Blessed Alexander Lanfant

Blessed Alexander Lanfant

Alexander Lanfant


  • Death: 02/09/1792
  • Nationality (place of birth): France

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