with the martyrs of France
BY divine will and by the grace of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, France received the light of the Catholic faith right from the first century.
Tradition tells us that the close friends of Our Lord, Saints Lazarus, Martha and Mary Magdalene, who had been driven out of Palestine, landed in Marseille. Other Christians, disciples of Saint John, followed them.
They settled in the south, in Lyon and Vienne, then went north, bearing witness everywhere to Jesus Christ our Saviour, often at the cost of their lives. These valiant missionaries made our Gallo-Roman people a Christian country.
“Throughout the centuries, Christ’s truth remained living thanks to the martyrs,” noted our Father, Georges de Nantes. Who are these victims of the pagan or Arian barbarians? Who are these virgins who preferred death to keep themselves pure for Our Lord, and also these martyrs of the Eucharist or of the divinely ordained Catholic monarchy? They are so numerous that it is impossible to speak about each of them, or even to give all their names!
In the light of our Father, let us discover some of these beautiful figures during this Lent, so that we may love them better, pray to them more and strengthen ourselves by their example. For our situation is similar to theirs, as our Father said in 1976:
“Like them, we are Catholics lost in masses that are increasingly paganised,” in the midst of whom we are obliged to live, while rejecting their immorality. “In school, you are going to live among pagans, but we do not have their doctrines, nor their ideas, nor their fashions. React against this milieu.”
Our Lady of Fatima warned us: we have entered the last times, the time of apostasy and diabolical disorientation. Let us take refuge under the mantel of our good Mother of Heaven and let us recite our Rosary. She will give us the grace of fidelity to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our sacrifices will hasten the day of Her Victory, for She promised this: Her Immaculate Heart will triumph.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, by the Immaculate Heart of Mary, have mercy on us, may Your Kingdom come!
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2 – ASH WEDNESDAY
King and Queen of France
We cannot evoke our numerous martyrs of France without naming first of all Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother, King and Queen of the martyrs and of France.
Throughout Her life, the Most Holy Mother of God was associated with Jesus in His sufferings and His daily sorrows, so discrete yet so sharp.
On April 7 in the year 30 a.d., Jesus, the Son of God made man, offered His life as a sacrifice on the Cross. The Virgin Mary, standing near Him was but one Heart with Her Son and partook of His sufferings for our salvation.
“The Queen of Heaven suffered more than all the martyrs because it is possible to count the wounds and the intense sufferings that each martyr endured, but the wounds and sufferings of the Heart of Mary are innumerable,” Saint John Eudes wrote.
In Heaven, Jesus and Mary are continually offended by the sins of ungrateful men. During Lent, try to console Them!
Colour an angel.
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
Whoever wants to be My disciple
The Gospel relates these warnings of Our Lord Jesus Christ to His Apostles: “Whoever wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Also: “A disciple is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.”
Remember Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, who received Him in his house in Bethany. When Jesus was absent, Lazarus fell seriously ill and died.
Four days later, Jesus returned. He wept upon seeing the affliction of his sisters, Martha and Mary-Magdalen. He called Lazarus, ordering him to come out of the tomb! The dead man obeyed: Jesus had brought him back to life!
The news of this miracle immediately spread throughout Jerusalem. The high priests then resolved to kill Lazarus since, because of him, many Jews left them and believed in Jesus.
Holy Face of Jesus Who wept at the death of Lazarus for whom You were going to offer Your life, I adore You and I love You.
Colour Saint Mary Magdalene.
FRIDAY, MARCH 4 – FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH
A miraculous bark
Ten years after the death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Jews implemented their homicidal project: they seized Lazarus, Martha and Mary Magdalene and put them on a bark without sails or oars. They added other Christians, such as Maximin and Marcelle.
Left to the mercy of the waves and currents, the bark should have sunk with its passengers. It, however, landed miraculously in Gaul, at Marseille.
Astounded by this marvel, the inhabitants welcomed these odd shipwreck victims and listened to their first preaching. Lazarus bore witness to Jesus Christ Who had raised him from the dead. Upon hearing his persuasive words, the inhabitants of Marseilles converted in droves.
Having become their bishop, Lazarus governed the Lord’s small flock during thirty years. The pagan population, however, looked unfavourably upon the decrease in its numbers.
Our Father explained that the just man is persecuted because, “through him, souls abandon their errors. They come out of obscurity and cleave to Jesus. Insofar as a man bears fruit in this way and adds souls to those souls who are already saved, he becomes the object of hatred that can even go to the extreme of murder.”
Our Lord does not require us to preach, but at least to set the good example. At home and at school, let us fulfil the duty of our state, even if it incurs criticism and mockery.
Colour the bark without sails or oars.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 – FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH
A witness to Jesus Christ
One day, some fanatics arrested Lazarus and brought him before the city judge. Asked to sacrifice to idols on pain of death, the bishop replied that he could not, because he was the servant of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Creator of the world.
In spite of his old age, he testified vigorously once again to all that he had seen in Palestine. As for death, he did not fear it, since Christ had already raised him once from the dead!
This testimony and refusal angered the magistrate, who proceeded to torture him: the executioners tore his body with iron combs, clothed him in a burning cuirass, and laid him on a grill.
Then they tried to shoot him with arrows. Miraculously, the arrows could not penetrate the saint’s limbs. To finish him off, the pagans cut off his head.
Saint Lazarus did not die for his own ideas, doctrines and theories. He died for Christ, testifying to what he had seen and heard.
Yes, Jesus of Nazareth died to save us from sin and rose again. He is God!
The martyr is truly a witness to Christ, not afraid to die for the truth he preaches. His soul is filled with great confidence and radiant peace.
Today, let us console the Immaculate Heart of Mary by our good behaviour and piety during Mass and prayers for the First Saturday of the month.
Colour Saint Lazarus
SUNDAY, MARCH 6 – 1st SUNDAY OF LENT
The Christians of Lyon
In 160, the Christians of Lyon joyfully received a new bishop, Pothinus, from Smyrna in the East. A disciple of the Apostle John, Saint Polycarp, had converted him to the faith in Christ.
Pothinus closely associated worship of Jesus the Saviour with devotion to His Blessed Mother. He consecrated the crypt of the present-day church of Saint-Nizier to the Virgin Mary, placing her image there.
After a time of tranquillity in the province, wars, divisions, epidemics of plague and economic crisis followed one another.
To deflect the people’s anger, it was necessary to point the finger of blame. The idolaters hurled horrible accusations at the Christians. One day the angry mob seized all the followers of Christ, insulting and abusing them, dragging them before the tribune and the magistrates.
