You will never be able to take from our hearts our devotion to Louis XVI and to his august family. Your laws can never impinge upon that feeling: they cannot dominate the affections of our souls. God and God alone has the right to judge such things.Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine
The last one to climb the scaffold steps was in fact the prioress, Madame Lidoine herself who, presiding over the sacrifice to the very end, blessed each of her fifteen daughters as they fulfilled the community oblation she herself had proposed.
What Madame Lidoine had proposed, however, was never a “vow of martyrdom” as one reads in the fictional versions, but rather an “act of consecration” whereby each member of the community would join with the others in offering herself daily to God, soul, and body, in holocaust to restore peace to France and to her church.
This proposal, we now know, was made sometime between the expulsion from their monastery on September 14, 1792, and the November 27 following, on which date we have confirmation that the consecration was already an established part of the community’s daily life.
The community sacrifice was moreover presided over by Madame Lidoine, its one true mother and Compiègne’s great prioress, inspiring, animating, and transfiguring all by her mystical insights.
Chapter 1, Martyrdom and France, literature and revolution
Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine, the prioress of the martyred Discalced Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, France, was born Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine in Paris, 22 September 1752.
Bush, W. 1999, To quell the terror: the mystery of the vocation of the sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne guillotined July 17, 1794, ICS Publications, Washington, D.C.
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