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Laval, Martyrs of


A group of 19 beatified victims of the french revolution, martyred in 1794. The martyrs (14 secular and one religious priest, three religious women, and one lay woman) were among the many whom the revolutionists put to death for religious reasons in the area of the present département of Mayenne in western France, whose capital is Laval.

At Laval 14 priests, arrested at various times in the preceding months, were guillotined (Jan. 21, 1794) for refusing to subscribe to the civil constitution of the clergy, to which two of them had previously subscribed with restrictions. They were: René Ambroise (b. 1720), Jacques André (b. 1763), François Duchesne (b. 1736), André Duliou (b. 1727), Jean Gallot (b. 1747), Louis Gastineau (b. 1727), François Migoret-Lambardeère (b.1728), Julien Morin de la Girardière (b. 1733), Julien Moulé (b. 1716), Joseph Pellé (b. 1720), Augustin Philippot (b. 1716), Pierre Thomas (b. 1729), Jean Baptiste Turpin du Cormier (b. 1732), and Jean Baptiste Triquerie (b. 1737), a Conventual Franciscan.

Jacques Burin (b. 1756) was imprisoned in 1791 after reading publicly, with approval, Pius VI's condemnation of the Civil Constitution, to which he had subscribed with reservations a few months previously. After his release he disguised himself as a merchant and continued his priestly ministrations until he was shot to death in an ambush at Champgenêteux (Oct. 17, 1794). His murderer rejoiced when a chalice, found on Burin's person, indicated that his victim was a priest.

Françoise Mézière (b. 1745), a very pious laywoman and teacher, was guillotined at Laval (Feb. 5, 1794), after being apprehended while caring for wounded Vendean soldiers. At Ernée the guillotine made martyrs of two sisters belonging to the congregation of Charit é de la Chapelle-au-Riboul. For refusing to take the prescribed oath, Françoise Tréhet (b. 1756) was executed March 13, 1794, and Jeanne Véron (b. 1766), seven days later. On June 25, Sister St. Monica (Marie Lhullier, b. 1744), an illiterate lay sister belonging to the congregation of the Hospital Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus, was executed at Laval for refusing to take the oath condemned by the Church.

All 19 were beatified June 19, 1955.

Bibliography: e. cesbron, Les Martyrs de Laval (Rennes 1955). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bien-heueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by The Benedictines of Paris, 12 v. (Paris 193556) 13:105114.

[m. lawlor]

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