viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

Celebrating Martyrs of the French Revolution

Although it is not on the calendar of the Universal Church, today is the feast day of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. One could wonder what these 16 holy women have to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor, but it becomes clear if we recall the background of our foundress. Saint Jeanne Jugan was born in 1792; she was, therefore, a toddler when the 16 Carmelites from Compiegne, in nearby Normandy, made the sacrifice of their lives for the restoration of peace and order to France. They made this vow at the height of the Great Terror, a particularly violent stage of the French Revolution. They did not die in vain, since the guillotines ceased their terrible slaughter of innocent people ten days after their death.

On his blog, Father Steve Grunow points out the relevance of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne to our current situation as Catholics in our society: "The execution of the Carmelite Sisters of Compiegne is a sign that manifests the necessity of religious freedom as a privileged foundational principle to insure a just social order. It likely became utterly clear to the people of France that a government that would execute 16 nuns for daring to assert that their unique way of life transcended the power of the state to rule and regulate would likely kill anyone. No one would ever be safe.

"There are forces in our culture and in our world that even right now are pushing with ever greater force against the principle of religious freedom.

"We owe it to the memory of the 16 Martyrs of Compiegne to resist these forces, and to resist with the same weapons of the Holy Spirit that they employed and that ultimately brought them victory."

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