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In Valenciennes

The Blessed Ursuline Martyrs of Valenciennes... finally in Valenciennes.

On September 18th, 2021, a beautiful sunny Saturday, the church of Saint Géry received the Reliquary of the Ursuline Martyrs of Valenciennes, who were guillotined in 1794 on the Place of Arms.

 

Remember that in 2019, in Saint Géry, we celebrated the 225th anniversary of their martyrdom. A project then took form: the diocese, the parish, the Ursuline community, all together, wanted them to be honored in Valenciennes. The projet was going to come true in June, 2020, on the 100th anniversary of their beatification in Rome by Benedict XV. History will recall that the pandemic delayed this, but did not prevent it. And it was in the middle of the Novena of the Holy Cord that the Reliquary found its place in the church of Saint Géry !

These women, these Blessed Ursuline Martyrs of Valenciennnes, who died in 1794, have they something to tell us today ?

We can readily understand that the words Blessed and Ursulines put together. in answer to Christ’s call, by giving one’s life to God and to others, portray a beautiful life, sometimes a bit stark, it is true, but it can so much satisfy a woman’s heart today, just as yesterday, so that, without any doubt, it is the strongest inheritance that our Sisters, your Sisters, leave us from 1794.

It seems more difficult to put together the words Blessed and Martyrs. However, their last letters are evident : they leave us their last message. As they we going to be put to death, they looked upon their life and said that they were happy ! What strong women ! This does not prevent them from being afraid, but their faith made them walk ahead and love, up to the end !

Finally, they came from Valenciennes. We trend too much to see the saints as unattainable, to see the martyrs as being elsewhere, far from us. But they are really ours. They are people from Valenciennes, now in heaven, who listen to our prayers, our wishes, our worries. Let us not hesitate to pray them, to ask them to intercede for us.

In these days in which, we, the Ursulines of 2021, entrust the Reliquary of our Sisters, we are truly conscious of offering you a souvenir, a link for intercession, but especially an art of living. Their tragic death directs us most of all to their way of life. Three words can express simply the life they themselves described as a happy one : God, others, and living together. This is the basis of heir lives, may it also be yours today!

The Ursulines of Mons and Saint-Saulve

 

In Valenciennes


September 2021

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