save the memory of the 138 members of the clergy who died for France

save the memory of the 138 members of the clergy who died for France

This June 8, in Bayeux Cathedral, 138 candles will be carried to the altar by young scouts, as the names of members of the clergy “died for France”, victims of bombings or repression, will be listed. Nazi. In the audience, many members of the families of these nuns, priests and seminarians will be moved to remember, or even discover, an ancestor.

Retracing their destiny was not easy: “We already had a list of men who needed to be identified,” explains Father Pascal Marie, charged by the diocese of Bayeux-Lisieux with carrying out this research. Above all, the names of the nuns were missing and that shocked me. I wanted to find their trace before the archives disappeared. And even if there are almost no more contemporaries, the families are happy to provide us with photos and documents to complete the biographies. »

In mid-May, he received a phone call from a lady who wanted to entrust him with the chalice of her great-uncle, Father Joseph Pougheol, who died under the rubble of the Saint-Jean church in Caen. The object, found next to her, “all dented” was kept as a family relic: “She didn’t know that I had just published the priest’s portrait on the diocese’s Facebook page. What a sign! »

Pascal Marie still evokes the monastery of Notre-Dame-du-Pré in Lisieux, “which burned in twelve minutes on June 7, 1944.” Twenty-one nuns died (see opening photo) . The traumatized survivors decide to sing the morning service in the middle of the ruins and their deceased sisters. Their names will now be engraved on a marble plaque sealed in the chapel dedicated to peace “so that the diocese has a memorial place in which to meditate and transmit this history,” he specifies. We think we are far from the Second World War, and yet we remain immersed in its consequences. »

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