The Siege of Belgrade (or Battle of Belgrade, or Siege of Nándorfehérvár) occurred from July 4 to July 22, 1456.

Statue of John Hunyadi in Budapest, Heroes' Square

Statue of John Hunyadi in Budapest, Heroes’ Square

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II was rallying his resources in order to subjugate the Kingdom of Hungary. His immediate objective was the border fort of the town of Belgrade (in old Hungarian Nándorfehérvár). John Hunyadi, a Hungarian nobleman and warlord, who had fought many battles against the Ottomans in the previous two decades, prepared the defense of the fortress.

The siege eventually escalated into a major battle, during which Hunyadi led a sudden counterattack that overran the Ottoman camp, ultimately compelling the wounded Sultan Mehmed II to lift the siege and retreat. The battle had significant consequences, as it stabilized the southern frontiers of the Kingdom of Hungary for more than half a century and thus considerably delayed the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.

The Pope celebrated the victory as well, and he previously ordered all Catholic kingdoms to pray for the victory of the defenders of Belgrade. This led to the noon bell ritual that is still undertaken in Catholic churches to this day.

Since 2011, the date 22nd of July, when Christian forces led by John Hunyadi defeated the Ottoman Turks besieging Belgrade in 1456, is a national memorial day in Hungary.

Portrait of Mehmed II by Venetian artist Gentile Bellini

Portrait of Mehmed II by Venetian artist Gentile Bellini

Preparations

At the end of 1455, after a public reconciliation with all his enemies, Hunyadi began preparations. At his own expense, he provisioned and armed the fortress. Leaving in it a strong garrison under the command of his brother-in-law Mihály Szilágyi and his own eldest son László. Hunyadi then proceeded to form a relief army and an additional fleet of two hundred corvettes. The barons fearing Hunyadi’s growing power more than the Ottoman threat, leaving Hunyadi entirely to his own resources.

A Franciscan friar allied with Hunyadi, Giovanni da Capistrano, preached a crusade to attract peasants and yeomanry to Hunyadi’s cause. The recruits were ill-armed (many with only slings and scythes) but full of enthusiasm. The recruits flocked to the standard of Hunyadi, the core of which consisted of a small band of seasoned mercenaries and a few banderia of noble horsemen. All in all, Hunyadi managed to build a force of 25–30,000 men.

Siege

However, before these forces could be assembled, Mehmed II’s invasion army (160,000 men in early accounts, 60-70,000 according to newer research) arrived at Belgrade. On July 4, 1456, the siege began. Szilágyi could rely on a force of only 5,000-7,000 men in the castle. Mehmed set up his siege on the neck of the headland and started firing on the walls on June 29. He arrayed his men in three sections. The Rumelian (that is, European) corps had the majority of his 300 cannons, and his fleet of 200 or so river vessels had the rest. The Rumelians were arrayed on the right wing and the Anatolian corps was arrayed on the left. In the middle were the sultan’s personal guards, the janissaries, and his command post. The Anatolian corps and the janissaries were both heavy infantry troops. Mehmed posted his river vessels mainly to the northwest of the city to patrol the marshes and ensure that the fortress was not reinforced. They also kept an eye on the Sava to the southwest to avoid the infantry’s being outflanked by Hunyadi’s army. The Danube to the east was guarded by the spahi, the sultan’s light cavalry corps, to avoid being outflanked on the right.

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St. Bridget of Sweden

July 22, 2024

St. Catherine of Sweden (right) and her Mother, St. Bridget of Sweden (left). Painting from the Högsby church in Smalandia.

The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July, 1373.

She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country, and, like her mother, distinguished by deep piety.

St. Ingrid, whose death had occurred about twenty years before Bridget’s birth, was a near relative of the family. Birger’s daughter received a careful religious training, and from her seventh year showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget’s mother after the latter’s death (c. 1315), she owed that unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her. In 1316, at the age of thirteen, she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget soon made her name known far and wide. She was acquainted with several learned and pious theologians, among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping, Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias. She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson, over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return journey her husband was stricken with an attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland. Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The visions which she believed herself to have had from her early childhood now became more frequent and definite. She believed that Christ  Himself appeared to her, and she wrote down the revelations she then received, which were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter. St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation, the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349, and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373. In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life, and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in her native land. The year following her death her remains were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.

Reliquary of Saint Bridget of Sweden at Vadstena Monastery Church.

Vita S. Birgittœ, complied by her confessors PETER OF VADSTENA, and PETER OF ALVASTR in 1373, ANNERSTEDT ed. in Script. rerum Svecicarum medii avi (Upeala, 1871-76), III, Pt. II, 188 sqq.; Vita S. Birgittœ auctore Birgero, archiep. Upsalensi in Acta SS., Oct., IV, 485 sqq.; Vita auctore Bartholdo de Roma (Rome) 495 sqq.; SCHÜCK, Svensk Literatur-historia (Stockholm, 1890), 129 sqq.; HAMMERICH, Den hellige Birgitta og Kirken i Norden (Copenhagen, 1863), German tr. MICHELSEN (Gotha, 1872); BINDER, Die hl. Birgitta von Schweden und ihr Klosterorden (Munich, 1891); RINGSEIS, Leben der hl. Birgitta (Ratisbon, 1890); FLAVIGNY, Ste. Birgitta de Suede (Paris, 1892); JOANN. DE TURRECREMATA, Liber revelationum celestium S. Birgitte de regno Swecie (Rome, 1488, and often reprinted), with notes by GUNDISALVI DURANTI (Rome, 1606); HEUSER (ed.), Revelationes selectœ (Cologne, 1851); KLEMMING (ed.), H. Birgittas uppenbarelser (4 vols., Sotckholm, 1857-62); Certayne reuelacyons of St. Birgitte, with an epistle of St. Bernard (London, s.d.); MEGERLE tr., Birgittæ von Schweden himmlische Offenbarungen (2 vols., Cologne, 1664).

J.P. HIRSCH (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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July 24 – Chaste Queen

July 22, 2024

Saint Kinga of Poland

Painting of St. Kinga by Grzegorz Czarnic

(also known as Cunegunda, Kunigunda, Kunegunda, Cunegundes, Kioga, Zinga; Polish: Święta Kinga, Hungarian: Szent Kinga)

Poor Clare and patroness of Poland and Lithuania; born in 1224; died 24 July, 1292, at Sandeck, Poland.

She was the daughter of King Bela IV and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and from her infancy it pleased God to give tokens of the eminent sanctity to which she was later to attain. With extreme reluctance she consented to her marriage with Boleslaus II, Duke of Cracow and Sandomir, who afterwards became King of Poland (Bolesław V the Chaste). Not long after their marriage, the pious couple made a vow of perpetual chastity in the presence of the Bishop of Cracow; and Cunegundes, amidst the splendour and pomp of the royal household, gave herself up to the practice of the severest austerities. She often visited the poor and the sick in the hospitals, and cared even for the lepers with a charity scarcely less than heroic.

Painting by Florian Cynk of the Miner presenting the engagement ring to the Queen.

In 1279, King Boleslaus died, and Kinga, despite the entreaties of her people that she should take in hand the government of the kingdom, sold all her earthly possessions for the relief of the poor and entered the monastery of the Poor Clares at Sandeck. The remaining thirteen years of her life she spent in prayer and penance, edifying her fellow religious by her numerous virtues, especially by her heroic humility. She never permitted anyone to refer to the fact that she had once been a queen and was foundress of the community at Sandeck.
Pope Alexander VIII beatified Kinga in 1690. In 1695 she was made chief patroness of Poland and Lithuania. On June 16, 1999 she was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, started in the 13th century and operated until 2007, is often referred to as “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.” The miners attended Mass daily, but with the mine being over 300 km long it was necessary to construct several chapels within the mine. The Cathedral of St. Kinga is the largest, and most elaborate of Wieliczka’s forty chapels. It is lined with several highly detailed frescos that were carved by three men and their assistants, working for 60 years. The altar, chandeliers, and even the floor are all made of salt. According to Polish tradition, the mine’s discovery in the 13th century was due to Queen St. Kinga. Queen St. Kinga threw her engagement ring into the Maramures salt mine in Hungary, and the ring was carried by the salt deposits to Wieliczka where it was rediscovered and presented to the Queen. Within the Janowice Chamber, there is a salt sculpture depicting the story of St. Kinga, with a miner handing a block of salt to Queen Kinga, containing her engagement ring. Saint Kinga’s relics were placed in a niche of the altar in the Cathedral of St. Kinga.

