On 17 July 1794, in the closing days of the Reign of Terror led by Robespierre, sixteen Carmelite nuns of the Catholic Church were guillotined at the Barrière de Vincennes (nowadays Place de la Nation) in Paris. They were buried in a common grave at the Picpus Cemetery, where a single cross today marks the remains of 1,306 victims of the guillotine.[wiki]
A mere handful of the French Revolution's victims, they have commanded the attention of historians, hagiographers, authors, playwrights, composers, and librettists for two hundred years. In the course of the 20th century, the Martyrs of Compiègne have been the subject of a massive scholarly history, a German novella, a French play, a film, and Francis Poulenc's opera Dialogues of the Carmelites. In 1902, Pope Leo XIII declared the nuns Venerable, the first step toward canonization. They were later beatified by Pope St. Pius Xin May 1906: Carmelites celebrate the memory of the prioress, Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine (Lidoine), and her fifteen companions on 17 July, and Catholics may adopt them as patrons. The bicentenary of their death was observed in 1994; many are petitioning for their canonization.
The irritated judge vomited a torrent of offenses against her [Mother Henriette de Jesus], and then said: “It is your attachment to your Religion and the King.”image
Hearing these words, she replied, “I thank you for the explanation.” Then, addressing her companion Carmelites, she said: “My dear Mother and my Sisters, we must rejoice and give thanks to God for we die for our Religion, our Faith, and for being members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.