Another French Saint of the Prisons

Engraved image of 19th century hulk by Louis Le Breton
Public domain / Wikimedia Commons

In 1795, the brutal violence of the French Revolution had burned itself out. Prison hulks (unseaworthy ships that were used to warehouse prisoners) in the city of Rochefort were emptied, and the prisoners were released. Many of those who had been incarcerated in these hulks were Catholic priests and religious, whose only crime was refusing to abandon their faith and obey the Revolutionary government rather than the Church.

As the prisoners were allowed to leave and tell their stories, the truth about the circumstances of the hulks came to light. It is estimated that 827 Catholic clergy and religious were imprisoned in the prison hulks of Rochefort, and, of that total, 542 died of starvation, mistreatment, and lack of hygiene or medical care. One of those men, Pierre (Roger) Sulpice Christopher Faverge, was particularly remembered by the survivors.

Brother Roger was a religious brother and teacher in the Brothers of the Christian Schools before the French Revolution. During his imprisonment, Roger cared for other needy prisoners, retained his faith in Jesus Christ despite the inhuman conditions of their prison, and died of an illness before the prisoners were liberated. The Church has declared him a blessed for his heroic witness and martyrdom and commemorates him on September 12.

Blessed Roger, show me how to serve those in need around me.