Thursday, September 27, 2012

Abbess Jane, Angels, and Bowing Statues

Ruins of Clair-Fontaine with 19th century chapel (source).

The Menology tends to be very matter-of-fact about its miraculous events.  Today’s reading includes the life of Jane (Jeanne) of Clair-Fontaine:

In the Duchy of Luxembourg, Blessed Jane, Abbess of Clair-Fontaine, of noble lineage, nobler still by her virtuous piety, who often had the privilege of beholding the angels, and was on terms of sweet intimacy and familiarity with the glorious Mother of God.  Under the portal of the monastic church was a stone statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom the good Abbess Jane never failed to offer her homage, and which very often bowed to return her salutation.

Located just across the modern border of Belgium, Clair-Fontaine was sited near a miraculous spring discovered by St. Bernard in the previous century. (Cistercians had more connections with miraculous springs than the modern accounts of the Order tend to let on.) The abbey, chartered in 1247, was built as a necropolis for members of the family of its founder, Ermesinde de Luxembourg, daughter of Henri IV of Luxembourg, and was to be staffed by nuns of noble blood.  Jane was the second abbess.