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The Martyrs of Laval

Laval is a town in the Mayenne department of northwest France. The Roman Catholic Church came under severe pressure during the French Revolution, and Laval was subjected to a particularly savage episode of persecution early in the year 1794. The revolutionary authorities demanded that all churchmen must swear an oath of allegiance to the Revolution, and those who refused were usually sentenced to death.

(Laval. Photo by Stig Nygaard)

Hundreds of priests and other ordained persons in Laval were executed by guillotine, of whom nineteen were later beatified. On 21st January fourteen priests were executed, the most prominent being Jean Baptiste Turpin du Cormier, who was the parish priest and rural dean of Laval. The fourteen are collectively known as the Martyrs of Laval, who are remembered on 19th June.

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