Most people outside of France are not aware that it was once illegal for French people to be Christians. During the French Revolution, which started in 1789, the government ordered a Carmelite monastery in Compiegne to close. The nuns at the monastery split up, but four years later, 16 of them were found guilty of living in a religious community. They were arrested, taken to Paris and sentenced to death. As they walked to their execution, the sisters sang “Salve Regina,” a Latin version of “Hail Holy Queen.” This is a prayer to the mother of Jesus, our Salvation, asking her to pray for us as we suffer. The people of Paris were troubled by the sisters' execution, and ten days later, the ruler who banned Christianity was taken out of office, and a new government that welcomed Christians was put in place. So, the martyrdom of these sisters ended up making things better for all of France.
Today, listen to the hymn, “Salve Regina” or watch it on YouTube (Latin lyrics and English translation included on this version). Sing along if you can. Give thanks to the Lord for the faithfulness of these nuns who would rather die than deny their faith in Christ.
Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne, martyrs for Christ, pray for us!
More reading for parents:Catholic Answers
Tradition in Action
Preparation for tomorrow's activity:
Parents of young children might find it helpful to do a little set-up work for tomorrow's activity. Cut the bottom of an egg carton in half lengthwise and then crosswise so have a strip of three egg cups for each child. If you are using construction paper instead of paint, cut 2" circles from the red, green and yellow paper, allowing for at least one of each color per child. (You may want a few extras as backups.)