Le Famille Royale!



Guy Fawkes Day

It was on this date in 1605 that the Gunpowder plot failed...

Robert Catesby, the originator of the Powder Plot, owned estates at Lapworth and Ashby St. Legers. His ancient and honourable family had stood, with occasional lapses, perhaps, but on the whole with fidelity and courage, for the ancient faith. Robert, however, had begun differently. He had been at Oxford in 1586, after Protestantism had won the upper hand, had married into a Protestant family, and his son was baptized in the Protestant church. Father Gerard says that he "was very wild, and as he kept company with the best noblemen in the land, so he spent much above his rate." But at, or soon after, his father's death in 1598 "he was reclaimed from his wild courses and became a Catholic", and was conspicuously earnest in all practices of religion. We, unfortunately, also find in him an habitual inclination towards political and violent measures. This was conspicuously shown during the brief revolt of the Earl of Essex, in February, 1601. Upon receiving a promise of toleration for his co-religionists, Catesby immediately joined him, and also induced some other Catholics to join — among others, Thomas Percy, Thomas Winter, John Wright, and Lord Monteagle, all of whom we shall afterwards find in, or at the edge of, the Powder Plot. Catesby, who is said to have behaved with great courage and determination, escaped the fate of Essex with a ruinous fine, from which his estates never recovered.

But the mental warp caused by those few days at Southampton House was more deleterious still. He was probably henceforth connected with all the schemes for political or forcible remedies which were mooted at this time. Early in 1602 his ally, Thomas Winter, is found negotiating in Spain for assistance, in case Elizabeth's death should leave the Catholics a chance of asserting themselves, for it was one of Elizabeth's manias to leave the succession an open question. Again, he knew of, perhaps had something to do with, the obtaining of a Brief from Clement VII which exhorted Catholics to work for a Catholic successor to the throne. Still it is not to be imagined that Catesby's faction, for all their ultra-Catholic professions, thought themselves debarred from treating with Protestants when that was to their advantage. While Winter negotiated at Madrid, Percy was busy at Edinburgh, and received from James promises of favour for the English Catholics. So notorious was it that the Catesby clique were "hunger-starved for innovations", that when Elizabeth was sickening, he, with Tresham, Bainham and the two Wrights, was put under restraint by order of the council, but apparently for a few days only. Then the queen died and James succeeded (24 March 1603). After that everything seemed full of promise, and, so far as we can see, the universal hope of better things to come brought a period of peace to Catesby's restless mind.

But as time went on, James found it difficult, nay impossible, with Elizabeth's ministers still in office, to carry out those promises of toleration, which he had made to the Catholics when he was in Scotland, and believed that their aid would be extremely important. When he felt secure on his throne and saw the weakness of the Catholics, his tone changed. It was reported that, when he had crossed the English border on his way to London, and found himself welcomed by all classes, he had turned to one of his old councillors, and said "Na, na, gud fayth, wee's not need the Papists now". His accession was indeed marked by a very welcome relaxation of the previous persecution. The fines exacted for recusancy sank in King James's first year to about one-sixth of what they used to be. But the policy of toleration was intensely abhorrent to the Puritan spirit in England, and James could not continue it with the government machinery at his command, and he began to give way. In the fifth half-year of his reign the fines were actually higher than they had ever been before, and the number of martyrs was not far short of the Elizabethan average. At the first indication of this change of policy (March, 1604), Catesby made up his mind that there was no remedy except in extremes, resolved on the Powder Plot, and insisted in his masterful way on his former allies joining him in the venture. Thomas Winter says that when Catesby sent for him in the beginning of Lent, and explained his project, "...he wondered at the strangeness of the conceit", expressed some doubt as to its success, and no doubt as to the scandal and ruin that would result from its failure. But there was no resisting his imperious friend, and he soon expressed himself ready "for this, or whatever else, if he resolved upon it.". The first orders were that Winter should go to the Spanish Netherlands and see whether political pressure applied by Spain might not relieve the sufferings of the Catholics in England, but he was also to bring back "some confident [i.e. trusty] gentleman", such as Mr. Guy Fawkes. Winter soon discovered what Catesby had probably foreseen in England, that there was no hope at all of any immediate relief from friends abroad, and he returned with Fawkes in his company.