(cfr. Catholic Encyclopedia: Bl. Cunegundes)

Nobility.org Editorial comment:

Saint Kinga is one more magnificent example of the many saintly kings and queens of the Middle Ages.
These holy sovereigns understood their temporal duties and fulfilled them to perfection and labored without respite for the common good of their peoples.
At the death of her husband, St. Kinga became a Poor Clare. Her famous aunt, St. Elizabeth ofHungary, had become a Third Order Franciscan. How different her times are to ours today.

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Daniel Roche a French social and cultural historian.

From studying signatures of wills Daniel Roche has discovered astonishing figures of adult literacy in the capital at the end of the old regime [France, before the French Revolution of 1789]. In Montmartre, for example, where 40 percent of the testators belonged to the artisan or salaried classes, 74 percent of men and 64 percent of women could sign their names. In the rue Saint-Honoré—a fashionable street, but one where a third of the residents belonged to the common people—literacy rates stood at 93 percent. In the artisanal rue Saint-Denis, 86 percent of men and 73 percent of women made out and signed their own contracts of marriage.

Map of France before the French Revolution, drawn by Rigobert Bonne in 1771.

[D]omestic servants, who also came from the countryside, were virtually all literate, able to read their contracts of employment. The ‘little schools’ promoted by the Catholic missions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had evidently done their wok well. Around 1780, according to Roche, 35 percent of all wills made by the popular classes contained some books as did 40 percent of those in the shopkeeping and petty trades. 

Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), p. 180.

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Ancien Régime. Deer Hunt in the Grandes Ecuries at Chantilly. Painting by Nicolas Anne Dubois

Throughout the colonial period of the three Americas, the respective mother countries were governed by a regime that, some differences aside, is known generically as the Old Regime. This was the system European countries implanted in their colonies.

With the successive proclamations of independence by the American nations, this regime ceased to exist in the New World. In effect, the several independence movements worked as so many “French Revolutions,” for they almost entirely demolished the Old Regime in the Americas. To a greater or lesser degree, the Old Regime was supplanted by regimes with goals and “ideals” stemming from the French and the American Revolutions.

It is illusory to think that these movements in the colonies sought only to proclaim independence from their respective mother countries. They also intended to make the Revolution,(1) which was not merely a revolution for independence but the egalitarian Revolution for the overthrow of the Old Regime and the installation of egalitarian democracies in every country.

A caricature of the Old Regime, 1789, showing The Old Regime as the Clergy, the Aristocrats and the Peasants, implying that the entire burden was being placed on the Peasants.

A widespread myth exists in the Americas that at a certain moment fiery explosions of republican and egalitarian sentiment erupted spontaneously, consuming the last remnants of colonial traditions. This is obviously an exaggeration.
Clearly, there was a common revolutionary ideology behind these revolutions. Clearly, they exerted an influence on each other. A victorious revolution in one nation heightened the conviction that a similar movement could succeed elsewhere and imparted an élan to revolutionaries, a precious factor in their ultimate victory.

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Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Old magazines are often very charming. This is true even when what comes down to us are only loose undated pages that give us glimpses of the remote past.

A Paris journal of the last century, L ‘Illustration, carried an article, “Customs of the Café Valois,” written by A. de Belloy, whose memory has been whisked away by time.

What is the date of these pages? The article gives us only the most vague elements as to the answer. It is safe to place them somewhere in the 1860’s. In any case they have the merit of evoking certain values of the social conduct of old. Values that increasingly disappeared as large cities came into being in the last century, and of which, not even vestiges have remained among the general public of today’s Babels of concrete, steel and asphalt. They were precious values that endowed social relationships with human warmth and that stemmed from the fact that the civilization of yesteryear was centered more around the goods of the soul than those of the body, while later, materialism increasingly shaped customs and institutions.

Here we will quote extensively from the aforementioned article to stimulate reaction against this decay. One that makes so many noble characters suffer and painfully stifles so many healthy initiatives. After evoking the picturesque ambience of the Parisian cafés of the second quarter of the nineteenth century, some of which were centers of a refined social life while others displayed a rich ideological effervescence, the writer laments that they were replaced by new cafes of banal, unstylish luxury and an atmosphere of an establishment whose customers thought only of eating and drinking and whose proprietors only thought of making money.

As a counterpoise to this materialized environment, this article evokes the picturesque customs of the old cafés and the deeply affable and trusting relationships that frequently developed among them.

What took place between the Chevalier de Lautrec and the owner of the Café Valois during the French Revolution faithfully illustrates the sweetness of life that the café ambience once had.

It should be noted that one of the effects of the French Revolution, that devoured aristocratic blood and Catholicity, was to impoverish many of those noble families that survived the Terror. However, in spite of the ravages of one of the most violent revolutions in history, the values of Christian generosity and nobility of soul did not vanish. The following words of Monsieur de Belloy describe one such case.

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Saint Arnulf of Metz

Statesman, bishop under the Merovingians, born c. 580; died c. 640.

Stained glass window in Saint-Lambert à Bellevaux Church in Luxembourg. Photo by Jean Housen.

His parents belonged to a distinguished Frankish family, and lived in Austrasia, the eastern section of the kingdom founded by Clovis. In the school in which he was placed during his boyhood he excelled through his talent and his good behaviour. According to the custom of the age, he was sent in due time to the court of Theodebert II, King of Austrasia (595-612), to be initiated in the various branches of the government. Under the guidance of Gundulf, the Mayor of the Palace, he soon became so proficient that he was placed on the regular list of royal officers, and among the first of the kings ministers. He distinguished himself both as a military commander and in the civil administration; at one time he had under his care six distinct provinces. In due course Arnulf was married to a Frankish woman of noble lineage, by whom he had two sons, Anseghisel and Clodulf.

 

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While Arnulf was enjoying worldly emoluments and honours he did not forget higher and spiritual things. His thoughts dwelled often on monasteries, and with his friend Romaricus, likewise an officer of the court, he planned to make a pilgrimage to the Abbey of Lérins, evidently for the purpose of devoting his life to God. But in the meantime the Episcopal See of Metz became vacant. Arnulf was universally designated as a worthy candidate for the office, and he was consecrated bishop of that see about 611. In his new position he set the example of a virtuous life to his subjects, and attended to matters of ecclesiastical government. In 625 he took part in a council held by the Frankish bishops at Reims. With all this Arnulf retained his station at the court of the king, and took a prominent part in the national life of his people. In 613, after the death of Theodebert, he, with Pepin of Landen and other nobles, called to Austrasia Clothaire II, King of Neustria. When, in 625, the realm of Austrasia was entrusted to the kings son Dagobert, Arnulf became not only the tutor, but also the chief minister, of the young king. At the time of the estrangement between the two kings, and 625, Arnulf with other bishops and nobles tried to effect a reconciliation. But Arnulf dreaded the responsibilities of the episcopal office and grew weary of court life. About the year 626 he obtained the appointment of a successor to the Episcopal See of Metz; he himself and his friend Romaricus withdrew to a solitary place in the mountains of the Vosges. There he lived in communion with God until his death. His remains, interred by Romaricus, were transferred about a year afterwards, by Bishop Goeric, to the basilica of the Holy Apostles in Metz.

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St. Camillus de Lellis

Born at Bacchianico, Naples, 1550; died at Rome, 14 July, 1614.

