Saint of the Day – 21 February – Blessed Noel Pinot (1747-1794) Priest and Martyr – born on 19 December 1747, aged 46, at Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France and died by being guillotined on 21 February 1794 at Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France. He wore his Mass vestments to execution and died reciting the opening words of the Mass.
Born the last of sixteen children to a humble weaver, he lost his father when he was eight years old. He entered the seminary in Angers. He was Ordained a Priest on 22 December 1770.
He was first appointed vicar in Bousse in 1772 and then chaplain at Angers in August 1781. In September 1789 he became pastor of Le Louroux-Béconnais commune.
During the French Revolution, he refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy unlike his superior, who took the oath on Sunday, 23 January 1791 and was later a member of the Petite Église. He was accused by the revolutionary municipality of “engaging in ecclesiastical activities to oppose the law.” On Sunday 27 February he was brought before the court. Denounced, he was arrested on 5 March and sentenced to banishment by the District Court. He hid in Beaupreau. Returning to Louroux in 1793, during the war of Vendee, he went into hiding after the failure of the royalist insurgents against Nantes.
He was arrested on the night of 8 February 1794 during a clandestine Mass he celebrated at the farm where he was hiding.
After ten days of imprisonment, the rebel was brought before the revolutionary court, which held its trials in a deconsecrated church. On this day, 21 February, the committee was presided over by Citizen Roussel. By a horrifying coincidence, this revolutionary officer was an apostate priest, who had initially taken the oath, then left the priesthood! But in Anjou, no one knew his past. After he had given the sentence, Roussel looked at the vestments displayed before the court and mockingly suggested to the prisoner: “Wouldn’t you be well pleased to go to the guillotine in your vestments?”—“Yes,” agreed the confessor of the faith without hesitation, “it would be for me a great consolation.”—“Well, then,” the other replied, “you will wear them and be executed in this get-up.” He mounted the scaffold reciting the first prayers of the mass Introibo ad altare Dei – ‘Come to the Altar of God.’
A statue at the Cathedral of Angers represents the first step of climbing the “altar of God”.
On 26 August 1864 Guillaume Angebault, bishop of Angers recommended Father Brouillet to the commission to “proceed with the canonical investigation into the life and virtues of the priest”.
He was Beatified by Pope Pius XI on 31 October 1926. Ninety-nine Martyrs d’Angers were Beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 19 February 1984.
Blessed Noël Pinot, who has been associated with the Priesthood of Jesus, Sovereign Priest, deign to show your power of intercession towards your servants.
Pray that our Priests may be enlightened and strengthened, make them, like you, invincible in the defence of the faith.
Encourage priestly and religious vocations in our parishes, pray to fill the aspirants to the Priesthood and to religious life with generous zeal.
Obtain the grace for the faithful, to know their religion better and to practice it.
May families be strengthened in the fidelity to all the duties, the docility and the respect towards their shepherd priests.
May children and youth be preserved from so many dangers which threaten their beliefs and their virtue. Thwart the plots of those who want to snatch them from the maternal womb of the Church.
Pray for the sick and infirm, that they may be strengthened.
Finally Lord, by the prayers of Blessed Noel, kindly bless and crown with success the apostolic labours of the Ministers of Christ and of all activists, with a view to restoring in dear France the reign of the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed Noel Pinot, pray for us!