Many bravely confessed their faith. Some, alas, apostatised and confessed to imaginary crimes in order to save their lives. Among the accused were two very young slaves: Blandina and Ponticus. Assuming them to be weak, the executioners set out against them. They remained steadfast: “I am a Christian, and no bad is done among us," Blandina repeated.
“When we are accused,” said our Father, “dragged before the public with dishonour and threats, we must rejoice because it is a ‘Beatitude’. Even if it is hard to bear, it is the right way to salvation.”
When receiving Holy Communion, I will ask Jesus the Host for the grace of perseverance and I will pray for present-day martyrs.
MONDAY, MARCH 7
Force is given to the humble
In the courtroom, a dozen prisoners became afraid. They forgot that Christ fights with His martyrs and gives them His strength in torments!
They denied their faith and, under torture, denounced other Christians. The judge, however, did not release them. They were taken to the dungeon with those who had stood firm and soon repented when they came into contact with them. Through their prayers, they declared themselves Christians again.
The venerable bishop Pothinus, although ninety years old, appeared in court in his turn. Cruelly beaten, he died in prison a few days later, on June 2 177.
Finally, by order of the emperor, the forty-seven Christians were subjected to various tortures. Blandina did not cease to pray and to exhort them. As for her, at the moment of her martyrdom, the wild animals lay at her feet without wanting to bite her! A furious cow threw her into the air several times without Blandina stopping her intimate conversation with her divine Spouse. It was necessary to cut her throat.
Let us admire Saint Blandina. She was only a poor young slave and showed as much courage as the noblest of Christians.
Anyone who is but a weak child, yet remains in the hand of the Lord, is strong in trial, and remains faithful to Jesus even in martyrdom.
Today I will help out at home with a smile.
Colour saint Pothinus
TUESDAY, MARCH 8
A Holy Family
In those same years, the Christians living in the city of Autun had no pastor. Among them, Faustus and Augusta, persons of noble rank, raised their only child, Symphorian, a very docile and pious boy, in the faith.
Augusta taught him biblical wisdom and Christian virtues:
“My son, be happy to let yourself be guided. Truly wise is he who enjoys receiving lessons. On the contrary, he who dismisses them and does not want to be guided, because he has a presumptuous confidence in himself, is a fool.
“A child left to himself brings shame to his mother... and the unsubmissive and haughty young man is an abomination in the eyes of God. My dear child, love God in Heaven and your parents on earth.”
Symphorian would remember these maternal lessons. When three missionaries, Bishop Benignus, Andochius and Thyrsus, arrived in Autun, Faustus welcomed them into his home. They baptised Symphorian and administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to him. The child also made his first Communion.
These apostles carried out many conversions in the city where a fervent Church was formed. They went to Langres where Faustus’ sister, Leonille, lived, and then to Dijon. Benignus established the centre of his mission there, thanks to an ardent Christian, Paschasia, who provided for all his needs.
Today I will pray fervently for my parents and speak to them with more respect, for they are the ones who guide me on the way to Heaven.
Colour an angel.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9
Saint Benignus at Dijon
Peace remained precarious. Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ visit to Dijon revived the persecution in the region. Andochius and Thyrsus suffered martyrdom at Saulieu.
Denounced by ambitious officials, Benignus was arrested in 178. Refusing to apostatise, he appeared before Marcus Aurelius who had him scourged and thrown in prison, hoping to make the holy bishop relent.
An angel appeared to the prisoner and miraculously healed his wounds. So the emperor ordered him to be taken to a pagan temple and forced to swallow meat sacrificed to idols.
Benignus prayed fervently and traced the sign of the Cross on the statues of the deities. Immediately, idols and vessels used for sacrifices disappeared like smoke!
Stunned, but furious, the pagans inflicted further torture on him before locking him up for six days with several ferocious and hungry dogs. They did him no harm. The merciful Christ again sent His angel to comfort and nourish His martyr.
These many miracles were making Marcus Aurelius lose face. To avoid this, persisting in his diabolical hatred, he ordered that the bishop’s neck be broken and that he be pierced with a spear. At the moment when Saint Benignus died, the faithful smelled a sweet scent and saw a white dove flying to Heaven.
Like Saint Benignus, let us make our Sign of the Cross with as much devotion as possible.
Colour Saint Benignus and the dove.
THURSDAY, MARCH 10
“You who made me a Christian!”
In Autun, an order from the prefect Heraclius rekindled the persecution. Symphorian was educated in pagan schools and took part in Gallo-Roman society. His heart, however, was elsewhere. Often he prayed by invoking his fathers in the faith, Benignus, Andochius and Thyrsus:
“O you who made me a Christian, obtain for me the favour to walk in your footsteps! May I be like you, an apostle and martyr!”
Our founder, Georges de Nantes often reminded us that martyrdom is not bestowed by chance: it must be earned. Martyrdom is granted by God to those whose virtue He wants to reward. A holy death cannot be improvised. With the grace of God, it is the fruit of a life of love of Jesus and Mary, of prayer and sacrifice.
Even if our classmates have no religion and boast that they do not need God, let us always remain faithful to the faith that our parents transmitted to us through Baptism. Let us repeat with Saint Symphorian:
“O you who made me a Christian, obtain for me the favour to walk in your footsteps!”
Colour an angel
FRIDAY, MARCH 11
Martyrdom is the vocation of Christians
In August 180, the city of Autun celebrated the goddess Leda. Symphorian was twenty years old. Meeting by chance the pagan procession, he could not hide his indignation and disapproval. The crowd gathered around him and urged him to worship the goddess. He refused outright. Someone exclaimed:
“He is a Christian!”
The young man immediately asserted before the Prefect Heraclius: “My name is Symphorian and I am a Christian.”
Faced with so much courage and nobility, the judge wanted to save him by bringing him back to paganism, either by threats or by the promise of a good place in the army or the judiciary. All was in vain. Then the prefect condemned Symphorian to be beheaded, outside of the city.
In our dramatic age, our Father encouraged us to serve Christ as valiant soldiers. He did not hesitate to speak to the children about martyrdom as well as the natural death of the Christian.
“We must think that martyrdom is the vocation of Christians. This vocation could well be asked of us: ‘God may have chosen me to give my life and blood for the Catholic faith. Lord, I am ready!’”
Let us ask Jesus for the grace to say to Him one day: “Lord, I am ready!”
