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Brother Solomon

Brother Solomon

Roman Catholic Books

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Can a life of quiet piety prepare one for a violent death?

It did for Brother Solomon, butchered for his faith during the French Revolution. Here is his untold story-and its lessons for us, in our equally vicious world.

What would you do if forced to choose between loyalty to theChurch—or death? Tens of thousands of clergy and religious facedprecisely that choice during the French Revolution. Many chosemartyrdom. Among the least likely (to worldly eyes) was BlessedNicholas LeClercq—a.k.a. Brother Solomon, the unassumingsecretary-general of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Thiscelebrated retelling of his life—drawn from numerous eyewitnessaccounts and extensive documentary evidence, including his ownletters—shows how heroic sanctity springs not from extraordinaryqualities of personality, but from patient cultivation of the virtues.As such, it is a masterly study not only of one man, but of thenature and motives of martyrdom.

Life and Death of a Saint in the Making

  • What kind of parents, and home life, prepares a young boyto make the ultimate sacrifice? What did young Nicholas read?
  • The gathering storm: how, while Nicholas was growing upin a profoundly religious atmosphere, blatant irreligionchampioned by the likes of Voltaire was rearing its ugly head
  • His "Babylonian exile": how the young Nicholas's stay inParis, to learn his father's business, awakened him to France'scrisis of faith and his call to the religious life
  • Joining the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and trainingboys in religion and techniques of business
  • Suddenly placed, at only 28, in charge of the novitiate.How, despite his self-doubts, he mastered the challenge
  • Practicing his ascetic discipline to the letter: it would bearfruit in martyrdom
  • His rise through the ranks -- and hisappointment, on the eve of the Revolution, as secretary to theSuperior General
  • The attack develops: How the Revolutionaries plotted to tearthe Church in France away from the great unity of Catholicism,and reduce it to the status of a government department
  • Would it happen today? How all but four of the Frenchbishops openly defied the schismatic Civil Constitution of theClergy—inspiring a large percentage of priests to follow theirexample. The Revolutionary government's merciless reaction
  • How, although they were not at first required to take thecivil oath prescribed for the clergy, the Brothers' refusal torecognize the "juring" clergy was met by the decree of March,1791, requiring teachers as well as priests to take the oath
  • How, since they too now became 'non-jurors,' the Brotherswere faced with the closing of their schools, and finally thedecree suppressing all religious orders
  • August 15, 1792: "Citizen LeClercq," in Paris to arrange theliquidation of his outlawed congregation's properties, is arrested
  • The interrogation: "Have you taken the oath?"
  • Mass martyrdom: "There was no show of bravery, nobrazen exultation; only quiet heroism"