Early in May, 1605, Catesby, Thomas Percy (who by some is believed to have been the originator of the plot), Thomas Winter, John Wright, and Fawkes met in London, were initiated into the plot, and ten adjourned till they could take an oath of secrecy. They did this one May morning in "a house behind St. Clement's", and then, passing to another room, heard Mass and received Communion together, the priest (whom they believed to be Father John Gerard) having no inkling of their real intentions. It is of course impossible to give a rational explanation of their insensate crime. They did not belong to the criminal class, they were not actuated by personal ambitions. They were of gentle birth, men of means and honour, some were married and had children, several of them were zealous converts who had made sacrifices to embrace Catholicism, or rather to return to it, for they mostly came from Catholic parents. On the other hand, though religiously minded, they were by no means saints. They were dare-devils and duelists, and Percy was a bigamist. They were kept in a state of constant irritation against the government by a code of infamous laws against their religion, and a series of galling fines. They had, as we have seen, dabbled in treason and plans of violence for some years past, and now they had formed themselves into a secret society, ready to poniard any of their number who should oppose their objects. They understood their oath to contain a promise not to tell even their confessors of their plans, so sure did they feel of the rectitude of their design. Nor did they do so until fifteen months later, when, Father Garnet having written to Rome to procure a clear condemnation of any and every attempt at violence, Catesby, with the cognizance of Winter, had recourse to Father Greenway with results to which we must return later.

The first active step (24 May, 1604) was to hire as a lodging Mr. Whynniard's tenement, which lay close to the House of Parliament, and had a garden that stretched down towards the Thames. But no sooner was this taken than a government committee claimed the right of sitting there, so the preparations for mining had to be postponed for six months. Before Christmas, however, they had opened a mine from the ground floor of their house, and advanced as far as the wall of the House of Lords; then they made slow progress in working their way through its medieval masonry. In March, however, they discovered that the cellar of the House of Lords might be hired, and on Lady Day, 1605, a bargain was struck for that purpose. They had now only to carry in their powder, and cover it with faggots of firewood, and the first part of their task had been accomplished with surprising facility. They then separated, to make preparations for what should follow when the blow was struck. For this it was necessary to procure more money, and by consequence to admit more members. Five were mentioned before, and five more, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, Robert Winter, and John Grant had been added since. Three richer men were now sworn in, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, and lastly, Francis Tresham. It was this thirteenth man who has been generally believed to have caused the detection of the plot, by a letter sent to his cousin Lord Monteagle on 26 October. This mysterious document, which is still extant, is written in a feigned hand, with an affectation if illiterateness and in the obscurest of styles. The recipient was warned against attending Parliament on the day appointed, and hints were added as to the specific character of a "terrible blow" that would befall it. "There [will] be no appearance of any stir"; "they shall not see who hurt them"; "the danger will be past as soon as you have burnt this letter." Monteagle, having received this letter, first caused it to be read aloud at his table before some mutual friends of the conspirators, then he took it to the government.

Contrary to what might have been expected, no measures were taken for the security of the House, and the conspirators, who had heard of Monteagle's letter breathed again. Catesby had from the first laid down this principle, "Let us give an attempt, and where it faileth, pass no further." The attempt had not yet failed, they did not think the time had come to "pass no further". So the continued all their preparations, and their friends were invited to meet for a big hunt in Warwickshire on the fatal day. The official account of the government delay is briefly this: No one at first understood the inner meaning of the letter until it was shown to James, who "did upon the instant interpret and apprehend some dark phrases therein, and thereupon ordered a search to be made". That this story is not strictly true is acknowledged by every critic. Whatever the germ of truth in it may be, the delay in itself was far from sagacious. If the conspirators had not been foolhardy, they would have fled as soon as they knew that one of their number had turned informer. However, on the last day before that fixed for the explosion, an inspection of the precincts of the House was resolved upon and conducted by a high official, but led to no result. Yet another search was then ordered, on the pretext that some hangings of Parliament house had been purloined, and this was immediately successful. The powder was found and Fawkes, who was on the watch close by, was arrested. Next day (5 November) the conspirators fled to their rendezvous, and thus betrayed themselves. It was with difficulty that they got their own retainers to keep with them, the Catholics everywhere refusing them aid.

Their only chance, they thought, was to fly into Wales, where, in the hilly country, and among a people which had not yet fully accepted religious changes they might still possibly find safety. But on reaching Holbeche, in Worcestershire, they perceived that further retreat was impossible, and were preparing to sell their lives dearly when a chance spark exploded their store of powder, wounding some and discouraging all. It seemed a judgment of God, that those who had plotted with powder should perish through powder. Their eyes seemed to have been at length opened to the reality of their offence. They made their last confessions to a passing priest, Father Hammond, and they prepared without illusions for the fate that was before them. Next morning (8 November) they were attacked, and defended themselves bravely against heavy odds — Catesby, Percy, and the two Wrights were killed, and the rest wounded and captured. After an almost endless series of examinations the survivors were put on their trials on 27 January, and executed on 31 January, 1606. Their deaths did them credit; in particular the last letters and verses of Sir Everard Digby, which were not intended for the public eye, and were not discovered or published till long after, produce the impression of a man who deserved a happier fate.

