Brothers of Rochefort
Once the monarchy had been overthrown early in the French
Revolution, the next target was the Church. In 1790 the Civil
Constitution of the Clergy gave the state complete control
over the Church in France. In order to continue to function,
priests and religious were forced to take an oath to support
the constitution. Most of the Brothers refused and so were
forced gradually to abandon their schools and communities.
Eventually the Institute was deprived altogether of legal
status in France.
Brother Solomon was secretary to Brother Agathon, the Superior
General. Living along in Paris while the Superior remained
at the motherhouse outside the city, Brother wrote letters
to his family that show a keen religious spirit in the face
of the horrors as they unfolded. He was arrested on August
15, 1792. He refused to take the oath and was imprisoned in
the Carmelite monastery, together with several bishops and
priests. On September 2 the prisoners were brought in pairs
to the monastery garden where they were shot.
Three Brothers were among the priests and religious who were
confined in the rotting hulks that served as prison ships
in the blockaded harbor of Rochefort where they endured indignities
and privations. When Brother Roger, who had been Director
of the school in Moulins, succumbed to typhus he was moved
to an island in the harbor where he died at the age of 49.
Brother Leon, 68 years old, also from the school at Moulins,
had taught most of the people in the city. He died after two
months on the hulks. Brother Uldaric continued teaching secretly
after his school at Nancy had been closed. He died after fifteen
months of imprisonment and was buried with other prisoners
in an unmarked grave on the island in the harbor.