Théot, Catherine (d. 1794)

views updated

Théot, Catherine (d. 1794)

French visionary. Name variations: Catherine Theot. Born at Barenton (Manche); died in prison on September 1, 1794.

A French visionary, born at Barenton (Manche), Catherine Théot was a youthful victim of hallucinations. Following a long period of religious asceticism in the convent of the Miramiones in Paris, she suffered from dementia and was placed under restraint. After she was freed in 1782, her early delusions accelerated. Théot, convinced that she was chosen to be the mother of the new Messiah, described to her followers the coming of Paradise on earth. She was soon hailed as the "Mother of God." As the revolution in France began to ignite, the Théotists saw the redeemer of humankind in Robespierre. The enemies of Robespierre, resenting his theocratic aims, seized upon this news and saw in it a chance for revenge. When Théot was arrested and imprisoned, a letter to Robespierre was discovered in her house. In the Convention, M.G.A. Vadier advanced a conspiracy, asserting that Catherine Théot was a tool of England's William Pitt and that the mumblings of the Théotists only served to disguise clerical intrigue; he also insinuated that Robespierre was in favor of the schemes. The case was adjourned to the Revolutionary Tribunal and figured in the proceedings of the 9th Thermidor. Though the Théotists were ultimately acquitted, Catherine Théot died in prison on September 1, 1794.

About this article

Théot, Catherine (d. 1794)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article