The day after the massacre
of priests at the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Carmelite monastery,
the Parisian mob attacked the improvised prison in the Vincentian seminary of
Saint-Firmin, where some 90 priests were incarcerated. They were first ordered
out into the streets where the crowd shouted, "Death, death" and then
taken back into the seminary where each priest appeared before a tribunal.
Within an hour 72 priests were killed for refusing to take the oath accepting
the Civil Constitution. Some priests were butchered, others beheaded; some were
thrown out the windows to the crowd who clubbed them to death. Seven of those
who died at Saint-Firmin were Jesuits. The next day the mob went to La Force, a
prison for political and aristocratic undesirables, where some priests were
incarcerated. Fr. Francis Le Livec was the only Jesuit there; he was killed
with the other priests.
Father Alexander Charles
Lanfant (1726-1792) taught at several schools. When the Society was suppressed,
he went to Lorraine where he exercised priestly ministry under the protection
of the duke. When that protector died, Lanfant went to Vienna where he was
preacher at the court of Empress Maria Theresa. He returned to Paris and became
preacher at the court of Louis XVI, and from 1789-1791 the king's confessor.
The revolutionaries were especially eager to arrest him for the influence he
supposedly had on the French monarch. He was recognized by the mob which rushed
him when he came out of the prison gates and killed him.
Originally Collected and
edited by: Tom Rochford, SJ