The attempt to incriminate the Church

We have already seen that the plot had been occasioned by the persecution. "If any one green leaf for Catholics could have been visibly discerned by the eye of Catesby, Winter, Garnet, Faux and the rest, they would neither have entered into practice [i.e. treason] nor missions nor combinations". This was a boast of one of the king's ministers, to show how far toleration had ever been from their policy. Now their object was to make the plot an excuse for increasing the persecution. The following words of Lord Salisbury (4 Dec., 1605), to a private secretary of James, will show the spirit and method with which they addressed themselves to their task: "I have received from your directions to learn the names of those priests, which have been confessors and ministers of the sacraments to those conspirators, because it followeth indeed in consequence that they could not be ignorant of their purposes. For all men that doubt, resort to them for satisfaction, and all men use confession to obtain absolution." He then goes on to say that most of the conspirators "have wilfully forsworn that the priests knew anything in particular, and obstinately refuse to be accusers of them, yea what tortures soever they be put to." But, of course, the unfortunate victims were not able to resist indefinitely, and ere long the inquisitors discovered that the conspirators had frequented the Jesuit fathers for confession. So a proclamation was issued, 15 Jan., 1606, declaring that Fathers Henry Garnet, John Gerard, and Oswald Greenway (Greenwell) were proved to be co-operators in the plot "by divers confessions of many conspirators". This accusation was reaffirmed in no less than four Acts of Parliament, in the indictment of the conspirators, and in other public documents, though as yet the government knew nothing of the real state of the case, of which we shall now hear. Indeed Salisbury afterwards confessed in an unguarded moment that it was by the hole-in-the-wall trick that "the Lords had some light and proof of matter against you [Garnet], which must otherwise have been discovered by violence and coertion". The true extent of the intercourse of the conspirators with the priests will be best shown, going back to the commencement and following the historical order.

Catesby, then, had been acquainted with Garnet since the close of Elizabeth's reign, and probably since his conversation, for he was a visitor at the house of the Vauxes and Brookesbys, with whom Garnet lived as chaplain. And as far back as May, 1604, he had noticed Catesby's aversion of mind from the king and government. On 29 Aug., 1604, he wrote to his superiors in Rome (apropos of the treaty of peace with Spain, which he hoped might contain a clause in favour of the English Catholics): "If the affair of toleration go not well, Catholics will no more be quiet. Jesuits cannot hinder it. Let the pope forbid all Catholics to stir." Next spring (8 May, 1605) he wrote in still more urgent tones: "All are desperate. Divers Catholics are offended with Jesuits, and say that Jesuits do impugn and hinder all forcible enterprises. I dare not inform myself of their plans, because of the prohibition of Father General for meddling in such affairs, and so I cannot give you an exact account. This I know by mere chance." The "desperation" referred to here was caused by the serious increase of persecution at this time. In particular Garnet had in mind the "little tumult" in Whales, where the Catholics had assembled in force (21 march, 1605) and had defiantly buried with religious ceremonies the body of Mrs. Alice Wellington, after the parson had refused to do so, because she was, he said, excommunicated (Cath. Record Society, ii, 291). Garnet's letter, which may have been backed by others, drew from Rome a letter ordering the archpriest Blackwell and himself, in mandato Papae, "to hinder by all possible means all conspiracies of Catholics. This prohibition was published by Blackwell, 22 July, 1605, and his letter is still extant.

Till June, 1605, Garned had no serious suspicions of Catesby. On 9 June, however, at Garnet's lodging on Thames Street, London, Catesby asked him whether it were lawful to explode mines in war, even though some non-combatants might be killed together with the enemy's soldiers. Garnet, as any divine might do, answered in the affirmative, and thought no more about it, until Catesby came up to him when they were alone, and promised him never to betray the answer he had given. At this Garnet's suspicions were decidedly aroused, and at their next meeting, in July, he insisted on the need of patience, and on the prohibitions that had come from Rome of all violent courses. Catesby's answer calmed the Father's fears for the time, but still at their next meeting Garnet thought well to read to him the pope's prohibition of violent courses, which Blackwell was about to publish. Catesby's answer was not submissive; he was not bound, he said, to accept Garnet's word as to the pope's commands. Garnet rather weakly suggested that he should ask the pope himself, and to this the crafty conspirator at once consented, for with careful management he could thus stave off the papal prohibition, until it would be too late to stop. Though here and elsewhere Garnet does not show himself possessed of the wisdom of the serpent, his mild and straightforward conduct was not without its effect, even on the masterful Catesby. For only now, after having committed himself so thoroughly to his desperate enterprise, did he feel the need of consulting his confessor on its liceity, and told the story under the seal of confession to Father Greenway, and "so that he could reveal it to none but Garnet". (Not knowing what to do in the presence of such a danger, Greenway (26 July) came and consulted Garnet, of course again under the seal. Garnet conjured Greenway to do everything he possibly could to stop Catesby's mad enterprise, and Greenway afterwards solemnly declared that he had in truth done his best, "as much as if the life of the pope had been at stake".

