Disillusioned with life, Jacques Fesch planned to steal from a currency exchanger, Alexander Silberstein, to fund the purchase of a boat to escape his listless life.

On February 24th, 1954 when Fesch went to Rob Silberstein, he struck him not unconscious, and the alarms sounded. Losing his glasses, he fled, and shot wildly at pursuing police offers.

Arrested minutes later for the murder of Jean Vergne, the court of public opinion was quickly enflamed and strongly in favor of his execution. The Cour d’assises of Paris condemned him to death on 6 April 1957.

After a year in prison, it is said he:

“Experienced a profound religious conversion, became very pious, and bitterly regretted his crime. He corresponded regularly with his family, notably his brother and stepmother, and kept a spiritual journal. He accepted his punishment serenely and was reconciled to his wife the night before his execution. His last journal entry was “In five hours, I will see Jesus!”. An appeal for clemency to President René Coty failed, and he was guillotined.”

After his death, his wife and daughter with the help of Soeur Véronique, a Carmelite nun, and Father Augustin-Michel Lemonnier, published his writings as an example of redemption, since the 1970s serving as an inspiration to many.

On September 21st, 1987 Archbishop of Paris Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, opened a diocesan inquiry into his life. Six years later, the cause for his beatification was formally opened, naming him Servant of God Jacques Fesch.

Photo credit: tilialucida / Shutterstock.com
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