Martyrs (d. May 29, 1242)
+ These 11 martyrs were murdered during the night of May 28 to 29, 1242, in Avignot, Toulouse, France.
+ Representatives of the Inquisition working in southern France to oppose the Albigensian heresy, the martyrs were priests and brothers from three orders: the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Benedictines.
+ The church in which they died was placed under interdict and no sacraments could be celebrated there, as punishment for the murders. After the interdict was lifted, a large statue of the Blessed Virgin was found on the front steps of the church. Because no one knew where the statue came from or who sculpted it, the people took it as a sign that they had been forgiven. The statue came to be known as “Our Lady of the Miracles,” and her presence in the Church reminded the people that they should never forget their sin or the martyrs’ sacrifices.
+ Devotion to the Martyrs of Toulouse was confirmed by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1866.
The Albigensians were a heretical sect that developed in France in the late Middle Ages. Named for the French city of Albi, where many of their members lived, the group taught that the physical world was inherently evil (which conflicted with the doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ) and they rejected the ordained priesthood, teaching that any person can confect the Eucharist and absolve sins. They also proposed their own rite of baptism, which did not include water because water was considered corrupted because of its physical nature.
Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told, ‘You must be born from above.’”—John 3:5-7
Almighty ever-living God,
who gave the Martyrs of Toulouse the grace of suffering for Christ,
come, in your divine mercy, we pray,
to the help of our own weakness,
that, as your Saints did not hesitate to die for your sake, we, too, may live bravely in confessing you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.