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Adam of Perseigne


Cistercian abbot, spiritual writer; b. Champagne; d. Perseigne, 1221. After entering the clerical state, Adam received an excellent education in philosophy and theology. He was first attached to the court of the Count of Champagne as chaplain and confessor of Countess Marie. The chronology of Adam's life is uncertain but it is generally assumed that he successively joined the Canons Regular, the Benedictines of marmoutier, and finally the Cistercians at pontigny, where he served as master of novices. In 1188 he was elected abbot of Perseigne near Alençon. Adam's public career reached its climax in the service of Innocent III. In 1199 he mediated the feud over royal succession following the death of King Richard I, the Lionhearted. In 1200 he participated in the organization of the Fourth Crusade (see crusades); in 1203 he arbitrated the disputed episcopal election at Reims; and in 1208 he acted as peacemaker between philip ii augustus of France and King john of England. He was venerated in his abbey as blessed. Much of Adam's literary work has been lost. The surviving portion consists of letters of spiritual guidance and of sermons on the Blessed Virgin or on various scriptural passages. He was a master of medieval Latin style, was well acquainted with the Bible and with patristic and Cistercian sources such as the works of St. Bernard and St. Aelred. He was warm, sympathetic, and sincere, a man of piety and practical wisdom.

Bibliography: Sources. Lettres (Sources Chrétiennes 66; Paris 1960-) v.1, Texte latin, introduction, traduction et notes, ed. j. bouvet; Patrologia Latina 211:579779. j. bouvet, "Correspondance d'Adam, Abbé de Perseigne, 11881221," Archives Historiques du Maine 13 (1953) 10160. Literature. l. t. merton, "La Formation monastique selon Adam de Perseigne," Collectanea ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 19 (1957) 117. j. bouvet, "Biographie d'Adam de Perseigne," Collectanea ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 20 (1958) 1626. b. lohr, "The Philosophical Life According to Adam of Perseigne," Collectanea ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum 24 (1962) 22542; 25 (1963) 3143. a. mignon, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 1:38788. l. calendini, Dictionnaire d'historie et de géographie ecclésisastiques 1:48890. a. le bail, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire 1:198201.

[l. j. lekai]

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