Catesby did not refuse to obey, and Garnet too easily assumed, until too late, that the attempt was, if not given up, postponed till the pope should be consulted, though in truth the plotting continued unchecked until all was discovered. Garnet afterwards asked pardon for this, admitting that between hope and fear, embarrassment and uncertainty, he had not taken absolutely all the means to stop the conspirators, which he might perhaps have taken on the strength of his general suspicions, even though he could do nothing in virtue of his sacramental knowledge. We have already seen that a proclamation for his arrest was issued on 15 January, 1606, and on 31 January he was found stiff and unable to move, after lying a week cramped in a hiding-hole with Father Oldcorne, the martyr, in the house of Mr. Abington at Hindlip, Worcestershire. At first Garnet successfully withstood every attempt to incriminate him, but he was finally thrown off his balance by stratagem. He was shown a chink in his door through which he might whisper to the cell of Father Oldcorne. Acting on the hint, the two Jesuits conferred on the matters that lay nearest to their hearts, making their confessions one to another, an recounting what questions they had been asked, and how they had answered; but spies, who had been stationed hard by, overheard all this confidential intercourse. After some days, Garnet was charged with one of his own confessions, and when he endeavoured to evade it, he found to his consternation that all his secrets were betrayed.

Though the extant reports of the spies show that the subjects overheard were by no means fully understood, Garnet was made to believe that the evidence was fatal and overwhelming against others, as well as against himself. Not knowing how to act, he thought hat his only course was to tell everything frankly and clearly, and so made use of the permission which Greenway had given him, to speak about the secret in case a case of grave necessity, after the matter had become public. The government thus eventually came to know the whole story. Though, in moments of supreme difficulty like these, Garnet seems somewhat lacking in worldly wisdom it is hard to see where we can definitely blame him, considering the simplicity of his character and the continuous deceptions practiced upon him, which were far more numerous than can be set forth here. "If I had been in Garnet's place", wrote Dr. Lingard to a friend, "I think I should have acted exactly as he did". In his public trial, on the other hand, he showed to advantage. Though attacked unscrupulously by the ablest lawyers of the day, and of course condemned, his defence was simple, honest, and convincing. His story could not be shaken.

After sentence he was long kept in prison, where further frauds were practised upon him. One of these was very subtle. Sir William Waade, Lieutenant of the Tower, wrote (4 April 1606): "I hope to use the means to make him acknowledge that the discourse he had with Greenway of those horrible treasons was not in confession. I draw him to say he conceived it to be in confession" — as if that were the first step to an acknowledgement that in truth it was not so — "howsoever Greenway did understand it". These last words about Greenway's dissenting from Garnet (which he never did), taken together with the presence in Waade's letter of an intercepted note from Garnet addressed to Greenway in prison (Greenway was really free and out of England), leads obviously to the inference that Waade had conveyed to Garnet the false information that Greenway was taken, and was alleging that he did not understand that their discourse was in confession. Garnet had in fact again been overreached, and had sent through his keeper (who feigned friendliness and volunteered to carry letters secretly) the note to Greenway, which had come into Waade's hands. If Garnet had not been clear about the fact of the confession both in mind and conscience, this note would most certainly have betrayed him; as it is, his letter, by its sincerity and consistency, offers to us convincing evidence of the truth of his story. Garnet's execution took place in St. Paul's churchyard, before a crowd, the like of which had never been seen before, on 3 May, 1606. As he had done at his trial, Garnet made a favourable impression on his audience. Being still under the illusions described above, he carefully avoided every appearance of claiming beforehand the victory of martyrdom, but this, in effect, rather increased than diminished the lustre of his faith, piety and patience.

The results of the plot on the fortunes of the English Catholics were indeed serious. The government made use of the anti-Catholic excitement to pass new and drastic measures of persecution. Besides a sweeping act of attainder, which condemned many innocent with the guilty, there was the severe Act 3 James I, c. 4, against recusants, which, amongst other new aggravations, introduced the ensnaring Oath of Allegiance. These laws were not repealed till 1846 (9 and 10 Vict. C. 59), though at earlier dates the Emancipation Acts and other relief bills had rendered their pains and penalties inoperative. Still more protracted has been the controversy to which the plot gave rise, of which in fact we have not yet seen the end. The fifth of November was celebrated by law as a sort of legal feast-day of Protestant tradition. Fawkes's Christian name has became a byword for figures fit to be burned with derision, and "the traditional story" of the plot has been recounted again and again, garnished with all manner of unhistorical accretions. These accretions were confuted in 1897 by Father John Gerard in his "What the Gunpowder Plot was", which while professedly traversing Father Gerard's criticism, does not in truth attempt to re-establish "the traditional story", but only his (Gardiner's) own much more moderate account of the plot which he had previously published in his well known History.

