After having briefly recalled the progress of the two cases to instruct the cause of Marie de l’Incarnation’s canonization, the author asks : what are the miraculous facts related in these different inquiries ?
He first answers by analysing the « miraculous circumstances », the extension of the miracles in time and space, and afterwards the devout public drawn by the fama sanctitatis, and at last the typology of the intentions which prompted the quest of a miracle, which leads to consider the truthfulness of the related facts and the historian’s approach towards them.
THE MIRACLES OF MARIE DE L’INCARNATION (1622-1634)
By Albrecht Burkardt – Université Lumière Lyon II
“Prepared” by rumors of the charisms of which Marie de l’Incarnation is said to have given proof during her lifetime, the popular movement to secure the prayers of the saint of Pontoise arose, as in so many other cases from the same era, following her death – and more precisely, following the exhibition of her corpse in the chancel of the church of the CarmelitesOn the importance of this type of event for the creation of new cults, see Jean-Michel Sallmann, Naples et ses saints à l’âge baroque (1540-1750), Paris, 1994, p. 287-330 ; for other contemporary cases in French, see A. Burkardt, « Rayonnement et voies de diffusion de nouveaux cultes de saints à travers le témoignage des procès de canonisation » (première moitié du XVIIe siècle)", Siècles. Cahiers du Centre d’histoire "Espaces et cultures", t. 12: La circulation des dévotions, Maringues, 2000, p. 91-113.. This movement appears to have been massive, to the point of imposing the presence of guards to watch over the bodyCf. André Du Val, La Vie admirable de sœur Marie de l’Incarnation, Paris, 1622, p. 427.. We do not, however, have any precise testimony concerning these events, and if indeed there were miracles at this time, they remain hidden from us.
Detailed information is contained in the canonical proceedings of which Marie de l’Incarnation was the object. The archives of the Congregation of Rites, now held in the Secret Archives of the Vatican, contain first of all the proceedings of the ordinaryCf. Archivio Segreto Vaticanos (ASV), Congr. Riti, Processus 2233, Processus super vita, heroicis virtutibus, sanctitate ac miraculis ancillae Dei Sororis Mariae ab Incarnatione […], 1622-1627, 123 ff.. These proceedings began in April 1622 when the bishop of Rouen, François de Harlay, agreed to the request by the community of Carmelites at Pontoise to open the investigationSee ibid., f° 1v.. This investigation took a very simple form: the protonotary of the curate general of Pontoise was charged with making a record of the declarations of all of the devotees who claimed to have benefited from a miracle thanks to the intervention of Marie de l’Incarnation; the investigation therefore advanced little by little, as these persons made their depositions, which is to say generally speaking (save in the case of inhabitants of Pontoise) when they came to the city to give thanks for their miracles, which had most often been obtained following the making of a vow. Thus the testimonies are typically limited to a short rendering of the essential facts communicated by the recipient him/herself or, in the case of children, by one of the parents. To these are added a number of complementary investigations as well as testimonies by letter, all of which brings to around 120 the number of miracles documented in these proceedings.
The year 1630 saw the opening of the apostolic proceedings for Marie de l’IncarnationCf. ASV, Congr. Riti, 2235-2236, 2239, Processus super virtutibus ancillae Dei Sororis Mariae ab Incarnatione […], 1630-33, 3 vol., 4162 pp.. During this investigation, which was lead by a commission seated successively at Pontoise, Paris, Amiens, Chartres, Bar-le-Duc and Noyon (the sub-committee of the Congregation of Rites being presided over by the archbishop of Sens, Octave de BellegardeFor the unfolding and development of these proceedings, see also the brief synthesis of Jean-Dominique Mellot, Histoire du Carmel de Pontoise, vol. 1 : 1605-1792, Paris, 1994, p. 92-100., and concluded in 1633), the commission heard 189 witnesses of whom 157 of the depositions deal, for the most part, with one or more miracles. These testimonies are typically much more detailed that those of the proceedings of the ordinary, although by far the longest depositions are those of the remaining thirty-two witnesses, and deal with the life and virtues of the “saint of Pontoise”. On the other hand, far fewer miracles are documented: along with sixteen already known the proceedings document 37 new cases.
