombs.   The opening hours are limited, the entrance fee is only two euros and it is far off the tourist track.   But it is peaceful and apart, perfect for a traveler who wants to be a pilgrim in Paris, contemplating the mystery and the glory of martyrdom.

More About the Martyrs:  The martyrs inspired the opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” by Francis Poulenc, based on Georges Bernanos’ play of the same title, which was based on Gertrud von le Fort’s fictional version, “The Song at the Scaffold.”   William Bush’s “To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne, Guillotined July 17, 1794,” published by the Institute of Carmelite Studies in 1999, is an excellent study and the main source for this article.

IMG_5323 (3)Martyrs-of-Compiegne


Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints’ Memorials – 17 July

St Alexius of Rome
St Andrew Zorard
Bl Arnold of Himmerod
Bl Bénigne
Bl Biagio of the Incarnation
St Clement of Ohrid
St Cynllo
St Ennodius of Pavia
St Fredegand of Kerkelodor
St Generosus
St Gorazd
St Hedwig, Queen of Poland
St Hyacinth of Amastris
St Kenelm
St Leo IV, Pope
St Marcellina
St Nerses Lambronazi
Bl Pavol Gojdic
St Petrus Liu Zeyu
Bl Sebastian of the Holy Spirit
Bl Tarsykia Matskiv
St Theodosius of Auxerre
St Theodota of Constantinople
St Turninus

Martyrs of Compiegne (16 beati): Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne.
Eleven Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters and two lay women servants who were martyred together in the French Revolution. They were the earliest martyrs of the French Revolution that have been recognized.
• Angelique Roussel • Anne Pelras • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret • Catherine Soiron • élisabeth-Julitte Vérolot • Marie Dufour • Marie Hanniset • Marie-Anne Piedcourt • Marie-Anne-Françoise Brideau • Marie-Claude-Cyprienne Brard • Marie-Françoise de Croissy • Marie-Gabrielle Trezel • Marie-Geneviève Meunier • Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine • Rose-Chretien de Neuville • Thérèse Soiron •
They were guillotined on 17 July 1794 at the Place du Trône Renversé (modern Place de la Nation) in Paris, France.

Martyrs of Scillium (12 saints): A group of twelve Christians martyred together, the final deaths in the persecutions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Upon their conviction for the crime of being Christians, the group was offered 30 days to reconsider their allegiance to the faith; they all declined. Their official Acta still exist. Their names –
• Acyllinus • Cythinus • Donata • Felix • Generosa • Januaria • Laetantius • Narzales • Secunda • Speratus • Vestina • Veturius
They were beheaded on 17 July 180 in Scillium, Numidia (in North Africa).