Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I forgot Jacques' birthday.

The Good Thief
April 3, 1930 was the birthday of Jacques Fesch. The Jewish-Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger initiated the cause for his beatification in 1987; as a result, the process was formally opened in 1993. Jacques was guillotined in 1957 for the crime of murdering a police officer after a botched robbery. Through the influence of St. Therese of Lisieux, and the friendship of a Trappist monk, the Servant of God was converted and made great progress in the spiritual life during his imprisonment. Deeply sorry for his crime, he accepted his punishment in peace, and was reconciled to his wife the night before his execution, which he offered to Jesus. He has the infamous distinction of being the last person in France to be guillotined. His daughter is a Carmelite nun who promotes his cause as an example of the mercy of God to sinners. Jacques died on October 1, now the feast day of St. Therese in the revised calendar.


  1. What an inspiration it would be to have him formally canonized. Thanks for the information about him- I had never heard of him. I only wish he had an easier name to remember so I can remember to pray for his intercession.

  2. I pronounce his first name like Jack - it is easier to remember then.

  3. I might try that.

  4. The Good Thief (Mickey Itchon)


  5. at the risk of sounding disrespectful, I think his name sounds like a great party for athletes ... a "Jock Fest" - I might remember it more easily that way.

    but i will try to remember him.

    thanks for telling us about these obscure [at least to me] heroes for the Lord.

  6. Uncle Jim - that cracks me up - LOL! Thanks.

  7. Dear Terry
    I really enjoyed how you have such a devotion to lay-saints (including the blessedes) such as Jacques Fesch etc. (Not even "lay brothers" who are really "consecrated", neither lay nor cleric as stated in the Canon Law).
    Can you please be so kind to suggest a website or a list of lay saints -throughout the ages? No nuns, monks or priests - not even deacons.

    Thanks! You may email me brotherwilliam (a-t) gmail (d-o-t) (you-know-what)

    Br William

  8. Thanks Br. - BTW - I didn't get the last part of your email address - but I don't really know of one site that has all of the new saints or lay people up for canonization, as you asked.

  9. (dot) gmail (dot) com

    would you please be so kind to suggest 20 lay saints throughout the ages? (may or may not be your favourite)

    1. Lay Saints throughout the ages
      1 St Dismas
      2 St Longinus
      3 St Justin (Philosopher, Apologist, “Antisemite”, Martyr)
      4 St Helen, mother of St Constantine
      5 St Oswald
      6 St Olaf of Norway
      7 St Canute of Denmark
      8 His fourth son, Blessed Charles of Flanders
      9 St Eric of Sweden
      10 St Henry (II?) of Holy Roman Empire
      11 St Volodymyr of Kievan Rus’
      12 St Louis IX of France
      13 & 14 Sts Boris and Gleb
      15 possibly St Hedwig of Poland (despite “canonisation” by Wojtyla)
      16 St Ladislas of Hungary (I was looking for someone else)
      17 St Venceslas of Bohemia
      18 St Thomas More
      19 St Anne Line
      20 any one of Zita and Charles of Austria, Engelbert Dollfuss, or even José Antonio Primo de Rivera.

      Only needed to look up n 16.

    2. Thank you very much! I didn't realize you had replied to my request! I only visit this site today and find your reply. I was doing research for a book on lay saints at that time. The book came out last September finally, including housewives, soldiers, catechists, young martyrs and politicians. They are sold out already.

  10. Dear Terry: Thanks for your blog. Mine is an unsolicited opinion, but here it goes. I agree that we have to love one by one. There is no love that is not specific for the beloved. Yet, the lover completes his act of loving only when accepting to be loved back, remains free. I loved your comment on Jacques F. Please, keep your good work. G Porta

  11. George - thanks very much.

  12. OK, I know this isn't very pious of me, but...Jacques sure was a hunk!

  13. Umm... The Servant of God Jacques Fesches was certainly not the last man to be guillotined in France. The last execution was in 1977, twenty years after Fesches went to meet the Lord. Of course, St Therese made rather a habit of converting the condemned.

  14. This Servant of God was not the last person to suffer under the blade of Madame La Guillotine. A French Officer was put to death in the 1960s by this method.

  15. But he was the last French citizen guillotined - the last person was a Tunisian in 1977.


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