My New Rosary and Associated French Saints

March 14, 2022

I began the 54 Day Rosary Novena on March 3rd and then, just a few days later, received this beautiful rosary (won in a Twitter giveaway) pictured above.  The creator is entering Carmel to embark upon her vocation as a nun.  That alone makes it special but I love this rosary for other reasons as well.

I love the fact that it is a St. Therese of Lisieux rosary, with relic.  And I was very moved by the centerpiece - because it taught me about the martyrs of Compi├Ęgne: a group of sixteen nuns who were executed during the French revolution because they would not renounce their vocation.

About the Carmelites of Compi├Ęgne (martyred in 1794):  "On 17 July they were... sentenced to death by guillotine.  Providentially, they were wearing their outlawed religious habits, since their only secular clothes were being washed on the day of the trial." - From Carmelite Nuns UK Website

I have a pretty typical American mongrel pedigree (English, Scottish, German and Native American) so I don't feel a strong connection to any of the countries my ancestors left behind when they came to America.  But for some reason I keep making connections to France in my journey of faith.

Our Lady of Lourdes played a role in my conversion.  I chose St. Jane Frances de Chantal as my confirmation saint because I was a young single mom (like her) when I became a Catholic.  I picked St. Joan of Arc to be the patron saint of my business because I so admired her devotion and courage.  I have recently been reading content by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and other related (oftentimes French) SSPX resources.  

And I keep tripping over St. Therese of Lisieux - in my readings, at flea markets and, now, in this rosary.

Realizing, through all this, how little I knew really about my confirmation saint, I started reading a bit about the Salesians (an order founded by St. John Bosco and connected to St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantel) this week.  

One of the first things I stumbled across was the fact that St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (of Sacred Heart of Jesus fame) was a member of this same order.  This is of interest to me because I love the Sacred Heart devotion and St. Margaret Mary.  I also think it's interesting that St. Jane Francis's great spiritual friend, St. Francis de Sales, is the patron saint of writers).

This is not to say - of course! - that French saints (or Catholics) are any better than those from any other country.  But I am beginning to think that at this point in my spiritual journey there may be something I'm meant to learn from them.  

I will be sharing more on this in the weeks and months to come!

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