rious Christian races frequently expired. The last scion of a noble family used to convert his ancestral castle into a monastery, hoping to secure the perpetuity of the house in a spiritual progeny, when on the spot whence earthly combatants had once issued forth with spear and shield, the heavenly combatants armed themselves with prayer. The lords of Cappenberg thus acted, “Castrum Cappenbergense in claustrum convertentes, et militiam sæcularem in militiam spiritualis exercitii commutantes*." So also the blessed Otho, a Minor, was the last of the noble family of Riettenburg when he renounced the world to serve God in great poverty in the monastery of Walderpac in Bavaria, founded by his ancestors †. It was to such asylums also that those great personages retired whom the ebbing sea of worldly grandeur threatened to leave stranded in desertion. Thus, after the death of her husband, Henry III., Eleonora Plantagenet retired to France, and took the veil at Montargis, in a convent of sisters of St. Dominick, founded by a sister of the earl of Leicester. But in modern times an historian of Henry IV. describes a more striking instance. "The court," he says, "was astonished when the marchioness de Belle-Isle, on the death of her husband, retired with such little noise from Brittany to enter the monastery of the Fueillantines, at Tholouse. Generous resolution in a lady of that illustrious house of Longueville, one of the first in France, allied with the Bourbons! The love of God took such root in her heart, that all earthly interests were excluded. She could neither think of the base world, nor speak of that world, nor remain in that world, feeling how difficult it was for her to be in that world without belonging to it; and that she was not made for such a world but to die in it to all dead things, to live truly and immortally to God. The difficulties to her resolution were great,-great in her house, greater on the journey, and very great even on her arrival. On her way she met the bishop of Bayonne, who did not know her, but thought that she was some lady who had no other object but the pursuit of her affairs in the parliament of Tholouse. On the third day, discovering who she was, and what was her intention, he wrote immediately to the first president of the parliament of Tholouse, to hinder her from pursuing her purpose, and to prohibit the Fueillantines from receiving her; but she had taken her measures so well against all accidents, that she was beforehand with those who sought to detain her. Her brothers followed her, and returned only with astonishment at her resolution. She appeared as content at her change of life as a mariner on being saved from the tempest. She prayed

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them to take no more thought for her, since in so perfect a state of felicity she had no need of any thing in the world. Thus,' concludes this historian, “can divine love accomplish all things*.” Monastic history abounds with instances of illustrious families ending in the cloister. The daughters of Dante died nuns in Verona. I like this conclusion," says Ampère, looking at the poetical and even worldly side of such actions. Respectability," he continues, "is a mean thing after glory. There is but one way of retiring from the latter. It is to humble oneself before the paternal renown, and to exclaim with Hippolyte,

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"Et moi, fils inconnu d'un si glorieux père.'

But the obscurity of the cloister does not ill accord with a name surrounded with the respect of posterity. Such a name hides itself nobly in the holy shades of the sanctuary. It is not descending from glory to raise oneself to God t." Whatever may be thought of such views, the fact is sufficiently remarkable. As the Loire and the Rhine lose their respective names and their forms when they fall into the ocean, so we find great individuals associated with the noblest themes of history, delivered from their names and their forms by entering into this life of religion which Catholicism provides for those who have reason so to lose themselves, without a wish to avoid that lot; as at Fontevrault, which had for abbesses fourteen princesses of the blood-royal, and when so many royal generations slept that it used to be called the cemetery of kings; and as at the Carmelites in Paris, where persons of the most illustrious name are only commemorated by their religious title,--a Gontault de Biron as Mother Anne of St. Joseph, a La Tour d'Auvergne de Bouillon as Sister Emilie of the Passion, a D'Arpajon as Sister Mary of the Cross, a Stuart, of whom Madame de Sevigné speaks, as Sister Marguerite of St. Augustin. In the archives of that house nothing else is added but the number and year of profession, the year and the place of decease. Most of its inhabitants have left no other trace, as only some few are faintly sketched in the manuscripts of the convent. "It is in trembling," says the circular, "that we dare to add a few details respecting this dear sister, who obtained for our houses from the king such great alms; for she entreated, and by her confessor commanded, me to insert nothing but her age and death, and not even to mention that this rule was adhered to at her request." Then of another we read, "If I durst record them, I could have many edifying things to relate, but her repeated entreaties compel me

Pierre Mathieu, Hist. de Hen. IV. 367. + Ampère, Voyage Dantesque.

to silence ;" and again of another, "Her humility forces me to silence according to her last request, offered in presence of the community *." In such houses the lines of Alanus have a sublime application :—


"Apparet phantasma viris, sed rursus ab illis
Vertitur in nihilum, quod fuit ante nihil;
Sic et adest et abest fugitivi gloria mundi
Non prius adventat quam quasi somnus eat +."

