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Lucien-Louis Bunel

Barentin, France

Lucien was the fourth of eight children born to poor Catholic parents in a small town in northwestern France. Lucien began his seminary studies in nearby Rouen at the age of 12. Following two years of military service, he resumed his religious studies in 1922 and was ordained as a priest three years later. He joined the Carmelite religious order in 1931, and became Father Jacques.

1933-39: In 1934 Father Jacques moved to the town of Avon, where he established a boys' school, Sainte-Therese-de-l'Enfant-Jesus, at the Carmelite monastery. For five years he was the director of the school, until war broke out in 1939 and he was called up to serve as a chaplain in the French army. In a letter to a fellow Carmelite dated September 21, he wrote, "I'm eager to go into action and make my small contribution to Hitler's demise."

1940-44: Father Jacques was captured by the Germans in June 1940, but in 1941 he was allowed to return and reopen his school in occupied France. In 1943 the Mother Superior of a Catholic girls' school sent three Jewish boys to Father Jacques. He secured them false IDs and enrolled them in his school. On January 15, 1944, the Gestapo arrested Father Jacques and the boys. During interrogation, Father Jacques refused to recognize the laws of the Third Reich, saying: "I know only one law: that of the Gospel and Charity."

Father Jacques was liberated in the Mauthausen concentration camp on May 5, 1945, but died soon after on June 2, 1945, in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Linz, Austria.

 

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