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Rare Casket Reliquary with relics of Martyrs: St. Ursula, King Louis XVI, St. Felicity & St. Fidelis

Extremely rare ca. 1850 French glass-sided casket reliquary housing precious relics of Saint Martyrs: Ursula, Felicity of Rome, Fidelis of Sigmaringen, and French King Louis XVI. In the main compartment, relics of St. Felicity and St. Fidelis are centered around substantial double-relics of St. Ursula. Relics of French King Louis XVI are housed in a glass vile centered in the upper compartment. On the inside, the reliquary has a paper label with a manuscript text in French: "fait à Paris ce 30 Décembre d'annie 1816".  (Done in Paris this December 30, 1816). 

On the bottom panel, the reliquary is secured by two ribbons of red silk held by a perfectly preserved seal of red Spanish wax with a seal of Cardinal Jacques-Marie-Adrien-Césaire Mathieu (†1875), Archbishop of Besançon (1850-1875). 

Saint Ursula (†383) is a Romano-British Christian saint. According to Tradition, she was a princess who set sail along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens to join her future husband, the pagan Governor Conan Meriadoc of Armorica. After a miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port, Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pan-European pilgrimage. She headed for Rome with her followers and persuaded the Pope, Cyriacus, and Sulpicius, bishop of Ravenna, to join them. After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a massacre. The Huns' leader fatally shot Ursula with an arrow in about 383 AD. She is a patron saint of Cologne, England, archers, orphans, students, Binangonan, Rizal.

Saint Felicity of Rome († c. 165), is a saint numbered among the Christian martyrs. Apart from her name, the only thing known for certain about this martyr is that she was buried in the Cemetery of Maximus, on the Via Salaria on  23 November. However, a legend presents her as the mother of the seven martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 10 July. She is a holy patron of parents who have lost a child in death; martyrs; sterility; to have male children; and widows.

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, O.F.M. Cap. (+1622) was a Capuchin friar who was involved in the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and was martyred by his opponents at Seewis im Prättigau, now part of Switzerland. Fidelis was canonized in 1746.

Louis XVI (†1793) was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was tried by the Convention, found guilty of treason, and sent to the guillotine on the feast of St Agnes, 21 January 1793. He began the day by hearing Mass and receiving the Holy Communion. At the place of execution, he addressed the crowd, saying, "I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I pardon Those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are now going to shed may never be visited on France; and you, unfortunate people...."

Additional Info

  • ID#: 30-RSMISR-135
  • Size: 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm) wide
  • Age: ca. third quarter of the 19th century
  • Origin: France
  • Materials: Glass, silk, gilt paper, wood, Spanish wax
  • Price: Price upon request
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