Simonetta has written several books in her Christian Biographies For Young Readers series that include giants of Church history such as John Knox, John Calvin and Athanasius. She has also authored books on women of the faith like Lady Jane Grey and her newest addition, Marie Durand.
Ascetically her books are lovely. The craftsmanship is beautiful. They are a pleasure to hold and gaze upon for young and old alike as the story unfolds.
The story of Marie Durand is one that girds the Christian soul as hostility and persecution eclipse our days.
“Since Protestant teachings were illegal, they built a hiding place inside a wall where they kept their Bible, their Protestant catechism, a Psalter (a book of Psalms put to music) and other Christian books. They also had a hiding place near the sheep barn where they could run in case of danger or give hospitality to preachers who passed through their town.”
Born between the Rhone River and the Massif Central Mountains in Southern France, Marie could not have known that her life would be remembered hundreds of years later for her devotion to God and His people.
In 1685, King Louis XIV had revoked the law that protected Protestants to live by their convictions. Protestant churches were destroyed by the hundreds, pastors were banned from the country and their property usurped. If their children were over the age of seven, they had to leave them behind in France with Roman Catholic families and were forced to pay for their room and board.
By 1711, when Marie was born in a small French village most of the religious wars had defused though tensions were still running high.
It was after the death of King Louis the XIV in 1715 that Protestants utilized this time to begin gathering once again for worship.
Unbeknownst to Marie’s family, a spy had attended one of these services and soldiers attacked their next gathering.
Her brother Pierre managed to escape but this was only the beginning of their troubles as he decided to become a pastor despite the dangers they would all face for his decision.
“Pierre had a difficult decision to make. Should he leave the country and stop preaching the gospel to his people? Or should he stay and put his father at greater risk? Finally, he realized he had to obey his calling. Besides, he didn’t trust the government’s promises. He wasn’t sure they wouldn’t still capture him at the border and keep his father in prison anyway.”
Being the sister of a Protestant pastor would be the catalyst to Marie’s arrest and her unwillingness to compromise her Protestant faith in exchange for her freedom would keep her incarcerated for decades.
“There were however, long periods of time when it seemed as though the whole world had forgotten these women, and Marie had to encourage other believers to remember their duty of charity toward those who are in prison.”
It would cost her everything…except her faith.
French Pastor and advocate for Marie’s plight; “Rabaut knew no amount of freedom is worth the compromise of biblical teachings. “This freedom for which so many of our people yearn, I fear it as much as I desire it,” he said. Still, he added, “I have no trouble putting my fate in the hands of Wise Providence.””
Through her ability to lead other women, encourage them in darkness, implore those with authority outside the prison walls and her stalwart obedience to Christ; Marie’s story is the epitome of what it means to walk with Christ.
“Marie never imagined her life would still be remembered three hundred years after her birth. Through both her long and terrible imprisonment and the poverty and disappointments she had to face when she returned home, she simply continued to do what God called her to do every day, keeping her eyes on the future “triumph of glory,” loving those around her, and thanking God for what she described as “the honor of wearing His uniform for His just cause.””
It is no wonder we are still speaking of her, and God’s faithfulness, today.
Purchase Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr
You can also visit Simonetta at her blog: Christian Biographies For Young Readers