What are the miraculous events reported in these different investigations? We shall answer this question in analyzing first the miraculous “circumstances” – the extension of the miracles in time and space –, and then the group of devotees drawn by the fama sanctitatis, and finally the typology of motifs inspiring the quest for miracles, which will give us occasion to reflect upon the “veracity” of the facts reported and on the approaches of the historian with regard to these factsFor a more detailed presentation, see A. Burkardt, Les clients des saints. Maladie et quête du miracle à travers les procès de canonisation de la première moitié du XVII e siècle en France, Rome, Collection de l’Ecole Française de Rome 338, 2004..
The miracles reported in these two investigations cover a relatively limited span of time although, as has been explained, the miracles from the time of Acarie’s death remain undocumented. The data available to us allows us to analyze the evolution of the cult, in particularly as it existed in the 1620s.
Let us make a brief overview of the chronology of these miracles. From the year 1622, they increased in number until 1624 (seventeen miracles recorded); the number decreases sharply between 1625 and 1626 (ten and six miracles, respectively), but peaks in 1627 (twenty-four cases), the date of the conclusion of the proceedings of the ordinary.
Are there explanations for this rather particular set of circumstances? There may well be. The year 1622 is an important one in Carmel, as it is the year of the canonization of saint Teresa of Avila. This canonization, enthusiastically celebrated in Pontoise, had a secondary effect of breathing new life into the cult of the foundress of French Carmel. At the same moment, the increasing circulation of André Duval’s Life of Marie de l’Incarnation (published 1621) is likely the most important contextual factor in the increase in the number of miracles attributed to her intercession. A significant number of the witnesses to the process mention their reading of the Life as the principal source of their devotion to Marie de l’Incarnation. Further, the decrease in the years 1625-1626 does not necessarily indicate a waning devotion; this decrease is above all attributable to the fact that during these years, the plague ravaged Pontoise. This fact must have hindered potential pilgrims, who knew of the risks, from traveling to the Church of the Carmelites. Once the contagion had abated, the cult could resume with full strength (as is seen in the year 1627).
From where do these devotees of the saint hail? Let us make clear first of all that, among the recipients of miracles, there are a certain number of inhabitants of Pontoise. As to the pilgrims, they were recruited notably from the neighboring regions, in a half-circle described by the cities of Chartres, Evreux, Rouen, Amiens, Noyon, Verdun and Paris. This extension of the cult is itself the result of an evolution. The first miracles attributed to the saint between 1618 and 1620, recorded in the Life of Marie de l’Incarnation by Duval, concern in fact only inhabitants of PontoiseCf. A. Du Val, La Vie admirable, op. cit., p. 788-814.. Before 1622, the circle widens somewhat, but with a very few exceptions, the recipients of miracles are always recruited in nearby localities, situated for the most part between Pontoise and ParisThe exceptions concern in particular the city of Evreux. It must be remembered that the analysis presented here takes account of the devotees who traveled to Pontoise. This detail left aside, an entirely new, much broader geography presents itself, and is defined in particular by the presence of a Carmelite convent. It is the women religious of these different communities, of whom certain ones (such as those of Chalons, Dole and Lyon) declare themselves cured by the intervention of Marie de l’Incarnation, and who stimulate the devotion of certain devotees on the spot, notably via the distribution of relics of the saint (as in Nantes and Rouen) ; see Duval, op. cit.. By contrast, after 1622, an important number of places further afield are touched. The factor which lends coherence to this expansion is, again, the publication of the Life of Marie de l’Incarnation. Indeed, t his work granted an entirely new notoriety to this personage of saintly reputation, in the places furthest from the original place of her fama, the printed text authenticating in some sense the “miraculous” news transmitted originally by word of mouthFor a broader analysis of the functions of the Life, see A. Burkardt, « Reconnaissance et dévotion : les Vies de saint et leurs lectures au début du XVII e siècle à travers les procès de canonisation », Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (1996 – 2), p. 214-233 ; Id., Les clients des saints, op. cit., p. 357-376..
What traits characterize the social profile of these devotees? Let us recognize first that the question of their origins is of relatively little interest. Indeed, in this time period, a canonization process effectively excluded the more humble social strata in advance; the great majority of the recipients of miracles and to an even greater extent, the witnesses (more than 95%, in the process of Marie de l’Incarnation), belonged to the sanior pars of the Ancien Régime population: a “juste milieu” of lawyers, merchants and artisans, along with (of course) men and women religious. The question becomes more interesting when one takes into consideration the sex, age and marital status of these individuals. Indeed, what stands out is the strong presence of women among both the recipients of miracles as well as the witnesses. Among only the lay witnesses of the apostolic process (to whom numerous women religious are to be added), women make up two thirds; among the recipients of miracles, the proceedings of the ordinary records 49% women (including women religious this time, who nonetheless only make up 7%) to 27% men (religious included) and 24% children of both sexes. As to the apostolic process, women account for 64% of the recipients of miracles, in contrast to 21% men (laymen and religious) and 17 children.
