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Saturday, 21 February 2009

Blessed Noel Pinot

Jane Teresa of the blog My heart was restless passed on to me the story of a martyr priest from the time of the French Revolution who went to his death on this day in 1794. He refused to take the oath of allegiance to the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy", a law passed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution which subjected the Church to the civil government.

Many priests and religious understandably fled the country and did great work elsewhere - including the USA. A brave few actually stayed on to minister to their flock - among them Blessed Noel Pinot. After refusing to take the oath he had to go into hiding but he came back publicly after the initial success of the rising in the Vendée.

During the brutal suppression of the rising (with atrocities amounting to genocide) Fr Pinot was captured while fully vested for Mass. He was dragged through the streets to the jeers of hostile spectators and soldiers and thrown into prison. After twelve days, he was sentenced to death for refusing to take the oath.

He went to the guillotine still vested for Mass and repeatedly praying the words that begin the Mass: "Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam.

Whenever we suffer, we should always remember that our trials are puny compared to those of the heroic martyrs of the faith.
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