This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2 -- Feast of the Martyrs of Anjou

Sisters Odilia and Maria Ana, just before they were shot
There were ninety-nine martyrs in Anjou in 1794 who were killed for refusing to take an oath that subordinated religious faith and duty to French Revolutionary authority.  [The word civil  can hardly be applied to a government that would shoot nuns for failing to promise loyalty to politicians.]  I don't know the names of all ninety-nine, but forty-one of them are listed here

Among the ninety-nine martyrs were Maria Ana Vaillot and Odilia Baumgarten, Daughters of Charity who worked in the Saint John's Hospital in Angers.  The Hospital had been founded by King Henry II of England as part of the penance he paid for his role in the death of Archbishop Thomas a Becket of Canterbury.  Half a millennium had passed and governments were still striving to coerce their citizens into renouncing faith and declaring that their primary loyalty was to other humans. 

They must have been brave soldiers indeed to shoot two unarmed nurses on a cold February morning.  Odilia especially, having been in charge of the hospital's pharmacy, must have posed a terrible threat to le Securite Nationale. 

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