These figures may be even more surprising considering the fact that the proceedings of the ordinary concern pilgrims in large part: this accounts for the modest number of women religious, but the fact remains that women represent 60% of these “walkers of God”. In parallel, it is noteworthy that a number of populations typically found on the registers of pilgrims, young men in particular, are absent from this process. Clearly, these men were the object of a mistrust analogous to that which led, in the proceedings, to the exclusion of the poor. And just as clearly, this was not the case for women. Does this not indicate that women were particularly targeted by the agents of the Counter Reformation, that women were in some sense the devotees most dear to them? Inversely, it should be remembered that women were particularly attracted to the new cults, and engaged in their establishment. Let us note that this attraction appears to have been felt by women of all conditions, even if it is true that young or single women were rare among the pilgrims. In contrast, their participation increases sharply among the recipients of miracles of the apostolic process, and among the witnesses of the same process giving depositions on the miracles, married women and women living alone (single or widows) are present in almost equal percentages.
Recipients of miracles and witnesses of the process of Marie de l’Incarnation
( * rounded percentages)
Are the reasons for appealing to Marie de l’Incarnation at all reflective of the particular identity of her followers? Let us underline first of all that the vast majority of the miracles concern the healing of disease, and as has been noted regarding other new cults, they tend most often to highlight the therapeutic polyvalence of the saint in questionCf. Jean Delumeau, , Rassurer et protéger, Paris, 1989, p. 202.. It is therefore to be expected that the process presents us with a panoply of different maladies cured by miracles. This does not mean, however, that one cannot distinguish particular rules of distribution. If a certain number of these afflictions could affect men, women and children alike (various fevers, for example), others are of a more particular nature. Certain among these suggest professional maladies, especially the case for men but also for women religious whose afflictions sometimes prevented them from their exercises of piety. Beyond this, among women, many miracles concern sickness linked to pregnancy and childbirth. This is however not the only difference between “feminine” maladies and those common to men. More generally, one notices that the latter are especially afflicted by maladies affecting the exterior of the body, while women are more affected by interior maladies. Among married women, complications related to pregnancy and childbirth are the most common; among single women, on the contrary, and in part among widows, these illnesses are more likely to correspond, with a certain frequency, to diseases that would tend to be described as “psychopathological”. Naturally, these problems are not labeled as such during the time period that concerns us; they nonetheless constitute a genre with distinctive traits, in the sense that they are the only ones to be described with references to the black bile humors – melancholy –, and also in that they monopolize, among adults at least, suspicions of spells having been cast. It is clear that the cures for this type of disease must have fascinated the investigators, given the particularly enigmatic symptoms of these pathologies and, above all, the often spectacular circumstances of the cure. At the same time, we have seen that the same group of people – single and widowed women – was also well represented among the witnesses of the processes. May we not see in this the reflection of the success that the Counter Reformation movement must have found in this particular group of women, by means of education but also by means of spiritual direction? These efforts at religious acculturation must also have favored recourse to spiritual remedies (hence the miracles); it remains to be known if these same efforts did not in fact play a part in the production of the (psycho-) pathological crises to which (certain of) these women were subject, and which they subsequently had “cured’ by miracleFor similar analysis, see Eric. H. J. Midelfort, « Sin, melancholy, obsession : insanity and culture in 16th century Germany », in S. Kaplan, éd., Understanding popular culture, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam, 1984, p. 113-146 ; Giovanni Romeo, Esorcisti, confessori e sessualità femminile nell’Italia della Controriforma. A proposito di due casi modenesi del primo Seicento , Florence, 1998..
