Mary of Oignies, Bl.

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Mystic; b. Nivelles, Brabant, 1177; d. Oignies, June 23, 1213. Married at 14, she persuaded her husband to distribute their possessions, to practice continence, and to assist her in nursing lepers in their house. Her mystical life, conversation, and miracles attracted so much attention that, with the consent of her husband, she moved to Oignies, where she could live under the direction of the Augustinian canons. James de Vitry, later cardinal, was her director and considered her his spiritual mother. Since he is a reliable witness of sober judgment, his account of her unusual gifts (which perhaps would now be called psychic) and of her miracles is not unworthy of credit. Mary is important with other mystics among the beguines in anticipating the change in Catholic devotion, which is usually associated with the franciscans, in particular the development of devotion to the Passion of Christ and to the Holy Eucharist.

Feast: June 23.

Bibliography: jacques de vitry, Vita, Acta Sanctorum June 5:547572. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston

and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:623626. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by the Benedictines of Paris, 12 v. (Paris 193556) 6:384386. Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 2:551617. i. geyer, Maria von Oignies: eine hochmittelalterliche Mystikerin zwischen Ketzerei und Rechtgläubigkeit (Frankfurt am Main 1992).

[m. j. barry]

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Mary of Oignies, Bl.

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