Colour Saint Symphorian
SATURDAY, MARCH 12
The mother and the son
Just as the escort was dragging the convict, a loud cry stopped the procession and the crowd. Symphorian recognised his mother’s voice! From the top of the rampart, she exhorted her son:
“Courage! Lift up your heart, see the One Who reigns in Heaven! No, life is not being taken away from you. On the contrary, it is going to be changed, for you, into a better life. Through an advantageous exchange, you are going to receive eternal Life from Heaven!”
With his face transfigured, Symphorian looked at his mother one last time with such an expression of gratitude and tenderness that many of the assistants were moved.
Putting his hand on his heart, he raised his head Heavenward in a final farewell and resumed his march towards martyrdom. A few moments later, on that August 22, 180, the soul of Symphorian flew off to the true Fatherland.
Today I will tidy up my room and belongings to please my mother.
Colour Saint Augusta meeting her son again.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2nd SUNDAY OF LENT
Gaul still faithful to Rome
Emperor Decius decreed that every Roman citizen should take part in a patriotic sacrifice offered to the gods of the City. In Rome, Pope Saint Fabian refused and suffered martyrdom on January 20, 250.
In Gaul, many followed the Pope’s example, such as Saint Saturninus, the first bishop of Toulouse; Saint Denis of Paris, with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius; Saints Julian and Ferreol, venerated in Vienne.
Decius died the following year. In 257, an edict of Valerian forbade Christian worship. These two bloody persecutions were short and almost immediately followed by a first ‘peace of the Church’. Diocletian, in 303, provoked a final burst of paganism meant to annihilate Christianity. Even in times of calm, Christians never lived in safety.
Let us offer a sacrifice of obedience for the Holy Father.
Colour the hill (on the top, left)
MONDAY, MARCH 14
Saint Patroclus, Knight of the Faith
Patroclus belonged to a noble family from the Champagne region of France. As soon as he could, he lived as a hermit, but he remained gentle and affable with all. Having received the gift of preaching, he touched hearts.
Emperor Aurelian having been informed about his deeds, questioned him in person and condemned him to be beheaded in a bog.
God’s hand blinded the executioners, and Patroclus escaped to a nearby mound. They found him praying on this mound and, at this place, cut off his head.
“Life passes,” our Father said, “and Jesus’ disciple who imitates Him in His virtues, is led to follow Him in a closer, more immediate way.
“One day, he is caught in the whirlwind of persecution, trial, and temptation. At that moment, he must be very faithful to follow Jesus, to remain in His footsteps, in His light, so as not to forsake Him.”
Let us add to our prayer today, these words of an ancient hymn:
Saint Patroclus by shedding your blood
You sow faith in this place
Today near the Almighty
Cast your eyes on your children.
Knight of love and faith,
Carrying the Gospel in your heart
You came here to plant the Cross;
Revive in us your ardour.
Colour Saint Patroclus.
TUESDAY, MARCH 15
For the love of Jesus Christ
Around the same time, a young princess lived in Spain. She was a Christian at heart, but her parents remained pagans. At the age of sixteen, she fled from her father’s palace and went to Gaul, accompanied by Beata, Sanctian and Augustine.
Arriving at Vienne, she became poor for the love of Jesus Christ and received baptism under the name of Columba. With her companions, she left for Lyon, Mâcon, Autun; they finally settled in Sens where they edified the faithful by the ardour of their faith.
These foreigners, however, were denounced to Emperor Aurelian as likely being Christians. Aurelian summoned them and sentenced them to death. Saint Beata, Saint Sanctian and Saint Augustine thus won the palm of martyrdom.
Let us listen to this warning from Pope John Paul I:
“Today each of us only keeps the Faith to the extent that he defends it, to the extent that he remains firm, courageous and determined, in imitation of the first martyrs.”
Let us often repeat: “O Jesus, strength of the martyrs, have mercy on us!”
Colour Saint Beata.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16
A miraculous she-bear
The nobility and beauty of the young Columba had struck the emperor. He had her thrown in prison, using threats and flattery to turn her away from her Catholic faith.
As he promised her to marry into a rich family and to live a happy life, the only reply he received was:
“You want, O tyrant, to separate me from the love of Jesus Christ, my heavenly Bridegroom, but you will never succeed!”
Aurelian ordered the Christian virgin to be delivered to a debauched man. No sooner had this man entered the dungeon than a furious she-bear rushed at him and knocked him over! Columba took advantage of the situation and succeeded in converting her attacker.
At this news, Aurelian ordered his soldiers to set fire to the prison. The she-bear panicked, Columba soothed her, then let her flee through the flames and the crowd gathered. Our captive, in great danger of being burned alive, owed her salvation to an abundant and providential rain that extinguished the fire!
The miracles of the saints are historical facts. Today, let us read a life of a saint rather than playing on the computer.
Colour an angel.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17
“The Heavens are open to you”
Through these miracles, the Good God strengthened the faith of the faithful and showed the pagans that the God of Christians is true, alive and strong!
The emperor, enslaved to his paganism, refused to see the hand of God. He begged Columba to give him her “magical powers”! The young girl replied sharply that it was not magic:
“I worship Christ, Son of Almighty God. I invoke Jesus in my tribulations and He deigns to answer me.”
Obstinate, Aurelian sentenced her to death. “With the help of God and my Saviour, I will triumph over your torments,” Columba warned.
A divine voice was heard as her head was cut off on the road to Meaux:
“Come, Columba, the Heavens are open to you.”
Let us sacrifice computer games. Let us read the life of a saint instead!
Colour Saint Columba
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
Saint Columba of Sens
Our Lord immediately glorified the body of His valiant spouse, for the wild beasts respected her remains abandoned in the bush.
A shepherd providentially discovered her and ran to warn his master, General Aubertus, who was blind.
Moved by the Spirit of God, Aubertus wet his eyes with the blood of the victim and immediately regained his sight!
He became a Christian and built a tomb and a small chapel in honour of Saint Columba. Over the centuries, the church became a large abbey.
Yes, the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians!
Let us never fail to say politely ‘thank you!’
Colour a flowering bush.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
The peace of the Church
Constantine’s conversion, after his miraculous victory of the Milvian Bridge in 313, marked the end of the persecutions. The emperor recognised the Christian religion and offered the Lateran Hill in Rome to the Pope to establish there his official residence. The Church was at peace.
During this 4th century, the fervour of the faithful waned since there was no longer any danger in being Christian. Saints were distressed about this.
Some hermits left the cities, in order to live in solitude under the guidance of a spiritual Father. Later, other Christians preferred to gather in community around an abbot. This is how the first monasteries of monks were founded.