Whatever the case may be, the miracles are not, as one sees clearly in these last examples, the result of a “popular religion” situated out of time; they are very much linked to the era in which they came about. Indeed, they bear witness to numerous ordinary religious practices, even though these practices are used on the occasion of an extraordinary event. The same is true of the pilgrimages. A great deal of information is given us, for example, on the greater and lesser will of the devotees to undertake the voyage. Witness the baker from Noyon who, having sworn to go to the tomb of Marie de l’Incarnation should his ailing son be cured, does not even wait for such a cure before undertaking the trip: “I got underway while waiting for my son to be able to do the same, and left for Pontoise and the Monastery of Carmelite Sisters where lies the body of that blessed sister […], and there I renewed my vows and my prayers […]ASV, Congr. Riti, Processus 2236, f° 241v.”. In contrast, once the cure had been effected, a number of devotees took their time in exercising their vow, all manner of circumstances, beginning with bad weather, preventing them from doing so sooner: six to seven months time between the cure and accomplishment of the vow are the norm, and one woman from Evreux did not go to Pontoise until three years after being cured, “not having had”, she declared, “the leisure to do so sooner”ASV, Congr. Riti, 2233, f° 31r..
The testimonies insist upon the occurrence of extraordinary events, as in the case of the couple who, on the road to Pontoise and weary from walking, meets an unknown rider of remarkable qualities: not only does he save their endangered pilgrimage by offering to carry the wife; he also knows the two travelers by name “and along the way he spoke to me of our parents and of those of my husband, mentioning them all by name by name as if he had been raised among us”ASV, Congr. Riti, 2236, f° 235.. Of course, the man does not in turn reveal his own identity; after having delivered the woman to the outskirts of Pontoise, he disappears for good. It remains to be seen what status we might grant to this incident. It bears a certain similarity to the apparition of Jesus to the disciples of Emmaus (Lk., 24 : 13-35), which clearly shows that accounts of miracles can indeed be rich in information concerning the everyday experience of religiosity; they also constitute a genre that has its own enunciative logic and employs a number of motifs of considerable longevity. Of course, the recurrence of such motifs poses no problem for the hagiographer. As we know, in the “hagiographic operation”, it is not so much singular originality that gives proof of veracity, but much more so the possibility of “novelty” being integrated into that which seems guaranteed by tradition; it is a déjà vu that reassures, and in so doing, authenticates what is saidMichel de Certeau, « Une variante: l’édification hagio-graphique », in Id., L’écriture de l’histoire, Paris, 1975, p. 274-288.
Naturally, the tradition to which these texts seek to adapt themselves can, to a certain degree, vary from one case to another. In that of Marie de l’Incarnation, it is clear that numerous of the motifs employed appeal to the Carmelite tradition, and in particular to the example of Teresa of Avila. Following the death of Marie de l’Incarnation, this was the perspective taken by Cardinal Bérulle, who linked the event, with the help of an admittedly ancient mythology, to the example of the foundress of the Order : “in the monastery where she died, […], the sisters, […], perceive an extraordinary odor like the one history has it was present after the passing of the Blessed Mother Teresa”Correspondance du Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle, éd. J. Dagens, t. I (1599-1618), Paris, 1937, p. 312 sq. (letter to Père Bertin 23 October 1618).. At the same time, it is also not coincidental that in the testimonies given in the process of Marie de l’Incarnation, visions are particularly frequent (much more frequent, for example, than in the contemporary investigations into with the life and miracles of François de Sales): again, homage is paid to teresian traditions, and in a larger sense, to those of feminine mystical sainthoodLetter to Père Bertin of 23 October 1618.
Such visions are not, however, the sole provenance of men and women religious. Even simple laypeople can be graced with visions, even if in certain cases, experiences of this type appear to integrate still other traditions. For example, a tailor in Pontoise, Marguerin Gobelin, saw himself cured in a vision by the touch of a wand given him by Marie de l’Incarnation, as if she were a good fairyCf. ASV, Congr. Riti, Processus 2236, f° 576r.. The topoi employed by these accounts are not, therefore, always unique to an autonomous hagiographic tradition. As can be seen, it is equally common that they are borrowed from the universe of the fairy tale. And if in the abovecited example such a topos is but a narrative detail, on other occasions the entire account may be affected. This is illustrated, for example, by the example of the noble spouse who suffers the brutal treatment of her husband with a patience so similar to that of Grisélidis that one scarcely doubts that the tale is the principal source of inspiration for the accountSee ibid., f° 399v-400v. For the story of Grisélidis, See Perrault, Contes, éd. G. Rouger, Paris, 1967, p. 17-46 ; for the versions previous to Perrault’s, see ibid., p. 12-13 ; Marc Soriano, Les contes de Perrault. Culture savante et traditions populaires, Paris, deuxième édition, 1977, p. 99-100..
