Some of the Sodality of Charity members have been involved in making and acting in a trailer to promote a great book named “A Family of Brigands in 1793” (or. Une famille de brigands en 1793, pub. 1902). It was written by a French Jesuit Jean Charruau (1851-1915), under the pseudonym Marie de Sainte-Hermine. In it a grandmother tells her grandchildren about the events in Vendée during the French Revolution.
The war in the Vendée was a bloody civil war between the supporters of the revolution, who fought for the French Republic, and the supporters of the King and the Catholic Church. When the revolution started in 1789, all Bishops and priests were required to swear an oath of loyalty to the state, and recognize the state as the highest authority in Church matters as well. In 1791, Pope Pius VI condemned those Bishops and priests who took the oath as schismatics in an encyclical appropriately titled Charitas (Charity). The Pope wrote:
But if errors increase daily and reach the point of creating schism, the laws of love itself, together with Our duty, demand that We reveal to the erring their horrible sin and the heavy canonical penalties which they have incurred.
The Republic later created a so-called constitutional church, led by the schismatic clergy who had taken the oath, and persecuted loyal Catholics. The government also killed King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette, and numerous Catholic Bishops, priests, nuns, and laypeople. But in Vendée people rose in rebellion against the Republic to defend their freedom to worship God as He has ordered Catholics to worship, and also to defend the royal throne and their legal pastors.
Napoleon later defeated the rebellion in Vendée, but the memory of the heroic resistance lived in the stories of the survivors, which they handed down from generation to generation.
A Family of Brigands in 1793 is available at the SGG bookstore.