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Friday, July 25, 2014
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Daily Saint


July 09: The Martyrs of Orange

The martyrs of Orange lived in the eighteenth century, They were thirty-two nuns. During the French Revolution, these sisters, from different religious orders, were jailed in Orange, France. There were sixteen Ursuline sisters, thirteen Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, two Bernardine sisters and one Benedictine sister.

While the French Revolution raged, these nuns were told that they had to take an oath of loyalty to the leaders of the Revolution. The sisters believed that the oath was against God and the Church. Each refused to sign it and were taken to the Orange jail. Some of the sisters had lived in the same convents before they came to jail. Others did not know any of the sisters until they met in prison. The nuns formed a community in that dark, damp room. They prayed together at particular times during the day. They cheered up and consoled each other and bonded as the early persecuted Christian Church had. On July 6, the first sister was taken to trial and condemned to the guillotine. She never returned. Every day another sister, some days two sisters, were taken. No one knew who would be next. The group diminished in size, but the remaining sisters prayed especially for those who would die that day. Then they would sing a hymn of praise to God called the Te Deum.

By the end of July, 1794, thirty-two sisters had been condemned by the people's court at Orange, France. Thirty-two sisters were martyrs. When the French Revolution was over, the judges of Orange were convicted for what they had done. The thirty-two sisters called the martyrs of Orange were declared "blessed" by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

Reflection: In times of difficulty, how am I able to both give and receive support within my faith community?