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A new painting

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Discovery of a New Picture of the Ursuline Martyrs of Valenciennes

Everything begins with an article in a local newspaper with a photograph of a picture by Diogène Maillart, representing Ursulines wearing a religious habit, at the foot of a scaffold. A man from Valenciennes, Mr. Mérieux, also a painter, reacted in front of this historical inaccuracy. In fact, “they had their hands tied behind their backs, and were wearing a skirt and a shirt”. He spoke about this to a former gallery owner, well known in Valenciennes, who contacted us.

We met Mr. Yves Mérieux, who offered us, in November 2016, the picture he painted himself in 1997-1998.

On this picture, we can recognize Valencienne’s Arms Square during that period, the front of Saint Peter’s Church, houses, and even the place of a small street on which the Sisters arrived, coming from the prison.

Behind the armed men, a compact crowd is there, present everywhere.

Unexpectedly, in spite of a menacing sky and houses in darkness, the place for execution is full of light, like Saint Peter’s Church, very near to it.

This is not a scaffold, but the door leading to heaven.


The scene represents an execution on October 23, 1794.

They are 6 in all. The painter has them dressed in white, almost in albs, as if they were “professing their faith”. This is exactly what they are going to do. Mother Clotilde Paillot, who on that day has her 38th anniversary of Profession, stands at the foot of the scaffold. The executioner tares out the cross she is wearing around her neck, and throws it to the crowd. Recovered by her family, it is transmitted from one generation to another and is offered to the Ursulines in 1994. We keep it as a treasure.

May Mr.Yves Mérieux find here the token of our gratitude and prayers.

Symbolically, this article is put on the web on October 23, 2017, on the feast of the Blessed Martyrs of Valenciennes, by Marie-Christine Jossart, a rear… rear… rear… niece of Mother Clotilde Paillot.

A new painting

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