Francesca Lacroix, born on 24 May 1753 in Pont-sur-Sambre, and Anna Maria Erraux, born on 20 October 1762 in the same place, entered the monastery of the Brigidine of Valenciennes at a young age, where they made their solemn profession. Living in community they kept faith in the commitment of religious consecration, progressing every day in love for the Savior: these fervent sisters observed the Rule and above all marked for humility and charity.
During the French revolution they sought refuge with the Ursulines on 24 June 1794: in fact their monastery had been destroyed. Meanwhile, the Austrian troops capitulated on 27 August. The fury of the revolution reached its peak and triggered the persecution: the Ursuline monastery itself was transformed a prison.
On 23 October 1794 the two Bridgettines, together with four Ursulines, went to the torture, while five other Ursulines had been martyred six days earlier. Francesca and Anna Maria, now corroborated by the prayer and nourished of the Eucharist, set off to the torture singing the "Te Deum" and reciting the Litany of Loreto. Before receiving the fatal blow they perfected the testimony of Christ with the forgiveness generously granted to the soldiers who guarded them and to the executioners.
Shortly before her torture, Anna Maria sent her brother the rest of the money received from the family for the trip, begging him to distribute it to the poor; she too wrote these words to him: «It is not possible for me to say how happy I am to shed my blood for faith, in reparation for my sins, and to leave the prison of this world to go to the eternal tabernacle. Grant me, O God, final perseverance (because I have a great need) and the love of Christ. May you and all our loved ones remain united as in one heart. I hope for God's mercy to see you all again in Heaven. I invoke upon you all the blessings of heaven. Your sister Anna Maria ».
PRAYER TO BLESSED ANNA MARIA AND MARIA FRANCESCA
Look at your family, Lord, that rejoices in memory of the blessed virgins and martyrs Francesca and Anna Maria, and grant that, celebrating their triumph, follow the example of their fortress. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.