On October 29, three churchgoers at the Basilica of Notre Dame de l’Assomption were attacked and killed by an Islamic jihadi, in hatred for our Faith. They’re not even the first modern martyrs killed by jihadis in Nice, but their case is even clearer than usual.
Vincent Loques, layman, sacristan, 55, was a devoted husband and the father of two children. He was known for his “friendly face,” and for being available at the basilica all day, every day, for the last ten years.
Brahim Aossaoui, his killer, had waited outside the basilica all night, according to his mother who had received a text in Tunisia that did not reveal his other plans. Loques unlocked the basilica doors at 8:30 AM and let Aossauoi in, as he would let anyone enter in the morning. Once the doors were open, Aossauoi slit Loques’ throat. It is a gesture of contempt associated with halal animal slaughter.
Nadine Devillers, laywoman, 60, was happily married and known for her “strong and pure heart” and her “kindness.” She was from Draguignan but moved to Nice at age 18. She was a regular at the basilica, a daily Massgoer. She died close to the baptismal font, stabbed and nearly beheaded.
Simone Barreto Silva, laywoman, 44, was a Brazilian immigrant to France who had lived there for 30 years, and was the mother of two children. She broke away from her attacker, despite her wounds, and made it all the way across the street to a cafe, where she asked for help. As she died, she asked those around her to tell her children that she loved them.
(It is worth saying the owner of the cafe, Brahim Jelloule, was also a Muslim, but he dragged Barreto Silva inside his cafe and tried to save her.)
Those who die martyrs for Jesus’ sake will go straight to Heaven. These people are now with God, and they are our friends.
Martyrs of Nice, pray for us!