Stock, Nuns

La Vie de Soeur Marguerite du S. Sacrement, Religieuse Carmelite du Monastere de Beaune

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[AMELOTE, Denis]
Paris, Petit
US$ 1,650.00
FIRST EDITION OF THE LIFE OF A STIGMATIC NUN, NEVER BEATIFIED. Thick 8vo. (40), 744 pp, (12). Bound in contemporary calf; rebacked at an early date, with remains of original spine laid on. Unobtrusive dampstain to outer margin of a few preliminary and final leaves; otherwise a crisp copy. Early ownership inscription of a certain “Madame Lorcet” on pastedown. Rare first edition, published just six years after Soeur Marguerite’s death at the tender age of 28. “Notwithstanding the strict enclosure of the Carmelite order, [Marguerite] had developed a widespread reputation as a visionary with divine gifts of prophecy and healing… for two days before the funeral, crowds of mourners had pressed a team of Oratorian priests to touch some 20,000 rosaries to Marguerite's corpse so that each might be a tangible reminder of her spiritual gifts” (Cupples, “Catholic Women and the Communication of Relics in Seventeenth-Century France”). Amelote’s Vie was one of two separate biographies appearing in the same year of this beloved nun; but despite the contemporary popularity of her relics, she was declared Venerable only in 1873 and remains unbeatified to this day. “From earliest childhood, Margaret gave proof of external virtue as an ecstatica of the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of five, she received her first vision of the Child Jesus. She went on to enter the Carmelite order at the age of eleven and was professed on June 24, 1634, taking the name of Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament. This holy soul was said to have received the stigmata at the age of thirteen. After joining the Carmelites, Margaret was afflicted with convulsions, rigidity in her limbs, and a constant feeling of fear and oppression. Doctors were called to perform a useless operation that left her with lifelong head pain. Her mother superior decided she was under demonic attack and cured her by prayer. Soon after this, Margaret started to have visions and to fall into ecstasies during prayers. She began to relive the mysteries of the life of Our Lord as each came up in the liturgical calendar.” (Graham, Revelation, Mystical Phenomena, and Divine Promises). “The young Carmelite originated a devotion to Christ's childhood, deepening the Christocentric theology of Pierre de Bérulle by requiring the annihilation of the (adult) self and the embrace of a childlike simplicity and humility toward God. Already a subject of discussion among the Carmelites and the Order's clerical superiors, Marguerite's mystical spirituality attracted more attention as she came to envision a close connection between the new devotion and the fortunes of the French monarchy; the Carmel of Beaune preserves the memory of a rapture in 1632 when Marguerite simultaneously received the grace of participating in the holy childhood and heard Christ calling on her to aid Louis XIII by praying for a Dauphin…” (Cupples). The BnF catalogue mistakenly transcribes the date of their edition as 1650, but no 1650 edition in fact exists; instead, the work was reprinted in 1655 (as held at the BnF, visible in their scans). OCLC shows four US copies of this first edition: Yale, St Louis, JHU, and the Carmelitana Collection in Washington, DC. * cf Cynthia Cupples, “’Plus que l'exemple de ses saintes vertus’: Catholic Women and the Communication of Relics in Seventeenth-Century France,” Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, Vol 31 (2003), pp. 17-32.