Parlando: The COC Blog

5/8/2013

The Carmélite Nuns, Remembered.

by Claudine Domingue, Director of Public Relations

For many people, the final scene of Poulenc’s opera Dialogues des Carmélites is one that they will never forget.

The emotional impact as each nun goes to her death singing the "Salve Regina" is heightened by the realization that this opera is based on true events.

On July 17, 1794, 16 members of the order of Carmel in Campiègne, France, were executed by guillotine. They included 11 nuns, three lay sisters, and two novices. Their names were as follows:

Prioress Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), 1752 – 1794
Marie-Anne Brideau (Mother St. Louis), 1752 – 1794
Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), 1715 – 1794
Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), 1715 – 1794
Marie-Antoinette Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), 1740 – 1794
Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), 1745 – 1794
Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), 1743 – 1794
Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), 1741 – 1794
Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), 1760 – 1794
Marie-Claude Cyprienne (Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception), 1736 – 1794
Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), 1765 – 1794
Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), 1742 – 1794
Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), 1742 – 1794
Julie Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), 1764 – 1794
Catherine Soiron, 1742 – 1794
Thérèse Soiron, 1748 – 1794

"I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing "Laudate Dominum omnes gentes". She then went to place herself beneath the blade allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence."

- The Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers (1794) writing of the execution of 16 Carmelite nuns by the French Republic.
From Confessions of a Ci-Devant blog, Gareth Russell, July 17, 2010

Photos: (top) A scene from the Canadian Opera Company's production of Dialogues des Carmélites, 2013. Photo by Michael Cooper; (middle) The Martyred Carmélite Sisters, artist unknown.

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink

Gianmarco (5/9/2013 10:27:00 AM)
This is incredibly thought-provoking and makes one realize, no matter how moving Poulenc's opera is for many of us, that real peoples' lives were destroyed. Not just in this bloody chapter in history, but sadly still today. Thank you for this post Claudine.

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001