17 July 1794: “Mother, permission to die?”

In 1794, the Place de la Nation on the east side of Paris was called the Place du Trône-Renversé… Toppled Throne Square.

In 1792 a guillotine was set up here and the killing began.

Robespierre and Barère made terror an instrument of governance: “Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue”, quoth Robespierre.   Soon to be the motto of the DNC once The Squad takes over.

On 17 July of this same year, 1794, 11 Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Compiègne, together with three lay sisters and two tertiaries were guillotined and buried in a mass grave in the nearby Picpus Cemetery. They had for a while been living with English Benedictine nuns, who were forbidden their native England. The Carmelites dedicated themselves to prayer for the restoration of peace in France and for the Church. Hence, they were arrested, shifted to Paris, and publicly murdered for the encouragement of the mob.  It sounds rather like what the Left does to people who raise their voices in the public square.  First it’ll be razors on Twitter, then physical attacks on streets then round ups of the “unwoke”.

As the Carmelite nuns, aged 30 to 78, went to the razor, they renewed their vows and sang the either the Salve Regina or the Veni Creator Spiritus, accounts vary.

One by one they knelt before the prioress and asked permission to die.

“Permission to die, Mother?”
“Go, my daughter!”

Here is the dramatized scene.

Some think that’s funny.

On 28 July, Robespierre experienced the guillotine.  The Reign of Terror ended a few days after the martyrdom of the Carmelites.


For more, see To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiegne Guillotined July 17, 1794 by William Bush. US HERE – UK HERE

I wonder if I will have the strength of mind and will in that moment to sing that hymn or antiphon? This is something to make a plan about. Fathers! You might start thinking now about the moment when you are put up against the wall like our brother Bl. Miguel Pro.  Make a plan.

Do you suppose the Tricoteuse, the Knitting Women who sat near the guillotine erected at the Place de la Révolution (now the Place de la Concorde) made side trips? HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Zephyrinus says:

    What an utterly marvellous thing The French Revolution was !!!

    How grateful we should be that such a beautiful “Revolution” showed us how to slaughter innocent Roman Catholic Nuns.

    May God Bless all The Slaughtered Nuns and receive them into His Eternal Kingdom.

    in Domino.

  2. Benedictus says:

    During Albania’s communism (which rivaled North Korea), hundreds of priests were murdered. There are 38 blessed martyrs who died shouting “Long Live Christ the King.”


    One of the living martyrs was just ordained a Cardinal:


    Had the pleasure of seeing Cardinal Troshani at Church Sunday. Preached fire and brimstone about the Rosary, marital purity, Fatima. Love this Cardinal. Big difference between Albanian (Balkan) priests and American priests, with their syrupy sermons on migration, love and neighbors.

    It is mind-blowingly boring.

  3. GHP says:

    This clip *always* brings a tear to my eye.

    … must be dusty in here …..

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless these nuns.

    Leftist revolution always leads to slaughter and tyranny. Those who support the “Democrat” mob today should give that due consideration.

  5. Beltway Catholic says:

    Failure to love one’s neighbors — by withholding the offices of friendship without a proportionate reason, through hatred and vengeance-seeking, through indifference to their needs, through being an accomplice to their sins, by withholding forgiveness, by harming them in their reputations so that their lives and livelihoods are threatened, through calumny, etc. — is a sin that may warrant eternal damnation. Which are the ones of which you may be guilty? Is that a boring consideration?

  6. bobbird says:

    In Warren Carroll’s Christendom series, he also reports that the first nun to die was the youngest. Being granted permission from her superior showed that they were in charge of their own execution. Symbolically, anyway, just as King Charles I did. But people shouted out from the crowd, which quieted somewhat as they saw the glowing countenance on her face: “Look! She is like a princess going to her coronation!”

  7. johnnys says:

    @beltway catholic…..now do abortion, adultery, same sex marriage, sins of the flesh…..ya know, being that Our Lady said ‘more souls go to hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason’.

  8. Beltway Catholic says:

    Those are terrible sins that indeed cry out to heaven for vengeance. But there is more ordinary evil that we overlook. Unforgiveness will be met with condemnation (Mt 6:15; 18:35). The failure to show the offices of friendship makes one a liar who claims nonetheless to love God (1 John 4:20). Why should I sacrifice the rest of the Gospel so that I may have the self-approval of calling myself a “culture warrior”? Is not heaven worth more than simply being on the right side of newspaper headlines? is loving God and neighbor nothing more than avoiding abortion and the sins of the flesh? Isn’t it also about the perfect imitation of Christ? Yes, abortion and sins of the flesh are evil and wretched abominations. And it is also at least a little Pharisaical to say, “O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men” (Lk 18:11)?

  9. Eric says:

    I read To Quell the Terror. It is excellent. It made me mark on my calendar a reminder of their feast day. Also it was written by an Eastern Orthodox author. Exceptional.

  10. maryh says:

    @Beltway Catholic:
    Your comment about the Pharisee gives me the idea that you think the original poster, and maybe other followers here, don’t wrestle with sins of the flesh, or haven’t been involved with the sin of abortion, or the fallout. I think many of the followers on this blog, especially the priests, are exactly the ones people go to when all the post-abortion trauma we’re not supposed to feel kicks in. I’m afraid that in our society, abortion and sins of the flesh are indeed “ordinary evil”, and a lot of befriending and forgiveness these days is letting ordinary people know they can free themselves. It would help if we had more support from the pulpit, if the laws of the land didn’t approve of it, and if the culture didn’t call it good.

  11. Beltway Catholic says:

    @maryh, I appreciate your comments. So much of my concern is this: there are a lot of sins that can sink our souls. And it is not squishiness on the part of a preacher if he focuses on those too.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Benedictus: Thank you for the CWR article on the Living Martyr of Albania. You raise a good point about “syrupy sermons,” though no doubt you are aware of the richness of the Gospel.

    That seems to be a broad brush regarding “American priests.” There are many American priests who are aware of the Dictatorship of Relativism, who Read the Signs of the Times, and do not preach Leftist talking points from the pulpit. God bless you.

    Beltway Catholic: You appear to be jumping to conclusions, perhaps to the point of being uncharitable, regarding “neighbors,” “on the right side of newspaper headlines,” your quoting of Luke 18:11, and “culture warriors.” Cheers.

    johnnys: Good point.

    maryh wrote:

    “It would help if we had more support from the pulpit, if the laws of the land didn’t approve of it, and if the culture didn’t call it good.”

    Excellent point. God bless you.

  13. TonyO says:

    Of course there is nothing wrong with preaching on charity to our neighbors – it’s the subject of the Second Great Commandment, after all. And the foundation of satisfying the last 7 Commandments in full.

    What was intended, however, is the interminably boring drivel of priests who preach about love of neighbor who cannot be bothered to teach that such love must spring from charity, and that charity is rooted first in love of God Himself, and that such love entails even more attention to the good of your neighbor’s soul than his body, and his eternal welfare, for this body passes away but the soul does not. Indeed, the mindless drivel of priests who don’t even KNOW about that sort of charity, and could not identify it if someone pointed out an example that had it; who mean by “love of neighbor” a poor little thing that has nothing more important in mind than being nice to him and feeding him a meal or giving him a hug when he feels bad. [… which also is what fathers do for their children.]

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