Memorial of Ss. Adrian and James of Middelburg, O. Praem.
(c. 1528, † July 9, 1572 / c. 1542, † July 9, 1572)
- Palm branch = Martyr
- Papal tiara = Defender of the Papacy
- Chalice = Defender of the Eucharist
- Scaffold = Instrument of death
On July 9, 1572, for their loyalty to the Catholic faith, the Calvinists hanged 19 priests and religious in Gorcum in the Netherlands. Among these were two sons of St. Norbert: Adrian and James.
Adrian Jansen was born in 1529 and entered the abbey of Middelburg at the age of 15. After a stint as the master of novices, he was appointed a parish pastor. Adrian was an exemplary priest and a true apostle laboring in a parish, which counted several Calvinists among its population.
James Lacoupe, also a canon of Middelburg, was born in 1542. He was a brilliant young man whose success went to his head. His religious life was mediocre. When the iconoclastic Calvinists infiltrated the abbey in 1566, the 24-year-old James renounced his faith. He went so far as to write a pamphlet attacking the Church, and had become a preacher of the Calvinist beliefs. His father and a brother (who was also a Norbertine) eventually brought him to reconsider. Touched by the grace of God, he returned to the abbey and was kindly received by the community when he asked forgiveness for his apostasy.
After five years of penance, the abbot appointed him curate in Munster, where his brother was pastor. After the death of his brother in 1572, Adrian was appointed pastor. Adrian had only been there three months when revolutionary soldiers attacked the rectory and captured both priests. Together with 17 other priests and religious, they were marched through the streets of Gorcum while being beaten and insulted, accompanied by a screaming mob.
The 19 priests and religious were thrown into prison and subjected to a trial, during which they defended the doctrine of the Eucharist and the authority of the Pope. They were mistreated, tortured, and denied food. On July 9, 1572, both Adrian and James, together with the other priests and religious, were hanged and received the crown of martyrdom. They were beatified by Pope Clement X on November 24, 1675, and canonized by Blessed Pius IX on June 29, 1877.
Date(s) - Thursday July 9, 2020