Saint Camillus de Lellis

He was the son of an officer who had served both in the Neapolitan and French armies. His mother died when he was a child, and he grew up absolutely neglected. When still a youth he became a soldier in the service of Venice and afterwards of Naples, until 1574, when his regiment was disbanded. While in the service he became a confirmed gambler, and in consequence of his losses at play was at times reduced to a condition of destitution. The kindness of a Franciscan friar induced him to apply for admission to that order, but he was refused. He then betook himself to Rome, where he obtained employment in the Hospital for Incurables. He was prompted to go there chiefly by the hope of a cure of abscesses in both his feet from which he had been long suffering. He was dismissed from the hospital on account of his quarrelsome disposition and his passion for gambling.

The the emblem of Camillians, Order of Regular Clerics Ministers to the Sick.

The the emblem of Camillians, Order of Regular Clerics Ministers to the Sick.

He again became a Venetian soldier, and took part in the campaign against the Turks in 1569. After the war he was employed by the Capuchins at Manfredonia on a new building which they were erecting. His old gambling habit still pursued him, until a discourse of the guardian of the convent so startled him that he determined to reform. He was admitted to the order as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed on account of his infirmity. He betook himself again to Rome, where he entered the hospital in which he had previously been, and after a temporary cure of his ailment became a nurse, and winning the admiration of the institution by his piety and prudence, he was appointed director of the hospital.

1983 plaque on the facade of the Chapel of "Santissima Annunziata" at the Università Statale (State University) in Milan, Italy. It commemorates the fact that Saint Camillus de Lellis worked here when this building housed a hospital.

1983 plaque on the facade of the Chapel of “Santissima Annunziata” at the Università Statale (State University) in Milan, Italy. It commemorates the fact that Saint Camillus de Lellis worked here when this building housed a hospital.

While in this office, he attempted to found an order of lay infirmarians, but the scheme was opposed, and on the advice of his friends, among whom was his spiritual guide, St. Philip Neri, he determined to become a priest. He was then thirty-two years of age and began the study of Latin at the Jesuit College in Rome. He afterwards established his order, the Fathers of a Good Death (1584), and bound the members by vow to devote themselves to the plague-stricken; their work was not restricted to the hospitals, but included the care of the sick in their homes. Pope Sixtus V confirmed the congregation in 1586, and ordained that there should be an election of a general superior every three years. Camillus was naturally the first, and was succeeded by an Englishman, named Roger. Two years afterwards a house was established in Naples, and there two of the community won the glory of being the first martyrs of charity of the congregation, by dying in the fleet which had been quarantined off the harbour, and which they had visited to nurse the sick.

Saint_Camille_de_Lellis

In 1591 Gregory XIV erected the congregation into a religious order, with all the privileges of the mendicants. It was again confirmed as such by Clement VIII, in 1592. The infirmity which had prevented his entrance among the Capuchins continued to afflict Camillus for forty-six years, and his other ailments contributed to make his life one of uninterrupted suffering, but he would permit no one to wait on him, and when scarcely able to stand would crawl out of his bed to visit the sick. He resigned the generalship of the order, in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the sick and poor. Meantime he had established many houses in various cities of Italy. He is said to have had the gift of miracles and prophecy. He died at the age of sixty-four while pronouncing a moving appeal to his religious brethren. He was buried near the high altar of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Rome, and, when the miracles which were attributed to him were officially approved, his body was placed under the altar itself. He was beatified in 1742, and in 1746 was canonized by Benedict XIV.

The tomb of St. Camillus in Santa Maria Magdalena, Rome.

The tomb of St. Camillus in Santa Maria Magdalena, Rome.

BUTLER, Lives of the Saints (Derby, 1845); Bullar. Roman,, XVI, 83; CICATELLO, Life of St. Camillus (Rome, 1749); GOSCHLER, Dict. de theol. cath. (Paris, 1869), III.

T.J. CAMPBELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Blessed Hroznata of Bohemia

Founder of the Monasteries of Teplá and Chotěšov, born (c) 1170, died July 14, 1217.

In the happy reign of Premysl, – also called Ottacar, – king of Bohemia, among the other magnates of the kingdom the first place at court, next to the king’s magnificence, was held by Hroznata, the descendant of an illustrious and princely line. The high position conferred by his birth he so adorned by the beauty of his character and his virtues, being made more excellent by his judgment and bountiful natural gifts, that he was revered by all with ardent affection. Possessing not learning only, but abundance of worldly goods, he would relieve from his own resources the needs of the destitute around him with farsighted beneficence. He was the pious comforter of the sorrowing, the father of the orphan, the supporter of the afflicted, ever keeping unobserved beneath his military cloak the steadfast purpose of a holy life. He rendered to God the things which are God’s with devoted zeal: to his king the things which were the king’s, with loyal obedience: to every man his own, with affection according to his deserts.

Blessed Hroznata's birth

Blessed Hroznata’s birth

Obedient from his earliest years to the fear and love of the Lord, he reached at last the period of early manhood and took to himself a wife of noble birth, with whom he dwelt many years in the hope of offspring, and at last by the grace of heaven became by her the father of a lovely son. His earnest wish thus gratified, he trusted that he had now obtained an heir to his possessions. But Christ had not thus ordained, willing that He himself should be Hroznata’s heir: which came to pass, as will be fully shown in the sequel. The boy survived but a short time, and died. Bereft of her one child’s endearing presence, and weeping and lamenting his death, the mother, too, whose only son he was, herself rested in the peace of Christ.
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St. Ansegisus

Born about 770, of noble parentage; died 20 July, 833, or 834.

At the age of eighteen he entered the Benedictine monastery of Fontanelle (also called St. Vandrille after the name of its founder) in the diocese of Rouen. St. Girowald, a relative of Ansegisus, was then Abbot of Fontanelle.

From the beginning of his monastic life St. Ansegisus manifested a deep piety united with great learning, and upon the recommendation of the Abbot St. Girowald he was entrusted by the Emperor Charlemagne with the government and reform of two monasteries, St. Sixtus near Reims and St. Memius (St. Mange) in the diocese of Challons­-sur­-Marne. Under the direction of St. Ansegisus these two monasteries soon regained their original splendour.

Abbey of Saint-Germer-de-Fly

Charlemagne, being much pleased with the success of Ansegisus, appointed him Abbot of Flay, or St. Germer, a monastery in the Diocese of Beauvais, the buildings of which were threatening to fall into ruins. At the same time Charlemagne made Ansegisus supervisor of royal works under the general direction of Abbot Einhard. Under the management of Ansegisus the structures of the monastery of Flay were completely renovated, monastic discipline was restored, and the monks were instructed in the sacred and the profane sciences.

Fontenelle Abbey Photo by Urban

Louis le Débonnaire esteemed Ansegisus as highly as his father Charlemagne had done and, seeing how all monasteries flourished that had at one time been under the direction of Ansegisus, he put him at the head of the maonastery of Luxeuil in the year 817. This monastery was founded by St. Columban as early as 590 and, during the seventh and the first half of the eighth century, was the most renowned monastery and school of Christendom. Of late, however, its discipline had grown lax. Having restored this monastery to its former splendour, he was in 823, after the death of Abbot Einhard, transferred as abbot to the monastery of Fontanelle, where he had spent the early days of his monastic life. He immediately applied himself with vigour to restore monastic fervour by pious exhortations and, most of all, by his own edifying example. Some learned and saintly monks whom he invited from Luxeuil to Fontanelle assisted him in his great work of reform. Hand in hand with a reform of discipline came a love for learning. The library was enriched with valuable books, such as the Bible, some works of St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory the Great, St. Bede, etc. The most learned of the monks were put to writing original works, while the others occupied themselves with transcribing valuable old books and manuscripts. In a short time the library of Fontanelle became one of the largest in Europe and acquired great renown for accuracy of transcribing and beauty of writing. A dormitory, a refectory, a chapter­house, a library, and other new structures were erected at Fontanelle by St. Ansegisus. On account of his great learning and prudence he was often sent as legate to distant countries by Louis le Débonnaire. The many and costly presents which he received as legate from foreign princes he distributed among various monasteries. While Abbot of Fontanelle he wrote a “Constitutio pro monachis de victu et vestitu”, in which he determines exactly how much food, what articles of dress, etc., the monks were to receive from the different landed properties of the monastery. The work which made the name of Ansegisus renowned for all times is his collection of the laws and decrees made by the Emperor Charlemagne and his son Louis le Débonnaire. These laws and decrees being divided into articles or chapters, are generally called “Capitulars”. Ansegisus was the first to collect all those “Capitulars” into the four books entitled “Quatuor libri Capitularium Regum Francorum”. The first and the second book contained all “Capitulars” relating to church affairs, while the third and the fourth books had all the “Capitulars” relating to state affairs. It was completed in the year 827. Shortly afterwards it was approved by the Church in France, Germany, and Italy, and remained for a long time the official book on civil and canon law. Shortly before his death Ansegisus was attacked by paralysis which ended his holy and useful life on 20 July, 833 or 834. His earthly remains lie buried in the Abbey of Fontanelle, where his feast is celebrated on 20 July, the day of his death.