All continued the struggle of the martyrs against the Devil, no longer by shedding their blood, but with the weapons of prayer and penance.
Their spiritual warfare bore abundant fruit. The monks evangelised the people in our rural areas, establishing monasteries and villages there. They helped them with their works of charity.
Let us ask our parents what our dominant fault is in order to fight it courageously.
Colour the birds.
SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 3rd SUNDAY OF LENT
After this time of peace for the Church came the terrible time of barbarian invasions. These pagan peoples, without faith or law, were constantly on the move.
They lived on looting, brought terror to towns and villages, massacred, burned everything in their path.
Rome, being in a state of decadence, could no longer protect the populations of its Empire. In Gaul, only the Catholic bishops stood up to the enemy, as defenders of the City.
In the 5th century, in Reims, Bishop Nicasius, favoured by the gift of prophecy, predicted that the city would be captured and plundered by the Vandals, and that he himself would be a victim of their ferocity.
The Good God thus chastises His people when He wants to bring them back to a more ardent Catholic life, without compromise with the world.
Like Saint Nicasius, our Father warns us: “Let us not be superficial Christians, Christian in appearance only, half-Christians. Let us be integral Christians, convinced defenders of the true integral faith, which we must put in our whole life and not only in a certain portion of our being, allowing us to be pagans on the other side.”
Let us be in a good mood all day and offer our annoyances for the conversion of sinners.
Colour an angel.
MONDAY, MARCH 21
The fruits of the sacrifice
When the Vandals were at the gates of Reims in 407, Nicasius refused to flee. He remained with the old and the infirm, in the company of his sister Eutropia, who had dedicated her virginity to the Lord.
When these Arian barbarians (heretics who did not believe in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ) entered the city, they had to contend with the bishop. He came out of his cathedral and walked towards them.
They hurled themselves at him and killed him. The good shepherd gave his life to save his sheep.
Then these brutes massacred Eutropia, the deacon Florens, the lector Jucundus and many other Christians.
The sacrifice of Nicasius, the tenth bishop of Reims, earned his successor, Saint Remigius, the grace of converting the king of the Franks, Clovis.
By his baptism, this pagan barbarian became the first Catholic king, the eldest son of the Church and the peacemaker of Gaul!
Let us make an effort to learn our catechism well. To remain faithful to Jesus and Mary, like our Father, we must know our religion well. Let us recite the Prayer for the Glorification of our Father.
Colour the tree with its fruits.
TUESDAY, MARCH 22
How to defeat the barbarians
Attila arrived from Asia at the head of his fierce Hun warriors. He invaded Gaul in 451. After ravaging Nancy, Verdun, Metz, Reims and Châlons, the horde headed for Paris. The prayers of Saint Genevieve, however, obtained the salvation of the capital.
Attila went to Orleans, a less ambitious prey. The bishop of this city, Saint Agnan, understood that only the strength of the Roman legions could drive back the invaders.
He implored the help of General Aëtius who refused. Our saint fasted, preached, organised processions and public prayers, so much so that Aëtius changed his mind! His legions attacked the barbarians from the rear. Attila, furious, abandoned his easy conquest and hastily retreated northward, pursued by the Romans!
At the gates of Troyes, the Huns massacred the deacon Saint Nemorius and his companions. The city was lost when its bishop, Saint Lupus, came out clothed in his pontifical ornaments. Just to see him impressed Attila so greatly that he changed direction, sparing Troyes.
The Roman legion of Aëtius, allied with the Frankish troops, caught up with the fugitives and defeated them at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields.
Through this alliance of civilised military force and the prayer of the faithful, Saint Agnan had succeeded in guaranteeing order and peace.
Let us fight against our impatience and anger; let us remain calm and kind to all.
Colour an angel
Wednesday, March 23
The wedding of Clovis’ daughter
The conversion and baptism of Clovis, king of the Franks, in 496, made France the first Catholic nation, the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.”
Throughout his life, Clovis fought the attempts of the Alemanni to invade his kingdom. After them came the Visigoths from Central Europe. Clovis killed their leader, Alaric, in single combat, and drove these enemy peoples back into southern Gaul and Spain.
Clovis died in 511. His holy wife, Queen Clotilda, suffered greatly from the still barbaric mores of their three sons. Their daughter, Clotilda, consoled her mother. One day, Amalric, son of Alaric, asked to enter into an alliance with the Franks and for the hand of the young princess. After praying and taking advice, the queen and her daughter agreed. Who could say? Amalric might be attracted to the true religion by his Catholic wife? This would then lead to the conversion of the Arian Visigoths, just as Queen Clotilda had been the instrument of the conversion of Clovis and his Franks.
During meals, let us discreetly offer a sacrifice for sinners.
Colour the princess Clotilda of France.
THURSDAY, MARCH 24
The wedding was celebrated joyfully, then the new spouses headed off to the Visigoth kingdom. Alas, barely had the young queen settled in her palace, that she realised that her husband’s heart had completely changed.
Amalric, in his double hatred of the true faith and of Clovis, began to persecute his Catholic wife: insults, threats, public outrages, nothing was spared her. He even beat her to the point of drawing blood.
“Why does God allow these outrages against those who are most faithful to Him?” our Father asked. “It is the world upside down, or more precisely, it is the manifestation of original sin, in this corruption, in this malice that inhabits humanity and that Christ seeks to convert, that the Church seeks to cleanse, so that justice, goodness, peace and charity may triumph.”
Let us remain humble and modest, without indulging in any insolence.
Colour the queen Saint Clotilda.
FRIDAY, MARCH 25 – ANNONCIATION
Victime for the Visigoths
Realising that Amalric was seeking to kill her, the queen secretly sent a messenger to her brother Childebert, bearing a garment stained with blood from her wounds.
Childebert’s indignation was terrible: he hastily mounted a military expedition to save his sister. His soldiers killed Amalric as he tried to flee with his treasures!
On her way back to France, Clotilda died of the mistreatment she had received, but her soul had not failed.
Saint Quiteria, a Catholic Visigoth princess, had been baptised without her parents’ knowledge. At the age of thirteen, she refused to marry an Arian prince, because she had taken a vow of virginity. She preferred to lose her life rather than renounce her faith and was beheaded.
It would be necessary to wait a century for the conversion of the Visigoths to come about, at the cost of the sacrifice of their young king, Saint Hermengild. His wife Ingundis, another Frankish princess, won him over and he was baptised by Saint Leander of Seville. Hermengild refused to receive communion from the hands of an Arian priest whom his father had sent him. Struck with the axe, he earned the conversion of his subjects by his death.
