Blessed John-Baptist, Michael-Aloysius and James

Date: 18 August

Preference: Priests and Martyrs - Optional Memory

Fr Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil is thought to be born in Limoges 1737 or at Saint-Trielx on January 7th, 1759. In religious life he was called Fr. Leonard. Fr Michel Louis Brulard, was born at Chartres on June 11, 1758. His religious name is not known. Fr Jacques Gagnot, known in religious life as Fr. Hubert of St Claude, was born at Frolois on February 9, 1753.

Loyal to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the French Revolution. Persecuted and condemned, they were imprisoned on a boat in Rochefort Bay, on the Atlantic coast of Charente-Maritime, waiting. to be deported for forced labour in French Guyana or in Africa. This never happened. They were left massed like animals on the slave trader Deux Associes, anchored in a small inlet between the islands of Aix and Madame. During 1794, on this old ship or “Ponton” the first two Carmelite religious died: Fr Jean-Baptiste on July 1 and Fr Michel-Louis on July 25. They were buried on the island of Aix. Towards the end of August a widespread plague of frightening proportions broke out aboard the ship. Those prisoners left alive were disembarked on the island of Madame and housed in tents in conditions that continued to he horrifying. Fr Jacques died there on September 10 and was buried on the island. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in Rome on October 1, 1995, together with 61 other martyrs who were likewise victims of the French Revolution (1794-1795).