Feast of Bl. Peter-Adrian Toulorge of Blanchelande, O. Praem.
(b. May 4, 1757, † October 13, 1793)
- Shackles = Imprisonment
- Bible = Preacher
- French flag = Nationality
- Guillotine = Martyrdom
Peter-Adrian Toulorge was born in 1757 in Normandy, France. He received his priestly formation at the seminary of Coutances and was ordained a priest in 1782. He was appointed vicar of Doville, where the pastor was a Norbertine from the abbey of Blanchelande. Struck by the example of his pastor, Peter-Adrian entered the same abbey and became a son of St. Norbert.
In 1789, the French Revolution broke out. Peter heard about the law of August 26, 1792, which condemned all servants of the Church who refused to take the oath of the new constitution. Strictly speaking, he was not affected by the law, since, as a religious, he was not serving any parish at the time. He nevertheless decided to go to the nearby island of Jersey under English rule. When he later realized that the anti-clerical law did not apply to him, he returned to Normandy and began secretly to minister to the people.
In September of 1793 while visiting the faithful, disguised in women’s clothing, Peter was betrayed and taken into custody. The tribunal did not have any proof that he had fled France to Jersey. After some hesitation, Peter-Adrian decided to tell the whole truth, knowing full well that this would put his life in danger. The judges responded by imposing the sentence of death by guillotine.
The night before his death, he wrote a letter to his brother: “You should rejoice, my brother, that God has found me worthy not only to suffer in prison but also to die for our Lord, Jesus Christ. I do not wish to grieve you with my fate. Rather you should rejoice and say with me: ‘The Lord be praised!’ I wish you a holy life and paradise at the end of your days. I wish the same for my sister, my nephew, and the whole family.”
On October 13, 1793, Peter-Adrian was taken to the marketplace of Coutances. As he was being carried through the streets in a wagon escorted by soldiers, the shutters of every window were closed in protest as the cortege passed by. The entire city mourned the loss of this 36-year-old priest, who was beheaded under the guillotine. The beatification of Fr. Peter-Adrian Toulorge took place on April 29, 2012, in the Cathedral of Coutances in Normandy, France.
Date(s) - October 13, 2017