 

LECHNER, Martyrologium des Benediktiner Ordens (Augsburg, 1855); STADLER, Heiligen Lexikon (Augsburg, 1858), I, 234; Gesta abbat. Fontanell. in DACHERY, Spicileg., 1st ed., II, 279 sqq., and Mon. Germ. Hist. (Scriptores), II, 293, sqq.; MABILLON, Acta ss. ord. s. Bened. (Sæc., IV), IV (I), 630 sqq.; ZIEGELBAUER, Hist. Rei Lit. Bened., IV, 216, 259. The Capitularia were first edited by BALUZE (Paris, 1677-88); for a new and critical edition see BORETIUS, in Mon. Germ. Hist. (Leges, Sect. II), Capitularia regum Francorum (Hanover, 1883, 1890, 1897), I-II; the second volume is by BOTIUS AND KRAUSE. The PERTZ edition (op. cit., Leges, I, 256 sqq.) is found in P.L., XCVII, 489 sqq.; SCHMID in Kirchenlex.

MICHAEL OTT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Mary Elizabeth a Court Repington, Lady Herbert of Lea

Mary Elizabeth a Court Repington, Lady Herbert of Lea

Mary Elizabeth Ashe à Court-Repington was born in Richmond, Surrey, on July 21, 1822. She was the only daughter of Lieutenant-General Charles Ashe à Court-Repington, member of Parliament, and the niece of William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury, British Ambassador to the Russian Imperial Court at St. Petersburg.

In August 1846, at the age of 24, she married The Honorable Sidney Herbert, second son of the 11th Earl of Pembroke.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856), her husband was made Secretary of War, and in 1862, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea and a peer of the realm, but died within months, leaving Lady Herbert a widow at 39 years of age, with four young sons and three tender daughters.

Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea, husband of Mary Elizabeth Ashe à Court-Repington.

Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea, husband of Mary Elizabeth Ashe à Court-Repington.

Her eldest son George inherited the barony, and in the following year, he succeeded his uncle as the 13th Earl of Pembroke and 10th Earl of Montgomery.

For many years, Lady Herbert had felt drawn to the Catholic Church, but hesitated greatly in converting, for fear that her young children would be taken from her. Prior to his own conversion to the Catholic faith in 1851, the future Cardinal Manning had been an intimate friend and even spiritual director to her and her husband. But not wanting to create political difficulties for his noble friends, the learned convert had discontinued all contact.

Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of Westminster.

Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of Westminster.

One day, Lady Herbert could resist no longer and dropped in for a visit. Kneeling before him, she asked for his blessing, which he gave in silence.

More and more attracted to the faith, she opened her heart and disclosed her fears to the future Cardinal. He asked her if she had heard of St. Jane Francis de Chantal. When this saint told her children that she was resolved to enter the religious life, a son lied down across the threshold of the door to prevent her leaving. But undaunted, the saint had stepped over him. The example helped Lady Herbert find the moral strength to convert. She abjured Anglicanism and entered the Catholic Church in 1866, five years after her husband’s death.*

She became an “ardent ultramontane,” meaning a strong defender of the Papacy and its rights, and her great spiritual friend, now Archbishop of Westminster, turned out to be the great English champion for the proclaiming of the dogma of papal infallibility in 1870, during the First Vatican Council.

Mary Elizabeth Ashe à Court-Repington

Her children were taken from her and made wards in Chancery, being raised in the Church of England. Only her eldest daughter, Mary, followed her into the Catholic faith.

Lady Herbert continued to have much influence in Britain’s high society. She wrote and translated extensively, bringing into English from its original French, Father Augustine Berthe’s acclaimed Garcia Moreno. After her conversion to the Catholicism, she traveled to Rome on pilgrimage on an almost annual basis.

Baroness Herbert of Lea died at Herbert House in London, on October 30, 1911.

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* Cf. How I entered the fold by Lady Herbert of Lea

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 400

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Saint Pompilio Maria Pirrotti (29 September 1710 – 15 July 1766), born Domenico Michele Giovan Battista, was born on 29 September 1710 as the sixth of eleven children to the nobleman Girolamo Pirrotti and Orsola Bozzuti – his father was a Doctor of Law. One brother was named Pompilio Maria Pirrotti. He was baptized the following 30 September.

Despite the opposition of his parents when he was sixteen he consulted with his confessor on his religious vocation and fled his parents’ home. He travelled to Benevento in order to pursue a path in a religious order. His father wrote to him a moving letter explaining his position on the matter and asking for his son’s forgiveness; Girolamo also gave Pirrotti his blessing for his son’s future.

At the age of eighteen he entered the Piarist order and assumed the name of “Pompilio Maria” in honor of his dead brother of that same name. At this time he toured various Italian regions close to his hometown during his formation in the order. He assumed the habit in the novitiate of Santa Maria di Caravaggio in Naples on 2 February 1727 and at the end of the first year of his novitiate obtained a special dispensation allowing for him not to proceed into the second; he made his solemn profession on 25 March 1728 in Brindisi and changed his name to that of “Pompilio Maria of Saint Nicholas”.

St. Pompilio Maria Pirrotti

Pirrotti was sent to Chieti in order to continue his philosophical studies but he fell ill around this period. He believed that a change of climate would be to his benefit so was moved to Melfi in Potenza where he continued his studies. He later travelled for further studies in Turi in Bari in 1733 after recovering from his illness. It was there in Bari that he served as a teacher of literature. Pirrotti returned to Naples where he was assigned to a Piarist house in Lecce as its superior and the Master of Novices.

Pirrotti was ordained to the priesthood on 20 March 1734 from the Archbishop of Brindisi Andrea Maddalena. He was stationed in Brindisi from 1736 to 1739 and was in Ortona from 1739 to 1742.

King Charles of Naples

During the famine that occurred near his hometown in 1765 he was on hand to distribute bread to the poor and to those suffering the most from the famine. He became known as a saint in his hometown and in the surrounding areas and was known for his strong Marian devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he dubbed “Mamma Bella”. Pirrotti also had a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and spread the devotion of the Via Crucis. He also established the “Charity of God” as a means of spreading the Christian virtues and also to support the dying.

From 1747 he began to suffer persecutions from detractors which led to him being suspended from hearing confessions on the orders of the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples Antonio Sersale. King Charles III later signed a decree that led to Pirrotti’s expulsion from the Kingdom of Naples; he rescinded the order upon increasing public pressure.

Santuario San Pompilio Maria Pirrotti

On 15 April 1765 Pirrotti began the long journey to Ancona and arrived in Lecce on 12 July 1766. After celebrating Mass on 13 July, he went to hear confessions, but was suddenly taken ill and immediately confined to his bed. He died and was buried where he was, in Apulia; but in 1966 his remains were transferred to the Sanctuary created for him, Santuario San Pompilio Maria Pirrotti.

