Paris, Martyrs of
PARIS, MARTYRS OF
This term refers to a group of 191 men who were beatified after being put to death in various Parisian prisons during the french revolution. They are sometimes called the September Martyrs because their execution occurred on Sept. 2 or 3, 1792, as part of the September massacres during the first Reign of Terror. The catalogue of beatified martyrs includes 2 archbishops, 1 bishop, 176 priests, 1 lay brother, 5 deacons, 1 tonsured cleric, and 5 laymen. The martyrdoms occurred in 4 places: 95 executed in the Carmelite convent, 72 in the Vincentian seminary of St. Firmin, 21 in the Abbey of saint-germaindes-prÉs, and 3 in the prison of La Force.
The Circumstances. Two sets of circumstances led up to the massacres. The first was the strong opposition of a large part of the French clergy to the civil constitution of the clergy, resulting in their refusal to take the required oath to support it. The second was the critical situation that developed from the military reverses of the revolutionary armies and that permitted bitterly antireligious groups to operate freely. Following the manifesto (July 11, 1792) of the Duke of Brunswick, leader of the Prussian forces, threatening vengeance on the French for mistreating their rulers, the Parisian mob stormed the Tuileries (August 10), massacred the Swiss guards, and imprisoned King Louis XVI and the Queen in the Temple. Effective power in the capital passed from the Legislative Assembly to the Commune and the Jacobin clubs. Municipalities received authorization (August 11) to arrest suspects, including nonjuring priests. Most priests in the provinces went into exile following the decree of August 11 that banished them. In Paris ecclesiastics and other suspects were herded into Bicêtre, Châtelet, the Conciergerie, La Force, and other prisons, or into the jails improvised in the Carmelite convent, St. Firmin, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Panic spread as fears of invasion grew. When false rumors circulated (September 2) that Verdun had surrendered and that the prisoners were preparing an uprising, mobs invaded the prisons and executed hundreds after summary trials. About three-fourths of the victims, totaling between 1,100 and 1,400, were criminals. Some were political prisoners, but the clerics had been incarcerated for religious reasons. Beatification occurred only in cases where it was proved that death was inflicted for reasons of faith. Almost all the beatified martyrs were massacred for their refusal to support by oath the Civil Constitution. In 1926 the Congregation of Rites deferred action on 22 other persons who were put to death in the last three of the above-named prisons. None of those who were put to death in other prisons during the September massacres have been beatified.
The Martyrs. The list of beatified martyrs follows (with year of birth noted when known).
At the Carmelite convent perished Jean Marie du Lau d'Alleman (b. 1738), Archbishop of Arles; François Joseph de la rochefoucauld maumont (1736), Bishop of Beauvais; and his brother Pierre Louis de la Rouchefoucauld Bayers (1744), Bishop of Saintes.
Most of the martyred priests belonged to the Archdiocese of paris. Several of them, who came from other French dioceses, were residing in the capital. About one-third of the secular priests had been stationed in one or another of 26 dioceses throughout the country. Their occupations were diversified. The majority were engaged in pastoral work as pastors, curates, or chaplains; several served in seminaries as superiors, professors, or librarians; and some were vicars general of dioceses or held other equally important administrative posts.
The following were secular priests: Vincent Abraham (1740), André Alricy (1712), Daniel André Des Pommerayes (1756), André Angar, Jean Aubert, Pierre Balzac (1750), Jean Bangue (1744), Louis Barret (1753), Joseph Bécavin (1767), Louis Remi Benoist (1740), his brother Louis Remi Nicolas Benoist (1755), Michel Binard (1742), Robert le Bis (1719), Nicolas Bize (1737), Pierre Bonsé (1719), Jean Bottex (1749), Jean Bousquet (1751), Antoine du Bouzet (1739), Pierre Briquet, Pierre Brisse (1733), Jean Capeau, Charles Carnus (1749), Jean Caron (1730), Bertrand de Caupenne (1753), Armand Chapt de Rastignac (1727), Claude Chaudet, Antoine Boucharenc de Chaumeils (1738), Nicolas Clairet (1726), Claude Colin (1728), Nicolas Colin (1750), Louis le Danois (1741), François Dardan (1733), Mathurin Deruelle, Gabriel Desprez de Roche (1751, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Paris), Thomas Dubuisson (1737), Jacques Dufour, François Dumasrambaud de Calandelle (1754), Denis Duval (1740), Henri Ermès, Joseph Falcoz (1726), Gilbert Fautrel (1730), Claude Fontaine (1749), Armand de Foucauld de Pontbriand (1751), Philibert Fougères (1742), Michel de la Gardette (1744), Pierre Garrigues (1725), Nicolas Gaudreau (1744), Louis Gaultier (1717), Pierre Gervais (1753), Étienne Gillet (1758), Georges Girous (1765), Jean Goizet (1742), André Grasset de Saint-Sauveur (born in Canada 1758), Joseph Gros (1742), Jean Guilleminet (1738), Yves Guillon de Keranrum (1748, vice chancellor of the University of Paris), Julien Hédouin (1760), Pierre Hénocq (1749), Saintin Huré(1765), Jean Jannin (1754), Pierre Joret (1761), Jean Le Laisant (1753) and his brother Julien (1761), Gilbert Lanchon (1754), Jacques de la Lande (1735), Pierre Landry (1762), Jean Lanier (1753), Laurent, Jean de Lavèze Belay (1742), Michel Leber (1731), Jean Lecan, Pierre Leclerq (or Clerq, 1744), Olivier Lefebvre (1728), Jean Legrand (1745), Jacques Lejardinier des Landes (1750), Jean Lemaitre (1767), Jean Leroy (1738), François Londiveau (1764), Louis Longuet (1757), Martin Loublier (1733), Jacques de Lubersac (1729), Louis Mauduit (1763), Gaspard Maignien (1752), Jean Marchand (1765), Claude Marmotant (1748), Claude Mayneaud de Bisefranc (1750), François Méallet de Fargues (1764), Jacques Menuret (1734), Jacques Le Meunier (1747), Henri Millet (1760), François Monnier (1763), Thomas Monsaint (1725), Marie François Mouffle (1754), Jean Baptiste Nativelle (1743) and his brother René (1751), Mathias Nogier (1764), Joseph Oviefve (1748), Joseph Pazery de Thorame (1751), his brother Jules (1763) and uncle Pierre (1735), François Pey (1759), Jean Philippot (1743), Pierre Ploquin (1762), René Poret (1732), Julien Poulain de Launay (1744), Jean Quéneau (1758), Jacques Rabé (1750), Jean Rateau (1758), Pierre Régnet (1755), Yves Rey de Kervisic (1761), Nicholas Roussel (1730), Marc Royer (1720), Jean de Saint Clair (1734), Pierre Saint James (1742), Urbain Salin de Niart (1760), Henri Samson (1754), Jacques Schmid (1752), Jean Séguin (1754), Jean Simon, Pierre de Turmenyes (1744), René Urvoy (1766), Pierre Verrier (1722), and Pierre Vitalis (1759).
