• “Always toward absent lovers, love's tide stronger flows": Spiritual lovesickness in the letters of Anne-Marie Martinozzi

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Berghahn, 2015-06-01)
      In February 1654 Anne-Marie Martinozzi, a niece of Cardinal Mazarin, married Armand de Bourbon, prince de Conti. The newly-weds went on to experience almost concurrent pious conversions that would transform their social behaviour for the remainder of their lives. Shortly afterwards, Armand was posted to Northern Italy as commander of the French army, necessitating a six-month estrangement of the couple between May and October 1657. This article explores a corpus of “love letters” penned by the princess during this separation. It argues that Anne-Marie not only claimed to be suffering from “melancholy” as a result of her separation from her lover and spouse, but that she also constructed an image of herself as spiritually lovesick on account of her deprivation from her mentor and confidant. In doing so, this article sheds light on the centrality of co-penitents to the direction of spiritual lives in the aftermath of a pious conversion.
    • Introspection and the Self in Early Modern Spiritual (Auto) Biography

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2020)
      This chapter will explore the intersections between memory, introspection and selfhood in spiritual biographical and autobiographical texts produced in France over the long eighteenth century. This chapter uses case studies from eighteenth-century France to destabilise teleological narratives surrounding the emergence of selfhood and subjectivity in the eighteenth century and its association with modernity and secularisation.
    • Lay Female Devotional Lives in the Counter Reformation

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Brill Academic Publishers, 2017-01-01)
      In 1563, the Catholic Church responded to the Protestant challenge to the religious life as the most holy feminine state with the maxim aut maritus aut murus (wife or wall). The navigation of that dictum by early modern women across Catholic Europe has arguably been one of the dominant themes in the scholarship over the last thirty years. Certainly, there had always been the opportunity for women to lead a religious life outside of marriage and the cloister as beatas, tertiaries and beguines. Yet it was after the Council of Trent (1545-63) that women had to renegotiate a space in the world in which they could lead spiritually-fulfilling devotional lives. If this was one unintended legacy of 1517, then the quincentenary of the Reformation seems a timely moment to reflect on new directions in the now burgeoning historiography on lay women in Counter-Reformation Europe.
    • Putting Faith to the Test: Anne de Gonzague and the Incombustible Relic

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (2014-01-01)
      This article explores the cognitive struggle against ‘doubt’ which impeded the conversion of a female aristocrat Anne de Gonzague, princesse Palatine, in seventeenth-century France. Anne’s conversion came only after a life-long intellectual battle which climaxed when she held a fragment of the True Cross in the fire to test whether it could withstand the flames. This article contends that the intellectual premise for her experiment with the holy relic can be found in her ‘conversion narrative.’ It offers a reading of the text which argues that it was Anne’s application of philosophical scepticism and the Cartesian method – to which she was exposed in the Scientific Academy of her physician Pierre Michon Bourdelot - to her own irreligion which actually brought about her conversion to orthodoxy. Anne’s ‘test’ of faith therefore compels us to rethink the relationship between the New Philosophy and faith in the seventeenth century.
    • St Pientia and the Château de la Roche-Guyon: Relic Translations and Sacred History in Seventeenth-Century France

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2017-05-26)
      This article seeks to explore the connections between the translation of an early Christian relic to the Château de la Roche-Guyon in the mid-seventeenth century and the writing of local sacred histories by the priest and prior Nicolas Davanne. It finds that the translation of a finger bone of St Pientia was the culmination of efforts by a local scholar to revive the sacred history of the Vexin and to celebrate the regional liturgical traditions associated with its early Christian martyrs. In doing so, it finds support for the recent historiography on local, sacred histories which emerged during the Counter-Reformation in response to liturgical standardization. The article also discusses the unstable nature of relics as material objects and explores the ways in which relics were continually reinvested with meaning. It is shown that Pientia’s relic was not only part of a defence of a local spiritual heritage in response to Trent, but also part of a claim to an early Christian spiritual heritage for a deviant and heretical movement within the Church.
    • Writing a Spiritual Biography in Early Modern France: The 'Many Lives' of Madeleine de Lamoignon

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Duke University Press, 2019-02-01)
      In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, four different spiritual biographers wrote the "life" of the recently deceased lay dévote, Madeleine de Lamoignon (1609-1687). Each of these authors was seeking to compose a spiritual biography - an account of Madeleine's devotional life - and they were all penned with the distant prospect of beatification or canonisation in mind. This article analyses these four retellings of Madeleine's life in order to excavate the process of writing vitae, and situates this within the broader context of lay spiritual biography in early modern France. It is argued here that a comparative exploration of Madeleine de Lamoignon's "lives" reveals different, and sometimes competing, conceptions of lay female sanctity in the Counter-Reformation era. Ultimately, the article contends that by turning our attention to neglected biographies of lay women, scholars might better understand how a life outside of the cloister could be reconciled with saintliness.