Feb. 1 is the feast day of the Martyrs of Angers, who were put to death for refusing to renounce their faith during the French Revolution. The martyred included Daughters of Charity Marie-Anne Vaillot and Odile Baumgarten.

Angers is 300 kilometers southwest of Paris. St. John’s Hospital there was entrusted to the care of the Daughters of Charity in 1639, the first to achieve this status.

During the French Revolution, the sisters were forced to close the chapel in the hospital because the local clergy refused to take the oath of loyalty to the civil constitution that was mandated by the French government. In 1793, the oath to uphold Liberty and Equality was mandated for all State employees, as well as members of female religious congregations.

Marie-Anne Vaillot and Odile Baumgarten refused to take the oath on religious grounds and urged other sisters to refuse to do so as well. They were executed by firing squad on February 1, 1794, at a former priory two kilometers outside Angers. Sister Marie-Anne and Sister Odile were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984, along with 96 others who died for their faith in Angers during the French Revolution. He specifically mentioned the comforting words that Sr. Marie-Anne spoke to Sr. Odile as their execution approached.

“We will have the happiness of seeing God and possessing him for all eternity…and we will be possessed by him without fear of being ever separated from him.”

Read more at Famvin.org.