Pope Pius XI canonized him on 19 March 1934.

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By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

She fought the Revolution when she lived in the Court and later in the Carmel. She died poisoned by the revolutionaries, but her example continues to bear fruit to this day.

Princess Louise Marie of France (1737–1787), youngest daughter of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska.

Ed.: The author makes comments throughout the reading of the text on Princess Louise Marie of France. The English translation of the text being commented on is shown in quotes.]

 

Tomorrow, December 23, is the feast of the Venerable Therese of Saint Augustine, Virgin. There are copious data about her transcribed from “Les Vies des Saints et fêtes de toute l’année” by Fr. Daras, t. XII, Louis-Vivès Libraire-Editeur, Paris, 1856, Appendice – Vie de Madame Louise de France, 409-452:

“Princess Louise Marie de France, daughter of King Louis XV and Queen Maria Leczinska, Princess of Poland, was born in Versailles on July 15, 1737. She was educated at the abbey of Fontevrault, then run by Madame de Rochechouart.

“Still very young, she suffered an accident that almost cost her life. Impatient that her maid did not come at once to serve her, she climbed up the grate of her bed and fell. Although treated immediately, that fall brought her to the gates of death and left her with a physical deformity. On that occasion, the nuns of the monastery made a vow to the Virgin for the health of the princess and she was miraculously healed. She never forgot that she owed them her life, and that marked her in a profound way.

Venerable Louise-Marie of France; Portrait by Jean-Marc Nattier, 1748. She was declared Venerable in 1873 by Pope Pius IX.

“From childhood she showed an inclination to a life of piety and never got tired of the duration of the Divine Office. One day she wept bitterly because a lady servant told her about a foreign prince who would be her husband. However, she was proud of her position. On one occasion, feeling offended by one of her ladies, she said sourly, ‘Am I not the daughter of your king?’ And the lady answered, ‘And am I not, Madam, the daughter of your God?’ ‘You are right,’ replied the princess, touched by the answer; ‘I was wrong and beg your pardon.’

“She was extremely liberal with the poor ….”

Here, “liberal” means generous, open-handed.

“… On returning to court, she gave them the money received for her expenses, keeping nothing for herself. The maid in charge of her expenses became accustomed to giving the poor what she had received for Louise Marie, even without consulting her.

“Energetic in character, she enjoyed strenuous exercises. One day, hunting in Compiègne, her horse was startled and threw her at a reasonable distance. She fell almost under the wheels of a carriage travelling at great speed. Saved as if by a miracle, she laughed at the concern of her friends and commanded her squire to bring back her horse, mounted it, dominated the nervous animal and continued the ride. Back at the castle, she went to thank the Virgin for what she called the second salvation of her life.”

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Godfrey of Bouillon

The attack began the night of July 13, [1099,] and the defenders let loose a hail of stones and rivers of Greek fire…. The battle hung in the balance during the morning hours of July 15. Archers shot blazing firebrands to drive the defenders from the walls, but the siege towers were battered and burned. Toward the end of morning it appeared that the attack was doomed.

“However, when the hour approached on which Our Lord Jesus Christ deign to suffer on the cross for us,” the Gesta Francorum exults, “our knights began to fight bravely in one of the towers—namely, the party with Duke Godfrey and his brother Count Eustace. One of our knights, named Lethold, clambered up the wall of the city, and no sooner had he ascended than the defenders fled from the walls and through the city.”

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Pope Innocent III

Pope Innocent III

The following year was a memorable one for all Spain. King Alfonso of Castile, in face of the Almohade danger, had launched an alert to Christendom; answering it, the Christian princes had assembled not only from Spain but also from other countries. Subscription8Pope Innocent III proclaimed a Crusade against the Moors of Spain and bestowed a bull, granting to those who participated the same graces granted to those who went to the Holy Land. Every day, new companies of French and German soldiers arrived in Toledo. Because the city could not contain them, they camped on the lowlands which, covered with tents, looked like a garden of white flowers. However, the foreigners could not bear the blazing Spanish sun and almost all returned to their native countries, leaving to the Spanish blood, more ardent than that very sun, the task and also the glory of the Reconquest. How the two princes from León, [young Saint] Ferdinand and Alfonso, would have enjoyed that atmosphere of heroism breathed in Toledo if their father had answered the call. But Alfonso of León, always worried that his cousin from Castile would overpower him, did not join the Crusaders. In fact, Alfonso had already gone south, crossed the border and seized Dueñas and other places. The shame of his father’s conduct, which they tried to hide from him, caused [young Saint] Ferdinand to shed bitter tears, and during the sleepless nights he made the firm resolution that he kept faithfully all his life: never to make war against another Christian prince.

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St. Raymond of Fitero, the Cistercian warrior abbot & founder of the Military Order of Calatrava.

St. Raymond of Fitero, the Cistercian warrior abbot & founder of the Military Order of Calatrava.

The Almohads, the new dynasty of Moroccan fanatics who had subdued all the Moslems in al Andalus, launched an all-out attack on the Christians by moving a huge army north into south central Spain. The impetuous Alfonso VIII of Castile, without waiting for reinforcements, attempted to bar the way at Alarcos. On July 18, 1195, his hopelessly outnumbered army was decisively defeated. Since this occurred just a few years after a similar defeat by Saladin at the Horns of Hattin in Palestine, the future of Christendom indeed looked bleak….

Alfonso VIII of Castile

Alfonso VIII of Castile

Only the Orders maintained any pressure against the Moslem invaders. The Calatravans, who had lost their garrison at Calatrava, built another one inside the Moslem lines at Salvatierra, complete with a tall bell tower. This infuriated the Moslems, who despised the Christian practice of ringing bells. Finally, raids from Salvatierra and larger incursions by Alfonso VIII and Pedro II of Aragon provoked the Moors to resume hostilities.

Pedro II, king of Aragon by Manuel Aguirre y Monsalbe

Pedro II, king of Aragon by Manuel Aguirre y Monsalbe

Both sides made preparations for a major confrontation. Pope Innocent urged all leaders to resolve the differences that had hampered any coordinated effort in the past and pronounced plenary indulgences for the participants….Subscription12

Three kings, Alfonso VIII of Castile, Pedro II of Aragon, and Sancho VII of Navarre, heretofore an enemy of the Castilians, led a force of 10,000 knights and 60,000 infantry into the plain near Las Navas de Tolosa to confront an army of perhaps twice that size made up of Berbers, African Negroes, and Andalusians. After two days during which each side evaluated the other’s intentions, the Christians launched a fierce frontal attack that was absorbed by the Moors, who then counter-attacked with more success.

Las Navas de Tolosa

Las Navas de Tolosa

With the battle slowly going against him, Alfonso rallied the Knights of Calatrava and Santiago and charged furiously. The sight of the King flying into the Moslems with his lance lowered and accompanied by a canon carrying the banner of Our Lady inspired the entire front to sweep forward. Moslem resistance collapsed and the battle turned into a rout. The estimate of the Moors lying dead on the battlefield that day ranged as high as 150,000.

Jeremias Wells, History of Western Civilization (n.p., n.d), pp. 249-250.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 300

 

Nobility.org Editorial comment: —

Certain moments are turning points in History.  In such moments, the decisive leadership of one man can be the tipping point that makes all the difference.
Las Navas de Tolosa was one of these great historical moments and the leadership of Alphonsus VIII of Castile–grandfather of St. Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon–was the intervention that turned what was beginning to look like defeat into one of the most decisive Christian victories ever.
As we celebrate the anniversary of this great battle, we should ponder on how Spain, Portugal, and perhaps much of Christian Europe could have fallen once more under the dominion of Islam, but for one man: a King who risked his life and throne to safeguard Christendom, personally leading the cavalry charge into the thick of the enemy and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

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Being eternal, men will be judged in life eternal; but since nations are not eternal, they will receive their reward or punishment on this earth. The same happens with families. As such they are neither saved nor lost; they are rewarded for their qualities or punished for their defects on this earth. The Scriptures many times speak about this mystery: families, called to a certain mission, who refuse and leave the stage of history; others, corresponding to grace, who begin to flourish and God makes intelligent and illustrious men to be born of them. This does not mean that every family that is impoverished is so out of punishment; but, as a general rule, one can say that the ascension or decadence of families is related to the use they make of divine grace.