With our Father, let us admire our martyrs:
“How magnificent is the holiness of the saints! How they give glory to God much more by their smallness and abjection than by their greatness, wisdom, intelligence or feats.”
On this day of the Annunciation, let us sing or recite the Angelus with fervour.
Colour the Blessed Virgin, except Her veil and Her Heart.
SATURDAY, MARCH 26
“From the fury of the Normans…
In the middle of the 9th century, after the magnificent and benevolent reign of Charlemagne, his grandsons divided his empire that was too vast.
Under the Carolingians, who lacked authority, the Frankish kingdom fell into decadence, undermined by wars and internal anarchy.
To these misfortunes were added the invasions of the Hungarian barbarians, Saracens and those of the terrible Vikings or ‘Normans’ from the north seas. They would go upriver in their flat-bottomed boats called ‘drakkars,’ devastating the banks of the Seine, and even as far as Paris. Twice (in 845 and 856,) they laid siege to the capital.
Faced with danger, the Parisians converted. Once so proud of their trade, they understood that these misfortunes were the punishment for their disorders, especially their lack of piety. They turned to the Blessed Virgin and rebuilt Her cathedral.
Our Lady of Paris then came to their rescue: She sent them a leader capable of saving them in the person of Eudes, Count of Paris. He organised the defence, built fortifications and galvanised everyone’s courage.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin protected the Parisians. Let us often invoke our divine Mother, repeating: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!”
Colour the sea.
SUNDAY, MARCH 27 – LÆTARE
... Deliver us Lord”
The bishops of Paris and Chartres agreed to send to the border of their two dioceses a priest to assist them in their arduous office.
They chose a monk from the Abbey of Notre-Dame-de-la-Roche. This courageous religious was called Nom. His forename is taken from that of his Patron Saint, Nummius, a bishop from the 5th century. The Vikings plundered the region where Brother Nom gave his life for the faith on July 8, 852.
The Normans martyred many monks and members of the Catholic faithful. They looted and burned houses, monasteries and churches. In the face of so many massacres, the clergy introduced a new invocation into the litanies of the saints: “From the fury of the Normans, deliver us Lord!”
On this anniversary of Father de Nantes’ priestly ordination, let us recite the Prayer for the Glorification of our Father for Brother Bruno.
Colour the grass.
MONDAY, MARCH 28
The veil of the Virgin
In the summer of 911, a young chief, Rollo, took the command of these barbarians. He laid siege to Chartres. The great French lords then united to rescue the city. Robert, Duke of the Franks, Richard, Duke of Burgundy and Manasses, Count of Dijon, fought the battle against the invader on Saturday, July 3.
The Bishop of Chartres resorted to Our Lady: he displayed at the top of the rampart the insignia relic of the Veil of the Virgin, conserved in his cathedral. Upon seeing it, a mysterious terror paralysed Rollo and his army, who fled to Lisieux!
King Charles the Simple took advantage of this auspicious moment to negotiate with the powerful pagan leader. He offered Rollo an entire province, on condition that he convert. Deeply moved by the miracle of the Veil of the Most Holy Mother of God, Rollo consented!
He received instruction in the Catholic faith and at his baptism the name of Robert, in honour of Duke Robert, his godfather. The new Christian made many donations to the Church. He wanted his son, William Longsword, to be brought up a Catholic. The beautiful province of “Normandy” fell to him at the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte; no Norman returned to paganism.
Let us admire the power of the Virgin Mary: a single miracle was enough to convert an entire people, so profoundly that it became, in the following century, ardently devoted to Her Immaculate Conception!
Our Lady of Chartres, pray for us, for the Church and for France!
Colour the veil of the Blessed Virgin
TUESDAY, MARCH 29
The Shepherdess of Villermont
Solange was born in 864, in the village of Villermont, three leagues from Bourges. Her parents cultivated a small vineyard and owned a few sheep.
The child was still very young when her father entrusted her with tending the flock. Very pious, Solange often invoked the Holy Name of Jesus. At the age of seven, she consecrated her virginity to Our Lord, her Good Shepherd.
The little girl grew up in deep love of God and her parents. While leading the sheep, she recited her prayers. Then she knelt down to meditate and pray while her sheep grazed. This place is still called today the ‘Field of Saint Solange.’
Let us imitate little Saint Solange by often pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus during the day.
Colour the sheep
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30
“Jesus is waiting for me”
Reports of Solange’s beauty spread throughout the surrounding area. A young lord, Bernard, Count of Gothia, decided to see for himself, under the pretext of hunting on his lands of Villermont. As soon as he saw our young shepherdess, aged sixteen, he fell madly in love with her:
“All this belongs to you,” he declared to her, pointing to the immense extent of his estates.
“As for me, I belong to God. My Bridegroom is not of this world. He is waiting for me and I am waiting for the hour that will bring me together with Him.”
Bernard begged. In vain. So he pounced on her, carried her off on his horse. She struggled so well that her captor fell into a stream.
Soaked, furious at such resistance, Bernard of Gothia drew his sword and beheaded the girl. Thus died the little bride of Jesus, pronouncing His Holy Name three times.
May Saint Solange, patroness of the French province of Berry, obtain for us the grace to keep the innocence of our hearts and our faith, for the love of Jesus and Mary, by resisting the temptations of friends and social networks!
Colour saint Solange
THURSDAY, MARCH 31
Brother Peter de Castelnau
As Christianity flourished in France, the Holy Kingdom of the Fleurs-de-Lys, the Devil stirred up the dangerous heresy of the Albigensians that ravaged the South.
To combat it, the Pope sent four legates with the mission of preaching the true Catholic Faith to those who had been led astray. Two of these emissaries were French monks: Brother Raoul and Brother Peter, nicknamed de Castelnau.
Going barefoot, living on charity, they travelled through several dioceses and preached several times, unsuccessfully, before the Count of Toulouse, who hated them.
“The affairs of Jesus Christ will succeed in these lands only when one of us dies to defend the faith,” Pierre de Castelnau told his companions. He added:
“May I myself be the first to perish under the sword of the persecutor!”
To please the Count of Toulouse, two heretics approached Brother Peter and one of them pierced him with a spear. The holy preacher fell, exclaiming:
“Lord, forgive him as I forgive him!” It was the morning of January 15, 1208.
Like Our Lord on the Cross, Brother Peter de Castelnau obtained the conversion of the Count of Toulouse by forgiving his assassins.