There is, therefore, here a signal pointing to the centre in Catholicism, when we consider the number of the great and good who, in all ages, have found consolation and peace in the institutions which it has founded. Let us recal to mind some few of these instances. Passing over the examples of Roman senators and of noble ladies of the first ages of Christianity, observe what later generations furnished. On the fall of Pepin Didier, king of the Lombards, obtaining his life, and being confined by imperial orders in the monastery of Corbie, religion there and through that holy institution consoled him for the loss of his crown. Thassilo, duke of Bavaria and king of Lombardy, found in his misfortunes a similar resource in the abbey of Laurissa, where he became a monk. He was a son of Charlemagne's sister, and had been always a generous founder of religious houses, and a defender of widows and orphans. By his uncle he was made king of the Langobards, but subsequently, having rebelled against him, and being defeated in battle, he was seized, and, it is said, blinded, by being placed between two burning mirrors, and allowed to go where he wished. He then came to the Benedictine monastery of Laurissa in the habit of a poor stranger, and there he remained till his death unknown. It is said that after many years his uncle Charlemagne came to the monastery, and one night, saying his prayers in the church according to his custom, he saw the blind brother led by an angel from altar to altar, and that the next morning he told what he had seen to the abbot, and asked him who was that brother; but that the abbot assured him he knew not ‡. Henry, nephew of Albert, duke of Austria, found a similar asylum in the Order of Mercy. He took arms on his uncle's side when he maintained his election as king of the Romans, and being surrounded in battle by a squadron of cavalry, and thrown to the ground, and then ridden over, he was left for dead on the field. At midnight, recovering from his swoon, and finding himself among the dead and dying, he had strength, by dawn of day, to

* Cousin, Mdme de Longueville.

Lib. Parabol. Alani.

Raderus, Bavaria Sancta, i. 84.

crawl to an eminence and survey the scene, when God, opening the eyes of his soul, he resolved to make a pilgrimage to St. James to evince his gratitude for his escape. From Compostella he proceeded to Montserrat; but, falling sick at Perpignan, the blessed Virgin, clad in the mantle of the Order of Mercy, was said to have appeared to him and invited him to take that habit in the convent there. The next morning, finding himself restored to health, he proceeded to the house indicated, and after disclosing his vision, received the habit. There did this great prince live and die as the blessed father Henry of Austria *. We have another of these examples in James the Conqueror, king of Arragon, who, through regret at the defeat of his army by the Moors of Valencia, resigned the crown to his son, took the Cistercian habit, and vowed to pass the rest of his life in the monastery of Pueblo, where he chose his sepulture. But no instance was more celebrated than that of king Rodrick. The concordant account of the Romanceros, that, having escaped from the battle, he died later in a hermitage, is generally credited t. The relation which begins with

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proceeds in these terms: "After leaving Spain, the king Don Rodrick wandered on whither chance directed him. He took to the mountains, to be most secure from the Moors. He met a shepherd tending his flock: Tell me, good man,' said he, 'is there any habitation near where I can find rest, for I am spent with fatigue.' In vain,' he replied, you look for one in this desert, there is only a hermitage where a man of God lives. Take this bread and this piece of smoked meat to support you on your way.' The shepherd then directed him to the hermitage. The sun was setting when he left him, and he walked on till he found the spot. On arriving at it he knelt down, and thanked God, and then accosted the hermit, who asked what brought him there? I am the unhappy Rodrick, once a king, I am come to do penance with you. Be not displeased, but for the sake of God and of St. Mary receive me.' The hermit astonished said, 'Certes you have chosen the right road for your salvation, God will pardon you."" Pierre Mathieu relates an instance of retreat in comparatively modern times, less memorable, indeed, than the last, but which at the time excited the admiration of the world. Speaking of Henry, duc de Joyeuse, mareschal de France, and of his conversion, he observes how strange in general all such changes are. "The passage," he says, "from temporal to spiritual warfare is very

* Hist. de l'Ordre de la Mercy, 251.

† Damas Hinard, Romancero.

difficult. A man will go boldly to the breach, who, in this spiritual combat, plays the poltroon, though he may have only to make head against a small handful of little thoughts. What a contrast," he continues, "between the proud duke and the humble Capuchin! Yesterday all splendour and ambition; today wrapped in a patched cowl. Yesterday, disputing precedence with the duke of Vantadour in the session of the states of Languedoc; to-day, content to walk after the last of the hooded friars. As soon as he received the answer of the general of the order from Rome, he settled his affairs, and for the last time entering his carriage, passed from the Hotel du Bonchage to the convent. The door is opened to him; it is closed to his attendants; and he put off with his dress all the vanities of the world. Then who like him when he appeared in churches? Who ever drew more breathless attention? No lute was ever sweeter than his tongue; and in the opinion of a great observer of the time, he was greater and more honoured in that abasement than he had ever been in all the grandeur of his former condition. His example reminded the great, who thought only and always of the earth, that early in life men must sometimes think also of heaven, speak of heaven, and look towards heaven, if they wish ever to enter heaven. Every one listened to him with a good disposition, because his actions corresponded with his words *." William of Newbury alludes to a similar example as to an event, in his age by no means uncommon: I remember," he says, "when I was a youth to have seen a certain venerable monk coming from the parts of the East, who had formerly been in the army of Raimund, prince of Antioch, of whom he related great wonders t." Bede speaks of one who, after being the minister of king Eegfrid, became a monk, and used to be seen "winnowing corn with the monks, leading the flocks, working in the garden and kitchen, rejoicing to exercise cheerful obedience." St. Kentigern, afterwards raised to an episcopal chair, had been the cook of a monastery, and he was of the royal family of Scotland. The highest magistrates were often seen to seek the asylum of a religious house. Thus, in 1426, Clopton, knight and lord chief-justice of England, renounced, with all its honours, the world, and for the love of Jesus Christ entered into the poor and penitential order of St. Francis, in which he persevered religiously to the end of his life §. Similarly Don Francis Aranda, judge of Arragon, under the kings John and Martin, a man eminently

• Hist. de Hen. IV. liv. ii.

+ Guil. Neub. Rer. Anglic. i. 20.
Hist. Abb. Wiremuth.

§ Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica, 197.

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