Thus a man ensures the continuity and ascension of his lineage by practicing acts of virtue that add up, as on a scale, here on earth. The good done by a grandfather will fall upon his grandson, and often someone’s punishment falls upon his descendant. Such is the continuity of the family, whose scale in divine justice is only one.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck was the son of a Lutheran minister from Westphalia. He moved to Reims to work as a cloth merchant, and discovered winemaking there. He started making his own wine in 1780, and while he was neither a viticulturist nor a native of Reims, he displayed talent and worked hard at his new-found profession. He founded his own House on 16 July 1785. He had already become an expert in his art, and even dedicated one of his wines to Queen Marie Antoinette. Moreover, he was granted the honour of presenting it to Her Majesty in person.

One of the reasons for tedium in today’s family life is that families are frustrated, as are their members and conversation. One of the frustrations is that not all of the children were born—how much curse comes just from this! In a family of the Ancien Régime (French society before the French Revolution)—whether noble or plebeian, as they are all miniatures of one another, from the king’s to the poorest man’s—everyone feels and thinks the same way, everybody loves one another, the offspring is fecund, the family exists. If they go on an outing together, it is because it is natural for them to be together. With the present decadence of the family, all of that rarely takes place. If they were lineages, they would all feel that co-naturality. A comment made by one would resound in a pleasant way in all others as in a symphony. What we have today is a poor cacophony, with only a few, and, worse yet, dissonant instruments that you can barely hear any more.

The Christian Institution of the Family: A Dynamic Force to Regenerate Society, by Tradition, Family, Property Association. Pgs. 23-25.

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St. Eustathius

Bishop of Antioch, b. at Side in Pamphylia, c. 270; d. in exile at Trajanopolis in Thrace, most probably in 360, according to some already in 336 or 337. He was at first Bishop of Beroea in Syria, whence he was transferred to Antioch c. 323. At the Council of Nicaea (325), he was one of the most prominent opponents of Arianism and from 325-330 he was engaged in an almost continuous literary warfare against the Arians. By his fearless denunciation of Arianism and his refusal to engage any Arian priests in his diocese, he incurred the hatred of the Arians, who, headed by Eusebius of Caesarea and his namesake of Nicomedia, held a synod at Antioch (331) at which Eustathius was accused, by suborned witnesses, of Sabellianism, incontinency, cruelty, and other crimes. He was deposed by the synod and banished to Trajanopolis in Thrace by order of the Emperor Constantine, who gave credence to the scandalous tales spread about Eustathius. The people of Antioch, who loved and revered their holy and learned patriarch, became indignant at the injustice done to him and were ready to take up arms in his defense. But Eustathius kept them in check, exhorted them to remain true to the orthodox faith and humbly left for his place of exile, accompanied by a large body of his clergy. The adherents of Eustathius at Antioch formed a separate community by the name of Eustathians and refused to acknowledge the bishops set over them by the Arians. When, after the death of Eustathius, St. Meletius became Bishop of Antioch in 360 by the united vote of the Arians and the orthodox, the Eustathians would not recognize him, even after his election was approved by the Synod of Alexandria in 362. Their intransigent attitude gave rise to two factions among the orthodox, the so-called Meletian Schism (q.v.), which lasted till the second decade of the fifth century (Cavallera, Le schisme d’Antioche, Paris, 1905).

Most of the numerous dogmatic and exegetical treatises of Eustathius have been lost. His principal extant work is “De Engastrimytho”, in which he maintains against Origen that the apparition of Samuel (I Kings, xxviii) was not a reality but a mere phantasm called up in the brain of Saul by the witch of Endor. In the same work he severely criticizes Origen for his allegorical interpretation of the Bible. A new edition of it, together with the respective homily of Origen, was made by A. Jahn in Gebhardt and Harnack’s “Texte and Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchristl. Literatur” (Leipzig, 1886), II, fast. iv. Cavallera recently discovered a Christological homily: “S. Eustathii ep. Antioch. in Lazarum, Mariam et Martham homilia christologica”, which he edited together with a commentary on the literary fragments of Eustathius (Paris, 1905). Fragments of lost writings are found in Migne (P.G., XVIII, 675-698), Pitra and Martin (Analecta Sacra, II, Proleg., 37-40; IV, 210-213 and 441-443). “Commentarius in Hexaemeron” (Migne, P.G., XVIII, 707-794) and “Allocutio ad Imp. Constantinum in Conc. Nicaeno” (Migne, P.G., XVIII, 673-676) are spurious. His feast is celebrated in the Latin Church on July 16, in the Greek on February 21. His relics were brought to Antoch.

MICHAEL OTT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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The Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne

CarmelitesGuillotined at the Place du Trône Renversé (now called Place de la Nation), Paris, 17 July, 1794. They are the first sufferers under the French Revolution on whom the Holy See has passed judgment, and were solemnly beatified 27 May, 1906. 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. The novice was executed first and the prioress last. Absolute silence prevailed the whole time that the executions were proceeding. The heads and bodies of the martyrs 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 1298 victims of the Revolution, there seems to be no hope of their relics being recovered. Their names are as follows:

Plaque at the Picpus Cemetery in Paris in memory of the 16 Martyrs of Compiègne, guillotined on July 17, 1794 and beatified by Pope Pius X on May 27, 1906. Photo by Mu

  • Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), prioress, b. in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775;
  • Marie-Anne (or Antoinette) Brideau (Mother St. Louis), sub-prioress, b. at Belfort, 7 Dec., 1752, professed 3 Sept, 1771;
  • Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said “I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me”;
  • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), sacristan, b. at Mouy, 16 Sept., 1715, professed 19 Aug., 1740, twice sub-prioress in 1764 and 1778. Her portrait is reproduced opposite p. 2 of Miss Willson’s work cited below;
  • Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764;
  • Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785;

16 Carmelites

  • Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771;
  • Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville, widow, choir-nun (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), b. at Loreau (or Evreux), in 1741, professed probably in 1777;
  • Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), choir-nun, b. at Cajarc (Lot), 17 June, 1760, professed 22 Oct., 1786.
  • Concerning Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception accounts vary. Miss Willson says that her name was Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, and that she was born 12 May, 1736; Pierre, that her name was Catherine Charlotte Brard, and that she was born 7 Sept., 1736. She was born at Bourth, and professed in 1757;
  • Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), novice, b. 28 May, 1765, or 1766, at St. Denis, received the habit 16 Dec., 1788. She mounted the scaffold singing “Laudate Dominum”. In addition to the above, three lay sisters suffered and two tourières. The lay sisters are:
  • Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769;
  • Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772;
  • Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789.

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The two tourières, who were not Carmelites at all, but merely servants of the nunnery were: Catherine and Teresa Soiron, b. respectively on 2 Feb., 1742 and 23 Jan., 1748 at Compiègne, both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772.

The miracles proved during the process of beatification were

  • The cure of Sister Clare of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay sister of New Orleans, when on the point of death from cancer, in June, 1897;
  • The cure of the Abbé Roussarie, of the seminary at Brive, when at the point of death, 7 March, 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Martha of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay Sister of Vans, of tuberculosis and an abcess in the right leg, 1 Dec., 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Michael, a Franciscan of Montmorillon, 9 April, 1898.

Five secondary relics are in the possession of the Benedictines of Stanbrook, Worcestershire.

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PIERRE, Les Seize Carmélites de Compiègne (Paris, 1906); WILLSON, The Martyrs of Compiègne (Westminster, 1907).