Let us not be susceptible or resentful, but let us recognise our own wrongs in disputes. Let us also know how to forgive others, if we want Jesus to forgive us!
Colour Brother Peter de Castelnau.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1 – FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH
Conquering the heavenly Jerusalem
During the Seventh Crusade, the Muslims of Egypt took King Saint Louis prisoner with the remnants of his army, betrayed by the disobedience of Robert of Artois, the King’s brother.
Almost all the captives who were summoned to apostatise refused to deny their Master Jesus Christ. The infidels killed them very cruelly, burning some of them alive, ritually slaughtering the others.
The King of France was first treated with respect. When a new caliph wanted to force him to hand over to him cities or strongholds of the Holy Land, Saint Louis refused outright.
To make him yield, executioners crushed his legs between the jaws of a large wooden pliers lined with teeth. The King endured this torture without yielding anything. The Muslims liberated him in return for the restitution of the Egyptian city of Damietta, because a king of France does not buy his freedom for a sum of money.
On his return, Louis IX had the chains of his captivity engraved on his coins, stating that “a Christian must find honour only in suffering for Jesus Christ.”
Saint Louis died of typhus during the 8th Crusade on August 25, 1270. He had asked to be laid on a bed of ashes to resemble Christ, stripped of everything. He thus conquered the Jerusalem of Heaven!
Let us not seek creature comforts, let us not complain of any inconvenience.
Colour Saint Louis.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2
A little martyr our Champagne province
At the end of the 14th century, near Bar-Sur-Seine, in France’s province of Champagne, there lived an honest peasant couple, tenant farmers of the lord of Landreville. Their daughter, Belina, was pious and endowed with a compassionate heart. She cared for the sick, kept vigil over the deceased, comforted everyone and was helpful to all for the sake of the Good God.
Her charity worked miracles. One day she brought water in a sieve to workers. Miraculously, the mesh of the sieve held the water and everyone was able to drink!
Belina was sixteen years old when, on September 8, 1380, she encountered Jean de Pradines, lord of Landreville, in a solitary valley.
This man, immediately driven by a diabolical passion, approached the shepherdess to make lewd propositions.
With all her heart, which she had entrusted to Jesus and Mary, Belina rejected this sin and confessed her faith with calm and courage. Unable to satisfy his vice, the man revengefully drew his sword, beheaded the girl, and fled!
The Pope excommunicated him, the King banished him, and no one knew what became of him.
Fifty years later, Belina was canonised and honoured as a virgin and martyr. The faithful carried her relics in triumph to a chapel built on the site of her birthplace.
Let us recite this hymn in honour of Saint Belina:
Ask God to deliver us
from all the snares of this world;
We must live so as to be worthy of Heaven
And triumph in our struggles.
O saint of our land,
We pray to you on your hill. Watch over us, protect us. (twice)
Colour the palm tree.
SUNDAY, APRIL 3, PASSION SUNDAY
Joan of Arc’s standard
The English had invaded almost all of France, when God sent Joan, the Maid of Domremy, to the aid of the Dauphin Charles.
As a sign of her divine mission, and in the Name of Christ Who is true King of France, the humble seventeen-year-old girl lifted the siege of Orleans. As a warlord, she was leading the assault on Fort des Tourelles, when a crossbow quarrel pierced her shoulder, throwing her to the ground. Joan pulled the quarrel out with her own hand!
She prayed, took advice from her Voices, and went back into battle, encouraging the weakening army.
“Take heed, when the end of the staff of my banner touches the top of the bulwark...”
“It has touched it.”
“Attack fearlessly, in the Name of God!”
The Tourelles were captured! Orleans celebrated its deliverance. It was May 8, 1429.
From victory to victory, Joan opened the road to Reims before the Dauphin in order for him to receive his worthy anointing as King. The ‘joyful mysteries’ were followed by contradictions and ingratitude, until the Maid was betrayed and captured at Compiègne in May 1430.
Let us obey our parents promptly, as Joan obeyed her Voices.
Colour Joan’s standard.
MONDAY, APRIL 4
A flaming heart
Prisoner of the English for five months, Joan was subjected to the interrogations of an ungodly and corrupt bishop and his judges. She confounded her mortal enemies with the wisdom and spiritual strength of her answers. Her Voices came to console and promise her that her deliverance was imminent.
Jesus Christ is ‘true King of France,’ Charles VII is His lieutenant, to Whom the Kingdom of the Fleurs-de-lys must belong. This is the France’s divinely ordained Catholic monarchy, the message that Joan recalled, from God.
Unable to make her renounce this divine mission, Bishop Cauchon threatened Joan with torture.
“Truly, if you were to tear my members apart and force my soul to depart from my body, I would tell you nothing different,” replied the “iron-hearted” Maid as the English nicknamed her.
The iniquitous court sentenced Joan to be burned alive on May 30, 1431. In the midst of the flames, our martyr proclaimed her magnificent profession of faith:
“The Voices I heard were from God! All that I did was done on God’s command! The revelations I had were from God! No, my Voices did not deceive me! Jesus!”
Her virginal heart remained intact in the midst of the flames.
Saint Joan of Arc, martyr for your King, your Fatherland and your God, pray for us.
Colour Saint Joan of Arc.
TUESDAY, APRIL 5
The rebellion of the Protestants
In 1517, Luther rebelled against the Holy Roman Church and created the ‘Reformed’ religion. This Protestantism spread, bathing all of Europe in blood.
From 1560 on, the doctrines of Luther and Calvin, which had not been repressed by Francis I, perverted France. For thirty years, Calvinists everywhere provoked assassinations, massacres, cruel combats against Catholic armies: these were the “wars of religion.”
The Protestants, or Huguenots as they were called in France, hated the Church, the Supreme Pontiff and the Catholics, the ‘papists.’ They refused dogmas and sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, as well as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and veneration of the saints.
Their violence was incredible, so much so that it is impossible to count the number of faithful whom they tortured and killed. Most of these martyrs remain unknown, ignored or defamed in school textbooks.
They fought not only against the living, but also against the dead in their hatred of all that was Catholic. For instance, in 1570, the Protestant Admiral de Coligny profaned and destroyed the relics of Saint Symphorian and his canonised parents.
In the spirit of reparation, let us recite the prayer Most Holy Trinity several times.
Colour the mountain.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
The last Host
On March 23, 1593, a Protestant lord and his armed band arrived at Châteauneuf-du-Faou, in Brittany. After slaughtering the villagers, these heretics looted the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the name of Our Lady of the Gates.
