Jean-Nicolas Cordier, of Saint-Andre, France, entered the Jesuit Order at the age of eighteen. Following his ordination to the priesthood, Father Cordier served as a theology professor in Dijon, Auxerre, Autun, Strasbourg, and Pont-a-Mousson. The suppression of the Jesuit Order in the Lorraine
region in 1768 led him to become a chaplain
for a convent
in Saint-Mihiel. When in 1790 the anti-Catholic Jacobin regime of the French Revolution
suppressed all of the country's religious communities, Father Cordier went to Verdun. He was arrested in October of 1793 for having refused to take the oath of the Jacobins' anti-papal Civil Constitution of the Clergy. After spending six months in prison, he was put aboard one of the infamous prison ships of Rochefort, a fleet originally destined to carry over eight hundred priests and religious into exile in South America, but which remained in port as the British Navy blockaded the French coast. Father Cordier was one of over five hundred priests and religious to die from the horrible conditions on these ships.