JOHN B. WAINEWRIGHT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Also of interest:

Moving God, Moving History

Nobility.org Editorial comment: —

Why were these holy women killed? What harm did these Carmelite nuns do to anyone? What was their crime? What threat did they present to the nation?
An embarrassed silence is the only answer we receive from revolutionaries.
One cannot help recalling the words of Madame Roland, a Girondin revolutionary, who on the way to her own execution during the Terror, exclaimed: “Ah Liberty, Liberty! How many crimes have been committed in your name.”

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Pope St. Leo IV

(Reigned 847-55)

Pope St. Leo IVA Roman and the son of Radoald, was unanimously elected to succeed Sergius II, and as the alarming attack of the Saracens on Rome in 846 caused the people to fear for the safety of the city, he was consecrated (10 April, 847) without the consent of the emperor.

Leo received his early education at Rome in the monastery of St. Martin, near St. Peter’s. His pious behaviour attracted the notice of Gregory IV, who made him a subdeacon; and he was created Cardinal-Priest of the church of the Quatuor Coronati by Sergius II.

As soon as Leo, much against his will, became pope, he began to take precautions against a repetition of the Saracen raid of 846. He put the walls of the city into a thorough state of repair, entirely rebuilding fifteen of the great towers. He was the first to enclose the Vatican hill by a wall. To do this, he received money from the emperor, and help from all the cities and agricultural colonies (domus cultae) of the Duchy of Rome. The work took him four years to accomplish, and the newly fortified portion was called the Leonine City, after him. In 852 the fortifications were completed, and were blessed by the pope with great solemnity.

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July 11 – Worthy descendant of St. Elizabeth

July 11, 2024

Frédéric-François-Xavier Ghislain de Mérode A Belgian prelate and statesman, born at Brussels, 1820; died at Rome, 1874. The son of Félix de Mérode-Westerloo who held successively the portfolios of foreign affairs, war, and finances under King Leopold, and of Rosalie de Grammont, he was allied to the best names of France, — Lafayette, Montmorency, Clemont-Tonnerre, […]

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Debunking the Myth

July 11, 2024

The queen had desired that the balls should take place in her own apartment, which gave them a semi-private character, and thus avoided the expenses which more ceremonial balls would have necessitated. She had also given up having the opera brought to Versailles, and decided that when she wished to hear it, she would go […]

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St. John Gualbert and the Vallumbrosan Order

July 11, 2024

The name is derived from the motherhouse, Vallombrosa (Latin Vallis umbrosa, shady valley), situated 20 miles from Florence on the northwest slope of Monte Secchieta in the Pratomagno chain, 3140 feet above the sea. I. THE FOUNDER St. John Gualbert, son of the noble Florentine Gualbert Visdomini, was born in 985 (or 995), and died […]

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The Guillotine and Its Servants

July 11, 2024

By Gustave Lenotre* “The scaffold had become a part of the people’s life, and a certain number of Parisians, were extremely entertained by the new plaything. Someone conceived the idea of beheading, in the porches of the old basilica of Notre-Dame, all the stone Saints that adorned the church-fronts. The whiteness of the broken stone […]

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Author of “The Golden Legend”

July 11, 2024

Bl. Jacopo de Voragine (Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now Varazze), near Genoa, about 1230; died 13 July, about 1298. In 1244 he entered the Order of St. Dominic, and soon became famous for his piety, learning, and zeal in the care of souls. His fame as a […]

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July 14 – Philip II (Augustus)

July 11, 2024

Philip II (Augustus) King of France, born 22 or 25 August, 1165; died at Mantes, 14 July, 1223, son of Louis VII and Alix de Champagne. He was saved from a serious illness after a pilgrimage made by his father to the tomb of Thomas à Becket; he succeeded to the throne 18 September, 1180. […]

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Duke in troubled times

July 11, 2024

Arnulf of Bavaria Son of Luitpold of the Agilulfing family and of Kunigunde, and Duke of Bavaria from 907 to 937. His reign fell in a troubled time. The Magyars had begun their predatory incursions into Germany, in which they destroyed everything, wherever they penetrated. When, in the year 907, they again advanced against Bavaria […]

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Controversial Archbishop

July 11, 2024

Boniface of Savoy Forty-sixth Archbishop of Canterbury and son of Thomas, Count of Savoy, date of birth uncertain; d. in Savoy, 14 July, 1270. While yet a child he became a Carthusian. In 1234, as sub-deacon, he was elected Bishop of Belley in Burgundy: and, in 1241, administered the Diocese of Valence. His connection with […]

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St. Ulrich of Zell

July 11, 2024

(Wulderic; called also of Cluny, and of Ratisbon), born at Ratisbon, at the beginning of 1029; died at Zell, probably on 10 July, 1093. Feast, 14 July (10). Two lives of him are extant: the first, written anonymously c. 1109 by a monk of Zell at the request of Adalbert, a recluse near Ratisbon; the […]

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Advocate of the ideals of Gregory VII

July 11, 2024

Bonizo of Sutri (Or BONITHO). Bishop of Sutri in Central Italy, in the eleventh century, an adherent of Gregory VII and advocate of the ideals of that pope; b. about 1045, probably in Cremona, Northern Italy; put to death 14 July, 1090. Early in his life he joined the party known as the Pataria, and […]

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Ardent Ultramontane

July 11, 2024

Louis-François Richer Laflèche French-Canadian bishop, b. 4 Sept., 1818, at Ste-Anne de la Perade, Province of Quebec; d. 14 July, 1898. He studied the classics and theology at Nicolet College. Having offered his services to the pioneer Bishop Provencher of Red River, he was ordained in 1844, and traveled 750 leagues by canoe to reach […]

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Archbishops of Baltimore and St. Louis

July 8, 2024

Francis Patrick and Peter Richard Kenrick Archbishops respectively of Baltimore, Maryland, and of St. Louis, Missouri. They were sons of Thomas Kenrick and his wife Jane, and were born in the older part of the city of Dublin, Ireland, the first-named on 3 December, 1797, and the second on 17 August, 1806. An uncle, Father […]

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The Revolution Par Excellence

July 8, 2024

[previous] The Essence of the Revolution Having rapidly described the crisis of the Christian West, we will now analyze it. 1. The Revolution Par Excellence As already stated, this critical process we have been considering is a revolution. A. Meaning of the Word Revolution By Revolution we mean a movement that aims to destroy a […]

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July 9 – At the center of the controversy, when the Pope deposed King John of England

July 8, 2024

Stephen Langton Cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury, b. in the latter half of the twelfth century; d. at Slindon Manor, Sussex, July 9, 1228. Although the roll of English churchmen has few names more illustrious, Langton’s fame is hardly equal to his achievements. Even among his own countrymen too few have an adequate knowledge of […]

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Had Louis XVI Listened to His Sister, Madame Elizabeth…

July 8, 2024

…the Crown Would Have Been Saved On the fatal day, 5th October [1789], when the people attacked Versailles, she was on her terrace at Montreuil when she saw the crowd advancing on the Palace, and flew at once to join the Royal Family there. Gifted as she was with an excellent judgment, Mme. Elizabeth possessed […]

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Seven Holy Noble Brethren

July 8, 2024

Saints, martyred in Rome, in 150. According to legend, they were the sons of Saint Felicitas, and suffered martyrdom under Emperor Antoninus. Januarius, Felix, and Philip were scourged to death; Silvanus was thrown over a precipice; Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded. Feast, Roman Calendar, 10 July. St. Felicitas, Martyr The earliest list of the […]

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July 4 – St. Andrew of Crete

July 4, 2024

St. Andrew of Crete (Sometimes called Andreas in English biography), theologian, homilist, hymnographer, b. at Damascus about the middle of the seventh century; d. 4 July, 740 (or 720), on which day his feast is celebrated in the Greek Church. At the age of fifteen he repaired to Jerusalem, entered a monastery, was enrolled amongst […]

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Chaplain and servants of the Arundell family