This is the main difference between the two critics. In truth "the traditional story" may be exaggerated, and in need of correction in every detail, which is Father Gerard's contention; and yet Gardiner's view, that truth will be found a short way beneath the surface, may also be valid and sound. The most substantial divergence between the two is found in relation to the time at which they conceived the government heard of the Plot. If, as Father Gerard thinks, the government knew of it for some time before Monteagle's letter and yet allowed it to proceed, from that time it was no longer a conspiracy against the crown, but a conspiracy of the crown against political adversaries, whom they were luring on, by some agent provocateur, to their doom. In the case of the Babington Plot, indeed, we have direct proof that this was done in the letters of the provocateurs themselves. In this case, however, direct proof is wanting, and the conclusion is inferential only.

Dieu Le Roy,

The First Communion of Madame Royale

Elena-Maria posted this article today at Tea at Trianon.

It is always a happy time when children and grand-children follow in the way of True Faith. And so since we are showing pictures here are my grandaughters... Savannah
and Britanny. The first kiss of Jesus.



On this date...

November 4, in 1501 Arthur, the Prince of Wales, and his betroved, Katherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, met for the first time. More is here...

Also on this date, in 1755, Marie-Antoinette, the Reine-martyr is baptised...

Lastly today in 1911, Charles I of Austria marries Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma.


St. Marie-Madeline Relics in Provence

Christ and Mary Magdeline, Rembrandt Van Rijn (1609-1669)

After the Virgin few women in the Bible are revered as much as St Mary Magdaline. It was she who tradition says that brought the Faith to France, thus making France the First Daughter of the Church. This Saint, the person who had the privelidge to look upon the Saviour's face in life and death, and in resurrection indicates of the place of honour with which God holds her.

First a short history of Mary Magdalene’s (Marie-Madeline in French) pre-Provencial life from Scripture. First the Gospels have little information on her. We know that she was Jesus disciple, and was present at the Crucifixion, she was the first person to see Jesus after his Resurrection. Catholic tradition tells us she was a woman of loose morals, and was the women who was to be stoned by the scribes and Pharisees. In Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, the Gospels tell us that she was freed from seven demons, a Biblical euphemism for being healed from a great illness. In the Gosples of John and Luke there is a Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who may be the Magdalene. After her encounter she led a life of faithfulness and purity. She is called the Apostle to the Apostles.

In the French tradition, Mary, who was persecuted by the Jews of Jerusalem, and a group of other disciples are cast a drift in a boat without sails or oars. In this group we find Mary, mother of James, Mary, mother of James the Greater and John, Maximinus, Lazarus and Sarah, an Egyptian servant. Through God's Grace they survive the voyage and land and reach the shores of southern Provence, in what is now known as the Camargue.

Eventually the group go their separate ways in order to proclaim the Gospel. Mary Magdalene travels north to the region which is called today Ste. Baume. Lazarus is said to have been the first Bishop of Marseille. The other Mary's and Sarah remain in the south of Provence. Their residence is now the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (St Mary's of the Sea), a place of pilgrimage to honor the arrival of the three Marys, and the burial of two.

** The Massif des Maures, from St Baume,(Massif of the Moors in English) did the Moors receive their name from this range or give their name to the massif?

Mary Magdalene preaches the Gospel throughout Provence. But eventually she retires to a cave in the St. Baume mountains. After 33 years of prayer, contempaltion, and penance, Mary was called to be with the Lord she loved so much. She is given her last rites and viaticum by Maximinus, (now called St Maximin). Maximunis buries her in a cript in a grotto, which becomes a place of pilgrimage. During the incursions of the Muslims of the Umayyad Caliphate, who wished to extend Islam throughout Europe by force life for Christians was increasingly dangerous.

About 710 the relics were transfered in secret by the Cassianistes(1) monks to avoid the desecration of St Marie-Magdalene’s relics. This date and this transfer is authenticated by the discovery in 1279 in the sarcophagus of a papyrus with the following text: "The year of the birth of the Lord 710, the sixth day of December, at night and very secretly, under the reign of the very pious Eudes, king of the Franks, during the time of the ravages of the treacherous nation of the Saracens, the body of the dear and venerable St. Mary Magdalene was, for fear of the said treacherous nation, moved from her alabaster tomb to the marble tomb, after having removed the body of Sidonius, because it was more hidden."

For 5 centuries, the location of the body of St. Mary Magdalene remained unknown.

On December 9, 1279 Charles Salerno, nephew of St. Louis and who became Count of Provence and King of Sicily under the name of Charles II, rediscovered the tomb and the relics of St. Mary Magdalene. They were also recognized by an assembled Clergy of the Dioceses of Provence. At the opening of the sarcophagus all present testify to a ”wonderful and very sweet smell” and are reminded of the perfume which St Mary Magdalene poured on the head and feet of the Lord before his death. The jaw and lower leg bones were missing.

