Blessed Josephine Leroux

Blessed Josephine Leroux

Feast Day – October 24

Blessed Josephine Leroux entered the convent of the Poor Clares at Valenciennes when she was 22 years old. In 1770 she made her vows. Then the French Revolution broke out, and the religious were rudely driven from their convents.

Josephine at first returned to her family. But when Valenciennes was captured by the Austrians, Josephine could not resist the impulse to return to the enclosure. However, the convent of the Poor Clares at Valenciennes had not yet been rebuilt, and she took refuge in the convent of the Ursulines, where her own sister lived.

But the victorious revolutionary army retook the city, and Josephine was placed under arrest as having been disloyal to her country. Without being in any way perturbed, she confronted the band of soldiers who came to arrest her and she said, "It was hardly necessary to make so much ado for the purpose of taking a weak woman captive!" Then, having served her captors with refreshments, she followed them to prison.

Because she had resumed the life of a religious contrary to the laws, Josephine was condemned to death. With holy serenity and perfect resignation to God's holy will she accepted the death sentence and prepared for it by receiving the Bread of Heaven for her journey to the Divine Bridegroom. With a cheerful countenance she went out to the place of execution, singing sacred hymns along the way. She declared herself truly fortunate at being deemed worthy to give her life for the Catholic Faith.

"Could anyone fear to leave this place of exile," she said, "when he reflects on the beauty of Paradise?"

At the scaffold she gratefully kissed the hand of the executioner, and in a clear voice forgave everybody. Then she placed her head on the block. Her sister, Mary Scholastic, and four other companions died a martyr's death with her. This occurred on October 23, 1794. Pope Benedict XV enrolled her among the blessed.

from: The Franciscan Book Of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, OFM

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