Today is the Memoria of Blesseds John Baptist, Michael Aloysius, and James, Priests and Martyrs

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Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges) in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michael-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres) and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois) in religion Fr. Hubert of St. Claude, were among a group of 64 martyrs, beatified October 1st, 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders.

In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution.  As a result they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay waiting in vain to be deported into slavery.  During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship:  Fr. John-Baptist on July 1st and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on July 25th, both being buried on the island of Aix.  After plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame where Fr. James died and was buried on September 10th.  Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation and cruelty not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassable Christian witness to their faith and love.

From Resolutions Drawn Up by the Priests Imprisoned on the ship Les Deux Associes

“They bore in silence the cross that was placed on them.  They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free.  Instead they will make every effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future so that they can find, in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their souls.

If God permits them to recover totally or in part this liberty that nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news.  By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.

If there is question of receiving back their personal effects, they will show no eagerness in asking for them; rather, they will make the declaration that may be required of them with modesty and strict truth.  They will receive without lament what is given to them, accustoming themselves, as is their duty, to despise the things of the earth and to be content with little after the example of the apostles.

They are not to satisfy curious people they might come across; they will not reply to superficial questions about what happened to them; they will let people glimpse that they have patiently supported their sufferings, without descending into detail, and without showing any resentment against those who have authored and been instrumental in their suffering.

They will sentence themselves to the severest and most absolute silence about the faults of their brothers and the weaknesses into which they happened to fall due to their unfortunate situation, their bad health, and the length of their punishment.  They will preserve the same charity toward those whose religious opinion is different from their own.  They will avoid all bitter feeling or animosity, being content to feel sorry for them interiorly and making the effort to stay on the way of truth by their gentleness and moderation.  They will not show grief over the loss of their goods, no haste to recover them, no resentment against those who possess them.

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext.  They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes.  There they will become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer, and their love for recollection and piety.”

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord God, in the martyrs Blessed John-Baptist, Michael-Aloysius, James and their companions, you gave the grace to remain faithful and to pardon while suffering dismaying hardship. Through their intercession grant also to us to be always willing to remain faithful to your Church and to be reconciled with one another. We ask this through our Lord.
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