17.07.

1794: Sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne Executed by Guillotine

1794: Sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne Executed by Guillotine
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Rosary and scapular

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 17 July 1794
  • The manner in which Carmelites bravely faced their own execution was impressive. Namely, they renewed their vows at the foot of the scaffold and began to chant the Veni Creator Spiritus. They continued their singing as, one by one, they mounted the scaffold to be beheaded.

On this day, in 1794, Carmel Martyrs of Compiègne were executed by guillotine. 

They were members of the Barefoot Carmelites of Mount Carmel, founded by the famous Saint Teresa of Ávila (also called Saint Teresa of Jesus). 

These sisters, acting in Compiegne in northern France, were arrested during the French Revolution and sentenced to death. It happened during the Reign of Terror when mass executions at the guillotine were carried out.

On this day sixteen Carmelites were brought on the scaffold in Paris, located on the site of the square that today bears the name Place de la Nation. The manner in which Carmelites bravely faced their own execution was impressive.

Namely, they renewed their vows at the foot of the scaffold and began to chant the Veni Creator Spiritus.

They continued their singing as, one by one, they mounted the scaffold to be beheaded. The last one executed was the prioress – Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine.

It is interesting that the period of the Reign of Terror ended only about ten days after these martyr deaths of the Carmelites of Compiegne.

 Specifically, Robespierre, the leading man of The Terror period, was executed on the guillotine already on 27 July of that same year. 

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne were beatified by Pope St. Pius X in 1906. Their feast day is celebrated on this day (17 July).

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