This ungodly band discovered the priest who had taken refuge there and arrested him. In the Tabernacle they found a ciborium containing a single Host. The good priest had kept it in case of need for a dying person.
The Huguenots threw the Host to the ground to show their hatred of this divine Sacrament, before the eyes of their prisoner. This outrage broke the priest’s heart and he threw himself to his knees to worship his God. Then he consumed the Host. One of the soldiers drew his sword, shouting:
“What! Scoundrel, you’re still idolising in my presence!”
Then he plunged his sword through the priest’s body. The soul of the martyr ascended to Paradise to be forever united to the divine Host!
Let us console Jesus the Host for all the sacrileges and indifferences He receives today.
Colour the sky.
THURSDAY, APRIL 7
The desire for martyrdom
In 1593, under the restorative reign of Henry III, , two Jesuits, sent by their bishop, arrived in Ardèche in southern France to teach the Catholic population and try to convert the Protestants, at the risk of their lives.
Pious and zealous missionaries, Father Jacques Salès and Brother William Saultemouche went to Aubenas. The governor of the city asked the priest if he was afraid. He replied very calmly:
“Sir, I have been passionately longing for martyrdom for fifteen years. Blessed be the hand that will deal the blow, provided that it be the hand of a Huguenot!”
The next day, February 6, a Calvinist troop under the command of a fanatical captain named Sarjas invaded Aubenas by surprise.
Our Father’s love of Our Lord and of the Church, made him long also for martyrdom. He gave this ideal to the Phalange of the Immaculate:
“From his youth, the Phalangist will consent to the sacrifice of his life, if God so wills, for Christ, the Church, and Christendom, and for his country, his king, and indeed the least of his human brethren.”
To receive the grace of this holy desire, “we turn to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is She Who can lead us by the hand to the Cross and from there to Heaven.”
Let us fight our impatience by making efforts of self-sacrifice and generosity.
Colour an angel.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8 – OUR LADY OF SEVEN SORROWS
Defenders of Jesus the Host
The two religious took refuge in their room to meditate and recommend themselves to God. This is where the persecutors found them. They beat them, and then sent them two preachers.
Throughout the day, these heretics made poor arguments against the Holy Eucharist in order to convert them to Protestantism. Father Salès, however, refuted them and confounded their demonstrations. The two ministers withdrew, in rage!
The most fanatical of the Protestants, named Labat, took revenge by insulting Father Salès, in his “sermon,” calling him a false prophet and an antichrist, adding that he should be put to death.
During evening prayer, with your family, reread the chapter of the Catechism on the Eucharist, because we must know the Catholic doctrine on this great mystery by heart.
Colour Father Salès who is holding a monstrance.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
The martyrs of Aubenas
On February 7, 1593, Captain Sarjas brought his Huguenot troop to the house where the Jesuits were detained. He took the priest out in order to massacre him in the street.
Poor Brother William rushed after his companion, forcefully affirming that he wanted to die with him.
Outside, the preacher Labat was arguing more furiously against the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Father Salès remained firm in Catholic doctrine. No longer able to contain himself, Labat shouted:
“Dispatch him! He doesn’t deserve to live, he’s a plague!”
Sarjas did not need to be told twice. The two Jesuits fell to their knees.
“Please, my friend, give me a bit of time to commend myself to God and to supplicate Him for you,” the Father implored.
A shot from an arquebus was the only reply. Father Jacques Salès, shot in the shoulder, collapsed on the pavement, whispering three times:
“Jesus Mary! My God, forgive them!” before being finished off with a dagger.
The good Brother William had thrown himself on the body of his superior. Riddled with stab wounds, he expired in turn.
Today, when reciting the Our Father, I will pray fervently for the conversion of Protestants.
Colour Brother William.
PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 10
Tears of blood
Our Lord and Our Lady wanted the Protestants to return to the true religion. In 1649, an obstinate Huguenot, named Pierre Port-Combet, married to Jeanne Pélion, a fervent Catholic, lived in Isère, in south-eastern France.
It was March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. In ancient France, this feast was a religious holiday, thus a day on which the law of the Church forbids work. Out of contempt for the Church’s law, Pierre Port-Combet set out to work. It did not matter to him, moreover, to honour the Blessed Virgin!
He began to prune the branches of a willow with a billhook. From the first notch he made, he noticed that tears of blood began to flow! The drops were so abundant that Peter’s billhook, clothes and hands became covered with blood!
“Ah! You wretch!” his wife exclaimed when she saw him, “I knew well that the Blessed Virgin would punish you!”
Truly, it was in order to convert him that our Heavenly Mother showed this obstinate man the tears of blood of Her Heart wounded by the sins of ungrateful men.
The prodigy was renewed every time the Protestant wanted to prune the willow. However, it did not take place when his Catholic wife took the billhook herself to cut off stakes.
Let us recite our family Rosary with a more fervent devotion to Our Lady.
Colour the willow tree (bottom right)
HOLY MONDAY, APRIL 11
The mercy of Our Lady
The miracle of the bleeding willow stirred up the villagers. The ecclesiastical and civil authorities conducted an investigation. It concluded that a miracle had taken place. They drew up minutes, condemning Pierre Port-Combet to pay a fine of three livres (a large sum of money). Yet the wretch persisted in his heresy.
Seven years later, while ploughing his field, the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Mercy, appeared to him.
To save his guilty soul, She warned him that he would soon die and that “he would be a firebrand of Hell.” If he converted to the Catholic religion, however, She would protect him before God. She also instructed him to convey Her reproaches to his neighbours, for their prayers were not fervent enough.
This time, Peter abjured Protestantism, received Holy Eucharist, and died a holy death. Our Lady’s mercy had saved him!
Let us remember the great sorrow of Our Lady Who mourns Her children falling into Hell. To save sinners, God wants to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us console our Most Holy Mother by repeating often:
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation. Immaculate Heart of Mary, convert sinners, save souls from Hell.
Colour the Heart of the Blessed Virgin.
HOLY TUESDAY, APRIL 12
A righteous soul
Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne and Marshal of France, was Protestant. Louis XIV had often urged him to convert, in order to give him the office of general in chief of the French Armies. The Viscount remained unwavering in his heresy.
Despite this, Turenne was a righteous man, loyal to his King and his God. One day, upon seeing co-religionists ostensibly ramming their hats onto their heads out of contempt as they passed before a crucifix, he instead felt a strong sense of respect for his Saviour.
