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" La Croix du Nord "

" La Croix du Nord " June 21 2019
and the 225th anniversary of the Valenciennes Ursulines’ martyrdom

Sister Annie Dru, A Roman Union Ursuline

Christians of the North - Pas-de-Calais

Valenciennes : Sister Annie opens up the commemoration of the martyrdom of the Ursulines.

1794-2019 : Next October we will record the 225th Anniversary of a historical and tragic event, the martyrdom of eleven Ursulines in Valenciennes, beheaded on the Place d’Armes.

To solemnize this remembrance, Sister Annie Dru, a Roman Union Ursuline (RU), gave a talk before Sunday mass at Saint Saulve, on the feast of the Holy Trinity.
In 1794, the red Terror prevailed. Under the order of Jean-Baptiste Lacoste, a member of the Convention, 1450 arrests were pronounced, including 37 religious men and priests, 11 nuns and 12 civilians accused of espionage and treason.
What does Sister Annie note? " The priests celebrate and confess, forgive their judge and executioner, despite the injustice, condemnation and horror of the execution. On October 17th and 23rd, the nuns will go toward their ordeal not by walking but flying. It’s amazing, surprising! We see the scaffold, they see the sky! "
As a good historian, the nun " examined the life of (my) sisters, declared blessed by the Church, in order to understand their death ". In 1654 they arrived in the Athens of the North... The DNA of these women? : " Love of God lived together and in community, a treasure shared by educating the girls entrusted to them and by witnessing ".

Before, an exile :
In 1790, comes the time when vows and monastic orders were suppressed, together with visits from the city Commissioners. Although they wished to " live and die in their convent " the nuns were forced in 1792 to go into exile, in Mons (B); they were allowed to take with them only a bed, a chair, a jug of water and a cross...
In November 1793, they returned to Valenciennes. In September 1794, the sisters were obliged " to leave the convent within 24 hours ". Mother Clotilde Paillot had these words: " Serving Christ in the face of adversity as well as in prosperity, we will die if we have to ". We know what happened next.

Ways of life for today
In front of an audience captivated by her words, Sister Annie concluded: " These martyrs because of their Christian teaching show us ways of life for today. We must add to them the priests who were also beheaded, under the same conditions; their last words (see box) are uplifting; let us read them ". A cup of coffee prolonged this time of spirituality, and was joined by Marie-Christine Joassart, a member of Mother Clotilde’s family.
The eleven nuns were beatified by Pope Benedict XV on June 13, 1920.

Ph. Courcier

On October 23, a time of recollection will take place on the Place d’Armes (where the nuns were beheaded) followed by a celebration at Saint-Géry’s Church. Father Launay, the Dean, is considering establishing in the Church a reliquary that would keep alive the memory of the Ursulines’ martyrdom.

" There is no reason for being sad, when you are going to die for your faith " (Father Lamoiau, Jolimetz); " Do not pity me, glorify the Lord for his great mercy on me, all unworthy as I am.” (Father Druet, Quarouble); " They went to death as to a very great triumph .... God gave them so many graces" (Mother Clotilde).

Légende pour la photo: Sister Annie Dru, a Roman Union Ursuline.

June, 2019

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