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Furneria of Mirepoix (fl. 13th c.)

Furneria of Mirepoix (fl. 13th c.)

French Albigensian. Flourished in the 13th century in France; married William Roger also known as Guillaume-Roger, count of Mirepoix.

Furneria of Mirepoix was an Albigensian leader in the 13th century. Born into the nobility of southern France, she married Guillaume-Roger, lord of Mirepoix, and became involved in a heretical movement sweeping southern France. Called Albigensianism, or Catharism, this radical sect anticipated many facets of the Protestant Reformation. Its adherents denied the truth of the Trinity, materialism, and the rituals of the Catholic service and perhaps, even more radically, preached an equality between the sexes. Women could become sect leaders, if they studied hard enough, and could then achieve the status of perfecta, the "perfect one" whom other believers had to serve. Lady Furneria achieved the title of perfecta and used her wealth to support and protect other Albigensians of fewer means, including providing refuge for them in her castles when Cathars were condemned as heretics.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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