It remains to be determined what rapport should be established between this type of account and historical experience. It is true that this last story had already appeared in the Life of Marie de l’Incarnation, and therefore stood every chance of having being “reworked” by biographer or by a previous hagiographerCf. A. Du Val, La vie admirable, op. cit., p. 89-91.. At the same time, one might postulate that the recurring motifs are frequent above all when the accounts are not linked to the practice of cults and to the miracles resulting from such practice, namely healings. Indeed, the story belongs to another genre of miraculous accounts that, while in the minority, is not absent from the miraculous blessings attributed to Marie de l’Incarnation, and could be labeled using the term protections. Protections that could also manifest themselves in reaction to maladies – this is the case for an entire group of devotees declaring themselves to have been spared by the plague while so many others around them had fallen ill – but as well be associated with other threats: accidents of all types, but also, as we have seen, a husband’s violence or the sinister consequences of a judicial defeat.
Without question, this type of story indeed lends itself to invasion by fiction, to the extent that certain types of protections, such as the liberation of prisoners, constitute a nearly autonomous narrative genreCf. František Graus, « Die Gewalt bei den Anfängen des Feudalismus und die ’Gefangenenbefreiung’ der merowingischen Hagiographie », Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 1961, p. 60-156 ; Michael Goodich, « Die wundersame Gefangenenbefreiung in mittelalterlichen Kanonisationsdokumenten », in D. R. Bauer et K. Herbers, éd., Hagiographie im Kontext. Wirkungsweisen und Möglichkeiten historischer Auswertung, Stuttgart, 2000, p. 69-84.. That said, searching the different types of miracles for the decisive criteria that would allow distinguishing fictions from “true” stories is hardly a promising undertaking. The topoi, “fairytale” or otherwise, are also found, as we have seen, in the accounts dealing with the “ordinary” practice of cults. At the same time, it seems of little use, really, to oppose “fiction” and “reality” in Manichean fashion. On the contrary, it is a question of looking more closely at the meaning that the appearance of the motif may have, beyond its affirmative function with regard to tradition.
At times this meaning is to be found in the particular signification that the motif in question takes on in the specific context in which it is used, which can lead, in certain cases, to a sort of genealogy of usage, such as it develops across the different eras. At other times, by contrast, it is precisely the constancy of the topos that appears revealing. Witness, for example, the curious testimony of a father, a “gentleman squire” who, confronted with his son’s affliction – a malady which, finally cured by miracle, had “led and reduced [the son] to such a state that it was generally agreed that he was soon to die” – can no longer bear to stay calmly at home when the tension reaches its peak. “And in fact the deponent is said to have left the house for fear of seeing him [his son] ”ASV, Congr. Riti 2233, f° 16v.. This behavior, strange as it may seem, is not however a singular occurrence. Another account presents to us the case of a lawyer from Paris who, unlike the squire, does not act alone, but is “dragged from his house by his friends”. The cause, however, is the same; it is “in order not to see the passing of his son [a boy of four to five years of age] because of the pain and [the] resentment it may have caused himIbid., f° 14r.”. This behavior is also not unique to men. We also find the example of a mother, a certain Mme de Champdenier, “who withdrew, away from her daughter, for fear of seeing her die”ASV, Congr. Riti 2235, f. 384r..
We find ourselves confronted with a phenomenon that is surely hard to classify as a mere narrative topos; it seems rather to be a typified behavior. It remains the case that this is indeed a recurring motif in accounts of miracles, and a longstanding one. It appears as early as the high Middle Ages, in Grégoire de Tours for example, and the tradition continues in the following centuriesGrégoire de Tours, De virtutibus Sancti Martini, éd. Société d’histoire de France, III, 51, p. 257, cited in Jean-Louis Flandrin, « L’attitude à l’égard du petit enfant et les conduites sexuelles », in Id., Le sexe et l’Occident. Evolution des attitudes et des comportements, Paris, Seuil, 1981, 151-216, ici p. 161 ; for later medieval occurrences, see Didier Lett, L’enfant des miracles. Enfant et société au Moyen Age (XIIe-XIIIe), Paris, 1997, p. 202.. On the other hand, I have found no references at all outside the genre of text that interests us. How, then, to explain this presence? Without a doubt, this motif does fulfill a precise function. Indeed, in the accounts of miracles, the details mentioned are only rarely recounted in a “disinterested” fashion, the main intent that inspires the telling of the events clearly being that of proving the veracity of the miraculous event. In the case of cures, it is principally a matter of taking account of the seriousness of the illness, and it is in this context that the motif that concerns us takes on its full meaning. Is the “anticipated mourning” of the father not clear proof of the child’s state of desperation (and that of his parents!), which in turn makes even more evident the effectiveness of the aid rendered by the celestial personage beseeched only after the fact? In any case, it is in this way that this behavior is transformed into a motif that recurs in accounts of miracles; and this is why it is documented in our source. Yet this motif has nothing legendary or “fairytale” about it; it has every reason to interest the historian of practices and representations. The “father’s love” may well express itself “in an egotistical manner that would not be admissible today”J.-L. Flandrin, art. cit., p.162. ; it is nonetheless a behavior that appears to align itself with a most longstanding tradition, even if it was not common to everyoneA study in which I will analyze in more depth the different occurrences of the motif and its possible significations is currently in preparation..