July 4, 2024

Venerables John Cornelius and Companions John Cornelius (called also Mohun) was born of Irish parents at Bodmin, in Cornwall, on the estate of Sir John Arundell, of Lanherne, in 1557; martyred at Dorchester, 4 July, 1594. Sir John Arundell took an interest in the talented boy and sent him to Oxford. Not satisfied with the […]

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St. Ulrich

July 4, 2024

Bishop of Augsburg, born at Kyburg, Zurich, Switzerland, in 890; died at Augsburg, 4 July, 973. He was the son of Count Hucpald and Thetbirga, and was connected with the dukes of Alamannia and the imperial family of the Ottos. As a child he was sickly; when old enough to learn he was sent to […]

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July 4 – Martyrs

July 4, 2024

Ven. William Andleby Martyred at York 4 July, 1597. He was born at Etton in Yorkshire of a well-known gentle family. At twenty-five he went abroad to take part in the Dutch war (see ARMADA, SPANISH), and called at Douay to interview Dr. Allen, whom he attempted to confute in argument. Next day he recognized […]

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July 5 – St. Michael de Sanctis

July 4, 2024

St. Michael de Sanctis (DE LOS SANTOS). Born at, Vich in Catalonia, 29 September, 1591; died at Valladolid, 10 April, 1625. At the age of twelve years he came to Barcelona, and asked to be received into the monastery of the Trinitarians, in which order, after a three years’ novitiate, he took vows in the […]

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July 6 – Mother-in-law Woes

July 4, 2024

St. Godelina Born at Hondeforte-lez-Boulogne, c. 1049; died at Ghistelles, 6 July, 1070. The youngest of the three children born to Hemfrid, seigneur of Wierre-Effroy, and his wife Ogina, Godelina was accustomed as a child to exercises of piety and was soon distinguished for a solidity of virtue extraordinary for one of her years. The […]

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2015 – In Memoriam: Marquis Luigi Coda Nunziante

July 4, 2024

In Memoriam Marquis Luigi Coda Nunziante   On July 7, 2015 the Marquis Luigi Coda Nunziante di San Ferdinando passed away at his estate in Colognole (Firenze). An exemplary family man, a refined man of society and a fervent Catholic, he spent most of his time doing social apostolate on behalf of the Faith and of Christian […]

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The Princess who left court and entered a forest monastery

July 4, 2024

St. Edelburga, Virgin, also called St. Æthelburh of Faremoutiers. She was daughter to Anna king of the East Angles, and out of a desire of attaining to Christian perfection, went into France, and there consecrated herself to God in the monastery of Faremoutier, in the forest of Brie, in the government of which she succeeded […]

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A Classless Society: A Dangerous Utopia

July 1, 2024

From John Paul II’s homily in the Mass for youths and students, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 1, 1980: “I learned that a Christian youth ceases to be young, and has long ceased to be Christian, when he allows himself to be seduced by doctrines or ideologies that preach violence and hate…. “I learned […]

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Condemned to death for promoting the Catholic faith, he responded “Deo gratias”

July 1, 2024

Saint Oliver Plunket Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, born at Loughcrew near Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland, 1629; died 11 July, 1681. His is the brightest name in the Irish Church throughout the whole period of persecution. He was connected by birth with the families which had just then been ennobled, the Earls […]

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July 2 – St. Swithin

July 1, 2024

(SWITHUN) Bishop of Winchester; died 2 July, 862. Very little is known of this saint’s life, for his biographers constructed their “Lives” long after his death and there is hardly any mention of him in contemporary documents. Swithin was one of the two trusted counsellors of Egbert, King of the West Saxons (d. 839), helping […]

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The Twin

July 1, 2024

St. Thomas the Apostle Little is recorded of St. Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St. John […]

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July 3 – The Pope Who Condemned His Predecessor for Not Opposing Heresy

July 1, 2024

Pope St. Leo II Pope (682-83), date of birth unknown; d. 28 June, 683. He was a Sicilian, and son of one Paul. Though elected pope a few days after the death of St. Agatho (10 June, 681), he was not consecrated till after the lapse of a year and seven months (17 Aug., 682). […]

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Yankton Sioux Chief Pananniapapi (“Struck by the Ree”) Defends His Tribe’s Catholic Faith

July 1, 2024

Struck by the Ree . . . (c. 1804–1888) was a chief of the Native American Yankton Sioux tribe. . . . In 1804, a great pow-wow was held for the Lewis and Clark Expedition at Calumet Bluff/Gavins Point (near present-day Yankton, South Dakota) that included the “Shunka” sacred dog feast ceremony. During the festivities, […]

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Almsgiving of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette

June 27, 2024

During Lent we recall the duties of every Christian to apply themselves more fervently to almsgiving. In pre-revolutionary France it was for the King and the Queen to give an example to everyone else in this regard. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette took this duty seriously and throughout their reign did what they could to help […]

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What is Feudalism?

June 27, 2024

Feudalism This term is derived from the Old Aryan pe’ku, hence Sanskrit pacu, “cattle”; so also Lat. pecus (cf. pecunia); Old High German fehu, fihu, “cattle”, “property”, “money”; Old Frisian fia; Old Saxon fehu; Old English feoh, fioh, feo, fee. It is an indefinable word for it represents the progressive development of European organization during […]

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June 27 – The Saint-King elected to lead the First Crusade

June 27, 2024

St. Ladislaus (or Ladislas) St. Ladislaus the First, called by the Hungarians László, and in old French, Lancelot, was son of Bela king of Hungary, and born in 1041. By the pertinacious importunity of the people he was compelled, much against his own inclination, to ascend the throne in 1080, the kingdom being then elective. […]

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St. Ladislaus – Chivalrous King

June 27, 2024

King of Hungary, born 1040; died at Neutra, 29 July, 1095; one of Hungary’s national Christian heroes. He was the son of Béla I; the nobles, after the death of Geisa I, passed over Solomon, son of Andrew I, and chose Ladislaus to be their king in 1077. It is true that he made peace […]

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June 28 – To Avoid Their Desecration, He Ordered the Relics of the Saints to be Brought Inside the Walls

June 27, 2024

Pope Saint Paul I Date of birth unknown; died at Rome, 28 June, 767. He was a brother of Pope Stephen II. They had been educated for the priesthood at the Lateran palace. Stephen entrusted his brother, who approved of the pope’s course in respect to King Pepin, with many important ecclesiastical affairs, among others […]

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The Church is Not Opposed to Any Form of Government that Is Just and Serves the Common Good

June 27, 2024

previous Leo XIII says in his encyclical Diuturnum illud (June 29, 1881): “There is no question here respecting forms of government, for there is no reason why the Church should not approve of the chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be just, and that it tend to the […]

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Ven. Philip Powel

June 27, 2024

(alias MORGAN, alias PROSSER) Martyr, b. at Tralon, Brecknockshire, 2 Feb., 1594; d. at Tyburn 30 June, 1646. He was the son of Roger and Catherine Powel, and was brought up to the law by David Baker, afterwards Dom Augustine Baker, O.S.B. At the age of sixteen he became a student in the Temple, London, […]

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The Fate of Greed

June 27, 2024

There can be no doubt, but that when a decision was to be made in regard to the affairs of the Indies, the enemies of Columbus assailed the Queen with every artifice and intrigue to secure a decision unfavorable to the admiral. The appointment of Don Francisco Bobadilla proves this. His subsequent cruelty and perfidy […]

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An Assessment Of Twenty Years of The Third Revolution According To The Criteria Of Revolution and Counter-Revolution

June 24, 2024

[previous] The situation of the Third Revolution and the Counter-Revolution has been outlined herein on the basis of how they appear shortly before the twentieth anniversary of the publication of this book. On the one hand, the apogee of the Third Revolution makes a success of the Counter-Revolution in the near future more difficult than […]

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He denounced the king’s adultery

June 24, 2024

St. John the Baptist The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are the canonical Gospels. Of these St. Luke is the most complete, giving as he does the wonderful circumstances accompanying the birth of the Precursor and items on his ministry and death. St. Matthew’s Gospel stands […]

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