Today in the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum there is the following entry:
11*. Ad ancoram in salo ante portum Rupifortii in Gallia, beati Antonii Constantis Auriel, presbyteri et martyris, qui, vicarius paroecialis Cadurcensis, temporibus gallicae perturbationis propter sacerdotium in squalida navi inclusus, mox morbo correptus in concaptivis adiuvandis spiritum reddidit.
You readers can work on the a perfect English version.
Rupifortium (ad litus Galliae), from Latin rupes (“rock”, French roche) and fortis (“strong” French fort) is none other than the coastal city of Rochefort, 18 miles south of La Rochelle in France on the right bank of the Charante, 6 miles east of the Bay of Biscay.
In the meantime, have you ever heard about the prison hulks? The old ships used to incarcerate priests and religious during the French Revolution?
This episode in human history is an example of some of the very worst treatment of man by man.
The Martyrs of Rochefort were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.
These blesseds are called the “les martyrs des pontons de Rochefort… martyrs of the ‘hulks’ of Rochefort” because, condemned to deportation, they were held in old ships used as prisons (pontons): the Washington, La Décade, La Vaillante, La Bayonnaise, Les Deux-Associés, and Bonhomme Richard.
827 priests and religious refused to swear the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 12 July 1790, by which the Assembly attempted to reorganize the Church according to the model of the state. By this instrument the state confiscated Church property and effectively forced clergy to commit a formal act of apostasy.
Of the 827 held in the “hulks” from 11 April 1794 to 7 February 1795, 542 died enduring horrific suffering for their faith, martyrs of the “Revolution”. Some of the 285 survivors left written testimonies about the heroic examples of their martyred companions.