Today, we mark two anniversaries; the first a glorious victory of the faith through martyrdom. The second, a tragic loss through the betrayal of a modernist pope. On 17 July, 1794, the sixteen virgin martyrs of Compiegne gave their lives for the true faith. And also, on the day of infamy 17 July, 1967, the pathetic Pope Paul VI betrayed the faith by abolishing the Oath Against Modernism which had been placed as a bulwark against the rising tide of heresy in the Church, thus allowing the flood of modernism which has so ravaged the faith in these past 51 years.
On this day, 17 July, in 1794, the Holy, Roman Catholic Church gained 16 Virgin Martyrs, the Discalced Carmelites of Compiegne, victims of the Masonic Revolution in France. These brave and pure women, by their holy sacrifice purchased the end of the bloody tide of public beheadings. Although the public display of gory beheadings had run its course, the Satanic Revolution has, in various forms, continued on up to the present time. We do well to heed the example of these brave martyrs, for we may sooner or later be called upon to defend the faith ourselves.
THE SIXTEEN CARMELITE MARTYRS OF COMPIEGNE
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 fervor. 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 honor of the founder of their order, 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 meant 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 when the news of the September massacres came, mingling glorious martyrdom with apostasy, the community made their offering. In July, 1794 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.