The disputes, the continual contradictions and variations in the doctrine of the Protestants shocked him. He suffered all the more because, in his home, his wife was a fanatical Calvinist. Divine Providence rewarded this righteousness of soul by gradually opening it to the Truth. He read a book on the Holy Eucharist that shook his certainties about the so-called Reformation.
From then on, Turenne spoke with Bossuet, chaplain of the court and Louis XIV’s spiritual advisor: conversations, letters, and doctrinal presentations followed.
For eleven years, his anxious search for the Truth crushed one by one all his prejudices and objections as one crushes one by one enemy positions.
Let us love the truth. Let us never indulge in lies. Let us have the courage to acknowledge our wrongs.
Colour the crown of glory in which the Passover Lamb is located.
HOLY WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
Last assault and Heaven!
On October 23, 1668, Turenne abjured Calvinism before the Archbishop of Paris. After going to confession, the Marshal of France knelt to hear Holy Mass and received Communion under the vaults of Notre-Dame de Paris.
This resounding conversion made pious Catholics weep with joy. On the Protestant side, however, what an explosion of hatred! His own family “would have preferred to see Turenne on the scaffold rather than to see him Catholic!”
The ‘pastors’ burst out in anger and insults, proclaiming everywhere that it was out of ambition that Monsieur de Turenne changed his religion. Some Catholic generals of the French Army did not give a good welcome to the new convert, out of disappointment or jealousy to see the King prefer him to them.
Marshal de Turenne led his last military campaign in Alsace in 1675, while preparing to join a religious order, since he had become a widower.
On July 27, while conducting a reconnaissance, a bullet hit this great soldier in the chest. His loyal and generous soul joined the heavenly Homeland.
Let us reread together as a family the chapter of the Catechism, on Redemption.
Colour the flowers (bottom, left).
MAUNDY THURSDAY, APRIL 14
The eldest son of the Sacred Heart
Since 1673, the Sacred Heart had been appearing to Sister Margaret-Mary, a Visitation sister in Paray-le-Monial. He revealed to her His love for men, but also their ingratitude.
He also entrusted her with delivering a message to Louis XIV, the splendid king miraculously given to France:
“Make it known to the eldest son of My Sacred Heart that he will obtain his birth of grace and eternal glory by the consecration that he will make of himself to My Adorable Heart, which wishes to triumph over his own. My Heart wishes to reign in his palace, to be painted on his standards and engraved on his arms to make them victorious over his enemies and all the enemies of the Holy Church.”
This act of reparation would console Our Lord for all the outrages He had suffered during His Passion among the powerful. In return, He would ensure the triumph of the monarch over all his opponents from within: Protestants, Quietists and Jansenists, who allied themselves with foreign countries to wage war against him.
Let us make reparation to the unique Divine Heart of Jesus and Mary by offering our hearts often to It during the day.
Colour the chalice.
HOLY FRIDAY, APRIL 15
Louis XIV’s refusal
In 1689, Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, unwilling to share his glory with anyone, refused this unique offer that the Sacred Heart of Jesus made to him. In his pride, he forgot that he was only the lieutenant of Our Lord Jesus Christ, true King of France!
The Good God chastised our country as punishment for the royal fault: the enemies of the Church and the King rose up against them. The English seized many territories belonging to France. The Protestant powers dominated Europe, favouring the false doctrines of the philosophers and the Freemasons, who were all atheists and libertines.
Since 1684, Our Lady of Laus had been urging Benoîte Rencurel to pray for Louis XIV. On October 29, 1690, the Queen of Heaven delegated Her Angel to demand that the people offer public prayers so that the war that was devastating the kingdom would end. The heavenly Messenger of Laus added:
“Let everyone pray to obtain peace, that the King not be betrayed, that he may live for a long time. His enemies have a great desire to poison him.”
The following year, the Blessed Virgin repeated these calls to prayer and sacrifice, revealing the Huguenots’ plan to poison the King.
Neither Louis XIV nor his successors obeyed the Sacred Heart, and the kingdom of the Fleurs-de-Lys sank into misfortune.
Let us manifest our repentance to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady, often kissing our crucifix and our medal of the Blessed Virgin during the day. In this way we will repair our own ingratitude and disobediences.
Colour the Precious Blood flowing into the chalice.
HOLY SATURDAY, APRIL 16
The mission of La Rochelle
In the early 18th century, the city of La Rochelle was infested by Protestantism. Bishop de Champflour, invited Father de Montfort to come to his diocese to preach and fight against this heresy.
This mission of the summer of 1711 remained famous. Instead of attacking the error, Father de Montfort followed the method of Saint Dominic among the Albigensians: preaching the Rosary and renewing the promises of baptism.
The Blessed Virgin, victorious over all heresies, touched hearts. There were many conversions and abjurations. Some powerful people, attached to the Protestant Reformation, seeing their grip diminish, began to hate the missionary.
On August 16, for the closing of the retreat, a huge procession took place in the streets, escorted by soldiers and officers of the garrison: statues, banners, musicians, inspiring hymns, candles and rosaries. What a show!
That was going too far for the Huguenot party, which resolved to get rid of this ardent apostle. Saint Louis-Marie escaped several attempts on his life.
One day he drank a poisoned broth. As Mary, his divine Protectress was keeping watch, he did not die, but his health remained seriously compromised.
Nevertheless, he continued his missions that would give these populations the courage to defend their Faith and their King, when the French Revolution took place.
When reciting our Rosary, let us have faith in the resurrection of the Church and of France, just as the Immaculate Virgin awaited in faith the Resurrection of Her divine Son.
Colour saint Louis-Marie.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
On this day of the glorious Resurrection of our Saviour, let us look Heavenward where the immense army of martyrs celebrates in joy the triumphs of Jesus, their King, over sin and death.
Behold, Christ the Conqueror crowns for eternity His witnesses who did not fear torment and who, out of love for Him, abandoned their limbs to the executioners! Alleluia! “O death, where is your victory?” For they are alive those whom the ungodly killed.
What about us? When we are in Heaven, everything we have endured on earth will be forgotten! Jesus our Saviour Himself will wipe away all the tears from our eyes! Yes! Let us ponder the thought that through all these little sufferings endured during a short life, we will acquire an eternity of happiness and glory. What an immense reward!
Thus, with our hearts filled with supernatural faith, let us believe in the Resurrection of the Church here on earth and in the promised beatitude in Heaven forever and ever.
In the joy of the Heart of Mary, let us sing the Alleluia of Hope!
During Mass, let us listen attentively to the Gospel of the Resurrection.
Colour the Paschal Lamb.