During the solemn Elevation of the body St Mary Magdalene, (5 May,1280) a tablet of wood was discovered smeared with wax on which were the words: "Hic requiescit corpus beatae Mariae Magdalenae”.(2) The estimated age that the tablet is between the 110 and 600 years old (1st and 4th centuries). A testimonial letter destined for the pope was signed by the four Prince Archbishops and three bishops, describing these events and was kept for a long time in the reliquary of St Maximin along with the translations of 1281 and 1283. The bones except for the head which was missing the lower jaw are placed in a silver case.

The skull from the sarcophagus (of St Maximin) was reunited to its lower jaw at St John Lateran in Rome thanks to Pope Boniface VIII, who remembered a relic of a jawbone which was said to been that of St. Mary Magdelene. The fit was perfect. Pope Bonicface published a Pontifical Bull for the establishment of Dominicans at St Maximin and at La Ste Baume to be the guardians over the reliquaries.

The relics of St Mary Magdalene were transposed to a porphyry blessed in Rome by Urban VIII. King Louis XIV personally attended this solemn transposition and made the pilgrimage to La Ste Baume for this occasion. Copies of authenticated documents of the discovery in 1279 and the official acts of the transposing of the relics in 1281 and 1283 were transcribed and are stored in the archives of the Monastery of St. Maximin and in the seminary of St. Sulpice.

In 1789 the revolution came to France, and all things religious are scoffed upon or destroyed in the name of the "Cult of Reason and Enlightenment". Barras who will become the main Executive leader of the Directory, steals by force the cases, the precious jewels and the valuables surrounding the relics. One Joseph Bastide, sacristan of St. Maximin saved from desecration(3) St. Mary Magdalene's skull along with the holy glass sphere containing earth soaked with the blood of Our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ collected by St Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross. Other parts of the relics were saved other pious people.

A significant portion of the tibia of the right leg and a lock of the Hair of St. Mary Magdalene will be saved by Madame Ricard who will leave St Maximin for fear of being denounced and pursued. She flee to Bonnieux and stay with the Anselme family. The relics remained in the hands of the head of the household, Joseph-Hyacinthe-Philippe d’Anselmo and father of Louis-Victor d’Anselme and Marie-Marguerite-Félicité d’Anselme who married Jean-Baptiste Terris on April 13th, 1804.

The relics remain hidden throughout the time of Napoleon.

Marguerite-Félicité d’Anselme married Jean-Baptiste Terris on April 13th, 1804. The last of 11 children from this marriage was to become the Bishop of Frejus and to whom was intrusted the relics of St Mary Magdalene which had been kept by Madame Ricard.

Upon his death Bishop Terris bequeathed to the diocese of Frejus these relics of St Mary Magdalene (the lower part of the tibia from the right leg and a lock of hair), along with the reliquary which contains them to be kept in the grotto of La Ste Baume near Nans.


(1) Vestiges gallo-romains de l'oratoire de Saint-Cassien attestant la présence des moines cassianistes au V° siècle dans le massif de la Sainte-Baume. Gallo-Roman vestiges in the oratory of St Cassian attest to teh presence of Monks of St John Cassian in the 5th century. (Bouisson "Archives")Spiritualite Chretienne V° siècle. The local dialect of Provence is one of the languages most closely related to rustica lingua romanica, or the common language of Rome.

(2) L'inscription trouvée lors de l'invention des reliques en 1279, en même temps que celle de 716 (Le Blanc, Inscriptions, L. p.9; Sicard; Escudier) : "Hic requiescit corpus Mariae Magdalenae", c'est-à-dire" Ici repose le corps de sainte Madeleine". A noter qu'une inscription semblable, trouvée dans le sarcophage de sainte Marthe à Tarascon en 1187, indiquant en latin : "Beata Martha Jacet Hic", date de ce même V° siècle. The inscription found at the time of the discovery of the relics in 1279, at the same time that the one of 716 (Le Blanc, Inscriptions, L. p. 9; Sicard; Escudier): "Hic requiescit corpus Mariae Magdalenae", that is to say "Here rests the body of the St Madeleine". It is notable that a similar inscription, found in the sarcophagus of St Martha in Tarascon in 1187, indicating in Latin: "Beata Martha Jacet Hic", also dates to the 5th century. Spiritualite Chretienne V° siècle.

(3) The revolution took excesive pride in the destruction of parish churches, sometime turning them into stables, the destuction of relics such as those of Ste. Geviveive whose magnificent basilica was converted to be a shine to the false gods of the revolution, (Marat for example), the killing of Priests and women religious. The republic chose as another way to embarras the faith by the imposition of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

(4) EWTN


How times have changed...

Wells and Madison, looking east from 5th Avenue, Chicago Illinois,1900

Wells and Madison, looking east from 5th Avenue, Chicago Illinois, same perspective as above, today...