Without question, the miracles of Marie de l’Incarnation such as they are set down in the canonical proceedings constitute a highly significant testament, and document not only the religious fervor which, at the time of the Counter Reformation, reanimated the cult of saints. For the historian who studies them, these testimonies also have value in the field of historical anthropology; they make possible an analysis of the practices and representations related to the ills and cures of body and soul.
We believed that it would be of interest to our members to give them, following the presentation of Mr Burkardt, the concise account of a few of the miracles attributed to the Bienheureuse. This account is taken from a great admirer of Madame Acarie, Monseigneur Félix Dupanloup (1802-1878), bishop of Orléans from 1849, and his book Histoire de la Bienheureuse MARIE DE L’INCARNATION, dite dans le monde Madame Acarie, published in two volumes, in 1854 in Paris.
We shall limit ourselves to citing the three miracles that Pius VI approved before beatifying sister Marie de l’Incarnation. The exactitude which documents are examined in Rome is, of course, well known.
The first miracle is that bestowed upon Anne le Signé, a young girl of eight years of age, who was deaf and mute from birth. She lived in Paris with her parents. Her father, a leatherworker, was originally from Pontoise, and her mother, named Suzanne Cuvernon, was born there. Her grandmother, greatly afflicted by the state of her granddaughter, came from Pontoise to Paris to take her with her, and to pray a novena for her by the tomb of the Bienheureuse. The seventh day of this novena, while they were hearing the mass in the Church of the Carmelites, the young le Signe gained in an instant both speech and hearing.
The second miracle is that bestowed upon Hilaire Beauvain. He exercised the profession of turner in Noyon, and his probity earned him the general respect of all. From the age of sixteen, he had a dangerous ulcer in his right groin, and from the age of twenty-nine, he had an even more dangerous one just above his loins. This double affliction had been, for twenty years, seen as incurable. The patient was incapable of doing any kind of work, and his sole consolation was reading good books. Having heard a hermit speak of the miracles recounted in the Vie de la Soeur Marie de l’Incarnation, he wished to read it, and in doing so, he felt himself animated by a confidence in the Bienheureuse that he made a vow to travel to her tomb. No sooner had he made this vow but he was cured of the second ulcer, whose cure he had asked for first. Such a sudden stroke of grace led him to also ask for the cure of the first one, and right away he set out for Pontoise accompanied by his wife. As soon as he had returned home, he found himself completely cured of remaining ulcer, of which only a scar was then visible.
The third miracle is the one bestowed upon Jeanne Bertrand. She was the wife of Paul Béranger, a laborer from Cergy, a village located o ne league from Pontoise. For six years she had been plagued by severe rheumatism, which caused her to have ulcers on her right knee, a curved spinal column, and left her so powerless that she had to be put on a horse to go to mass. She became weaker every day, and as she was sixty years old, it appeared she would never be cured. A merchant from Pontose who had property in Cergy recommended she appeal to Sister Marie de l’Incarnation for protection, who had already obtained from God a number of miracles. She took this advice and was brought to the church of the Carmelites. She began a novena to the Bienheureuse, and the fourth day of this novena, while she was hearing the mass, she was completely cured. As soon as the inhabitants of the town were informed of this miracle, they flocked to see the person who had been its beneficiary. Father P. Colomban, a Jesuit who was in the church at the time, gave a most moving speech that Jeanne Bertrand listened to standing up without help. She lived another seven years, and in this span of time, she walked easily and was even able to perform work in the fields. [ In the Church of Saint Christopher in Cergy, a painting represents this miracle. On the left, Jeanne Bertrand arrives in Pontoise, bent over and on horseback. In the center, she is cured during the celebration of the mass at Carmel. On the right, she returns to Cergy on foot, while her husband leads the horse.]
Tome II, pp 413-415.