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Thanksgiving words of the Superior General at the beatification of the Martyrs

Here you can read the words of thanksgiving of Alberto Toutin sscc, Superior General of the Congregatiion of the Sacred Hearts, spoken at the solemn Eucharist of beatification of the Martyrs of Paris, on 22 April, in the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris.


Dear brothers and sisters,

In the joy of Easter we celebrate the beatification of our brothers, Frézal, Ladislas, Marcellin, Polycarp, along with Father Henri. Like the apostles, they too experienced imprisonment and martyrdom in Easter time. Enlightened by the readings of that time and meditating on the life of the first Christian communities, who also experienced internal tensions and the opposition of external adversaries, our martyrs participated in the Easter of the Lord and his Church. 

Before the bullets hit their bodies, they whispered in their prayers: "We are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God" (Cf. Col 3:3)

We give thanks to you, God, for your steadfast love and for your discreet and powerful action in the lives of your witnesses. You are the unknown God who loves to work in the secret of hearts. In the long, lonely hours in the prison cells, you accomplished your work; it is there that you prepared them to be citizens of the definitive homeland - while being inseparably citizens of this nation. You did not spare them from suffering and violence. But you sustained them and made your power shine in their vulnerable flesh. 

We give thanks also to you, Lord Jesus, for you have tempered the faith of your sons in the daily service of your brothers. In them, Lord Jesus, you give us a taste of the strange, courageous joy of the beatitudes and the beauty of your Church which you never cease to build.  

We give thanks to you, the Church, that nourish your children with the sacraments, with listening to the Word, with the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. You, Our Mother the Church, has been vigilant in your faithful and in your pastors who have formed and sustained the faith of our brothers. Their offering of life and even their forgiveness of those who were taking their lives was the fulfilment of the faith received in their families, in their home parishes, and from their brothers and sisters in the congregation. Then as now, how can the children of the Sacred Hearts remain indifferent to the trials of the Church?

From now on, the Church that walks in Paris and our Congregation can count on the intercession of our brothers who are contemplating the Lord Jesus.  May we allow ourselves to be shaped by the attitudes, options and gestures of the hearts of Jesus and Mary: May we place ourselves confidently in the hands of God the Father, to quietly do good, to keep our eyes fixed on you, Jesus, to love and forgive even our enemies, to situate ourselves with evangelical lucidity in the present time, and to share the happiness of a life given because you, Lord, do not cease to love us, in spite of everything, through your Church.