Priests belonging to the regular clergy included three Maurists: Louis Barreau de La Touche (1758), René Massey (1732), and Ambroise Chevreux (1728), the superior general. Jean Bonnel de Pradal (1738) and Claude Ponse (1729) belonged to the Canons Regular of St. Genevieve; Jean Bernard (1759), to the Canons Regular of St. Victor. Jean Burté (1740) was a Conventual Franciscan;
Jean Morel (Père Apollinaire, 1739), a Capuchin; and Georges Girault (Père Severin, 1728), a Third Order Franciscan. Charles Hurtrel (1760) was a Minim. Claude Bochot (1720) and Eustache Félix (1735) were Doctrinarians. François Hébert (1735), Pierre Pottier (1743), and François Lefranc (1739), assistant to the superior general, were Eudists. Urbain Lefebvre (1725) was a member of the Paris Foreign Mission Society. The Vincentians numbered Jean Gruyer (1734) and Louis François (1751), head of the Parisian seminary of St. Firmin.
The Sulpicians supplied 12 martyred priests: Bernard Cucsac (1728), Thomas Dubray, Jacques Galais (1754), Pierre Gaugain (1725), Pierre Guérin (1759), Jacques Hourrier (1751), Henri Luzeau de la Mulonnière (1762), Jean Pontus, Pierre Psalmon (1749), Claude Rousseau (1751), Jean Savine (1760), and Jean Tessier. Six of them had been in charge of seminaries.
Twenty-three priests had been jesuits until the suppression of the order. They were: René Andrieux (1742), François Balmain (1733), Jean Benoît (1731), Charles Béraud du Pérou (1737), Jacques Bonnaud (1740), Claude Cayx-Dumas (1724), Jean Charton de Millou (1736), Guillaume Delfaut (1733), Jacques Friteyre-Durvé (1725), Claude Cagnières des Granges (1722), Charles Le Gué (1724), Pierre Guérin du Rocher (1759) and his brother Robert (1736), Éloy Herque du Roule (1741), Anne Alexandre Lanfant (1726), Claude Laporte (1734), François Le Livec de Tresurin (1726), Thomas Loup (called Bonnotte, 1719), Vincent le Rousseau (1726), Jean Seconds (1734), François Vareilhe-Duteil (1734), Nicolas Verron (1740), and Mathurin de la Villecrohain le Bous de Villeneuve (1731).
Louis Boubert (1766), Louis Hurtrel (brother of Bl. Charles Hurtrel, the Minim), Jacques Robert de Lezardière (1768), Étienne de Ravinel (1769), and Charles Veret (1763) were seminarians who had received the deaconate. Nezel, a tonsured cleric, was a professor at the Sulpician seminary in Issy, near Paris. Guillaume Nicolas Leclercq (Brother Solomon, 1745) was general secretary of the Christian Brothers.
Five laymen complete the catalogue. Sebastien Desbrielles (1739) and Jean Duval had been teachers, and Louis Rigot (1751), a sacristan. Jean de Villette (1731) and Charles Régis de la Calmette, Count of Valfons, were former army officers.
The entire group was beatified Oct. 17, 1926.
Feast: Sept. 2 or 4.
Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 18 (Rome 1926) 415–425, 439–447. g. lenÔtre, Les Massacres de Septembre (Paris 1907); La Maison des Carmes (Paris 1933). h. welschinger, Les Martyrs de Septembre (Paris 1927). p. caron, Les Massacres de Septembre (Paris 1935). j. hÉrissay, Les Journées de Septembre (Paris 1946). h. fouqueray, Un Groupe des Martyrs de Septembre 1792: Vingt-trois anciens Jésuites (Paris 1926). w. j. battersby, Brother Solomon, Martyr of the French Revolution (New York 1960). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'histroique des fêtes, 12 v. (Paris 1935–56) 9:53–71, good bibliog.
[w. j. battersby]