Way off in the distance is the L (elevated rail)Station crossing the street in both. Change and unchanging.



The Birthday of Marie-Antionette

Other Blogs will do a much better job of describing the birth of the Queen Martyr, Elena-Maria has links to them here, and here..

As for me, a grandfather, I just like to look at the baby pictures...


Obama threatens to assume authority over Catholic Colleges

It must really madden this President to know there are places where his version of the truth is not taught. In another move to control the minds of the youth and especially the Catholic youth The Obama administration has issued new guidelines. Everyday we move closer and closer to the old Soviet Union way of controlling everything in life from birth to death.

From the Cardinal Newman Society

In its latest threat to the religious liberty and independence of Catholic colleges and universities, the Obama administration has issued new regulations that open the door to possible state intrusion into curriculum, student policies and hiring decisions.

The regulations issued Friday effectively force many states to increase oversight of postsecondary education through state chartering or licensing, which is a necessary condition for colleges to participate in federal student aid programs.

Most Catholic colleges accept low-cost federal student loans and grants. If forced to forego federal aid, these colleges would be at a disadvantage in recruiting students.

“The door is opened for state politicians and bureaucrats who would impose their social agendas on private and religious colleges,” warned Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“Already the Obama administration has seized direct ownership of student loans, and now a college’s eligibility for student loans is subject to the political whims of its state legislators and regulators. Many states have demonstrated callous disregard for the religious identity of Catholic colleges, from mandating contraceptive coverage in student and employee health plans to requiring employee benefits for same-sex couples.”

Although the Higher Education Act has long required state authorization for a college to participate in federal aid programs, many states do not aggressively monitor colleges and their consent was assumed unless otherwise reported to the U.S. Education Department. The new regulations require state approval of colleges “by name” and a state process “to review and appropriately act on” complaints about any approved institution.

When issuing the regulations Friday, the Education Department acknowledged that it had received complaints from college leaders that “a State’s role may extend into defining, for example, curriculum, teaching methods, subject matter content, faculty qualifications, and learning outcomes.” Others feared that states might “impose homogeneity upon institutions that would compromise their unique missions.”

In response, federal officials agreed that the new regulations do “not limit a State’s oversight of institutions.”

Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic institution in North Carolina, must cover birth control in its employee health insurance plan despite the college’s religious objections. An appeal to the EEOC is under review.

Catholic colleges and students may also not be protected from similar mandates for abortion and contraceptive insurance coverage under the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—i.e., President Obama’s health care overhaul.

After the EEOC ruling against Belmont Abbey College, The Cardinal Newman Society launched its project to defend the religious liberty of Catholic colleges through its division, The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education. The Center published three papers—from experts in law, health insurance and ethics—to help Catholic colleges defend against government mandates for employee health benefits that violate Catholic morality.

Later this month, the Center will release a new legal analysis prepared by a prominent legal interest organization on steps Catholic colleges must take to defend themselves against increasing threats to their Catholic identity.

I know that I can be direct. The time for jesting in earnest is over. Wake up Catholics. It is now a race for the soul of our youth.


Martyrdom, Terrorists Attack Baghdad Cathedral

"...Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that your share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you. But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of Christ? 'And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?' As a result, those who suffer in accord with God's will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good..." 1 Peter 4:12-19

3 priests, 50 laity killed; 70 wounded

Written by Catholic News Agency

Monday, 01 November 2010 23:11

Baghdad, Iraq, Nov 1, 2010 / 12:13 pm (CNA).- Iraqi Catholics were beside themselves with grief on Monday after Islamic militants stormed the Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad and held members hostage in an unprecedented attack that left more than 50
dead and over 70 wounded.

On Oct. 31, gunmen linked to al Qaeda took over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation during Mass, demanding the release of al Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt.

After the Iraqi military raided the church to free the hostages, over 50 people, including 3 priests, were killed. Vatican Radio reported that between 70 and 80 people are seriously wounded from the attack, many of them women and children.

Pope Benedict lamented the disaster after he prayed the Angelus on Nov. 1. He condemned the “savage” attack and offered prayers for the victims.

“I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenseless people gathered in God's house, which is a house of love and reconciliation,” the Holy Father said.

“I express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, now stricken again, and I encourage its pastors and faithful alike to be strong and firm in hope.”

“Beyond these savage moments of violence, that continue to tear apart the peoples of the Middle East, I would finally like to renew a heartfelt appeal for peace: it is a gift of God, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, of national and international institutions.”

“May everyone unite their strengths to end every act of violence!” the Pope urged.

Vatican Radio noted that the country's inability to form a solid government after the March elections has opened up the possibility of extremists gaining influence, resulting in mounting attacks on Christians by Islamic militants.

Archbishop Georges Casmoussa, the Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul stressed that “what we are asking for, and we repeat this appeal, is that our governors and the international community push to bring peace to Iraq and push for the formation of a responsible government, so there is some authority over the situation here in Iraq.”

Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, Shlemon Warduni, added that “the Christian community no longer feels safe, not even in the House of God, this attack will have a very negative influence on those who until now had chosen to remain in Baghdad, with many saying they are ready to leave.

Today they are already in the Beatific Vision.

Holy Martyrs of Bagdad, Pray for us.


More... and More


Lully - Idylle sur la paix - Air pour Madame la Dauphine

Vive le Roy, Vive Louis!


The First World War is finally over.

With a bit less that 4 years to go before the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War the war is finally over. I forgot to post this when it happened. Did anybody catch the ending? We have desended far since that June day in Sarajevo. But now everything is done and the world is still safe for democracy.

October 30, 2010. Germany will finally pay off the last of its debts from World War One today, the 20th anniversary of German reunification, bringing the First World War officially to a close.

The final payment of £59.5 million writes off the last of the compensation payments imposed on Germany by the Allies 91 years ago.

The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 forced Germany to pay for reparations to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.

Most of the money goes to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles, where Germany was made to sign the 'war guilt' clause, accepting blame for the war.

France, which had been ravaged by the war, pushed hardest for the steepest possible fiscal punishment for Germany.

The principal representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference, John Maynard Keynes, resigned in June 1919 in protest at the scale of the demands.

"Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself,' he warned.

When the Wall Street Crash came in 1929, the Weimar Republic spiralled into debt. Four years later, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany.

God help us for the fools that we are.


USS Iwo Jima Explosion,

USS Iwo Jima, LPH 2. 1990-91

During the Gulf War, in October 1990 the ship I was aboard as a part of 1 MEB, pulled into the port of Manama, Bahrain, to repair a steam valve cap which controlled the steam supply to a standby electrical motor. A local contractor was hired to repair the cap. On October 30, as the USS Iwo Jima raised steam to get underway and rejoin the fleet, the valve began to leak once more. The bonnet blew off the valve, flooding the boiler room with live steam from two boilers. Ten of the crewmen in the room were killed, with the last surviving until 2330 that evening. For many of the embarked Marine personnel, it was their first time to see a casualty in a war.

On the 28th of October this year I attempted to get in touch with the Catholic Chaplain for our MEU. Here is a portion of that letter,

"Father Brenny was not only the only Catholic Chaplain but he was the only chaplain in the Marine Expeditionary Unit, which comprised about 10 ships and over a 10,000 men. Father Brenny had volunteered to return to the Navy Chaplain Corps after his commission (he was about 60 at the time) ended because he knew he would be needed. He was no young duck in those days but that did not stop him from tendering the needs of the troops.

He formed a Rosary group, he sang Mass everyday in the Captains Mess, and on Sundays he sang mass in the f'ocstle, and made an altar by placing a board over the capstans. He heard our confessions.

On Sundays he would fly to every ship to sing Mass, hear confessions, etc.

On Oct 30, 2010 a fitting in the the boiler room of the ship failed, spraying pressurized steam into the compartment killing some men by scalding, some escaped momentarily however their lungs being burned they died soon after. This is when this priest did what he often did. He gave the ones he could a blessing before death, comforted the men who were their mates. The next day he said (a) Mass for the dead.

On Christmas 1990 Father Brenny said midnight Mass on the flight deck by flashlight with red lenses so the enemy would not take up our position.

He spent many hours talking to me and others in his cabin. He finally left us for the United States on Good Friday when we stopped in Malaga in Spain.

He arrived at the MCAS Cherry Point Naval Hospital where he was a patient in the clinic where my wife was the leading Petty Officer.

As I had told my wife all about this miracle God performed his last Miracle by connecting this goodly Priest to my wife...
God works in mysterious ways.

We may have some errant Priests in the Church, Father Brenny(1) is not one of them. Thank God for him and his kind.


(1) Fr. Ken Brenny now retired and in his 80s lives in Little Falls, Minnesota. He began his letter with, "I'm still alive!"

French Brilliance AD 1500

Elena Maria posts today about an exhibite a new exhibit at the Grand Palais.

...Aside from Leonardo da Vinci, with "La Belle Ferronière" (c.1495-97), most of the artists here are unfamiliar to the general public, but this is the place to meet them—Jean Fouquet, Nicolas Froment, Jean Poyer, Girolamo Pacchiarotti) (known as Jérôme Pacherot), the Master of Moulins, now almost unanimously identified as Jean Hey, and many others...

Merci Elena-Maria!


Litaniae Sanctorum

Dear Jesus forgive a poor sinner.

The Act of Supremacy, 1534

On October 30, 1534 the English Parliament passed Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy. Here is the text.

...and so the first block of the Church in England was removed. After time, more blocks would have to be removed in order to support the crumbling edifice until today the Anglicans Ecclesia is just a faint ghost of the Catholic Church in England.