January 02, 2019

⛪ Blessed Guillaume Répin - Priest and Martyr

⛪ Saint of the Day : January 2

⛪ Other Names : Vilhelm Répin • William Répin

⛪ Born :
• 26 August 1709 at Thouarcé, Maine-et-Loire, France

⛪ Died :
• 2 January 1794 at Angers, France

Blessed William Repin, Parish Priest and canon of 85 years, is the leader of the 99 martyrs, victims of the French Revolution, in the diocese of Angers; Beatified on 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II. 

He was born in Thouarcé (Maine-et-Loire) in France, on 26 August 1709, the second son of the spouses Renato Repin and Renata Gourdon; at age 19 he entered the seminary of Angers, where he was then ordained a priest.

In the early years from 1734 to 1749, he was coadjutor of the parish of St. Giuliano di Angers and then parish priest of San Sempliciano to Martigné-Briand and at the same time he was also nominated as a canon; He spent his ministry with serenity for over 40 years, loved and respected by his parishioners and by those who knew him for the most varied reasons. The parish church was beautified by him several times, with appropriate restorations and renovations.

At the same time in France the French Revolution broke out and the new government, in 1791, requested by the ecclesiastics, who were seen as smoking in the eyes, to take an oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which among other things considered the institution of a clergy enslaved to the state power and therefore schismatic with the Church of Rome; a struggle against the God of the Redemption in the name of the goddess Reason, fruit of the revolutionary thought of that historical period. 

Some joined, out of fear or opportunity, but a good part of the clergy and religious did not swear, being identified as "refractory priests" and undergoing persecution, which soon turned into incriminations and executions.

Even the parish priest William Repin, refused the oath requested by the mayor of Martigné-Briand February 10, 1791, and then unfortunately had to leave the forty years of office and went to take refuge in Angers, where he was captured on 17 June 1792 and locked in the local seminar, along with a large number of other 'refractory' priests; in this imprisonment, being the eldest, he was chosen to celebrate Mass and to communicate his confreres. 

On 14 August 1792 the National Convention voted the oath "liberté - egalité", for all public officials and on 2 September 1792 this oath became mandatory for all French citizens.

Father Repin also refused this second oath and on November 30, 1792, he was transferred together with other elderly or sick priests to the "Rossignolerie", as the school of the Brothers of the Christian Doctrine was commonly called and here remained until 17 June 1793, when it was freed with all the others, by the insurgents of the Vendee, who had occupied Angers. 

He moved to various places, but unable to follow the Vendean army, due to his old age, he returned to hide in the Mauges, where he was again captured on December 24, 1793 and taken to prison in Chalonnes.

After being questioned by the local justice of the peace and considered suspect, he was referred to the Angers Revolutionary Committee, which in turn, after having interrogated him again and judged 'according to the law', handed him on January 1, 1794 to the Military Commission, who condemned Father Guglielmo Repin to the guillotine; the sentence was executed the following day, January 2, 1794, on the square "du Ralliement" together with the parish priest of St. Mary of Chalonnes, Laurent Bárard and two other victims of the Revolution. 

For refusing to take the aforementioned oath, from October 30, 1793 to October 14, 1794, 177 people were guillotined at Angers, in the square called "du Ralliement"; but from January 1794 to April 16 of the same year, they were shot for the same reason, about 2,000 people at the Campo dei Martiri d'Avrillé.

Among the thousands of victims, were identified with certainty, by a special commission established in 1905 by the bishop of Angers, 99 of them, who were martyred for religious reasons; of them, 12 priests were guillotined, together with three nuns and 84 lay people of whom 80 women were shot. 

The cause for their beatification ended on June 9, 1983. The religious feast common to all 99 is celebrated on February 1st, while the 12 priests and the three nuns are also remembered on the day of their death, which for Blessed William Repin is January 2nd.

Blessed Guillaume Répin, Pray for us !

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