august 17. jeanne delanoue, the pig wife of christ
Patron saint of ???
Lived 1666 - 1736
Jeanne was a bad child, described as prideful, avaricious, egotistical, self-centered, greedy, and ill-tempered. At 25 or 27, after her mother's death, she became the proprietress of the family store, located near the shrine of Notre Dame des Ardilliers. In addition to a statue and a church, the shrine featured a fountain that "was said to have been used in ancient times for pagan sacrifices." Scandalously, Jeanne kept the store open on Sundays to "make bank" off of pilgrims. Differing accounts frame her as either enterprising/entrepreneurial or selfish and money-grubbing.
During the Pentecost season of 1693 or 1698, Jeanne had two mystic experiences: a vision and "a series of pious exhortations by Frances Souchet, a widowed pilgrim from Rennes." Alternatively, Frances simply "invited [Jeanne] to consecrate herself." Others say it was "the Holy Spirit" who "extinguished the fires of her avarice" and made her give up her business to turn to the poor.
Following her conversion, Jeanne ministered to "those who lived like animals" as well as orphans and single mothers and prostitutes. She housed survivors of earthquakes, famine, and severe winters in"nasty little caves" along the banks of the River Loire. She practiced ongoing fasting and suffered short and uncomfortable nights. Jeanne grew so dirty that her superiors referred to her as "the pig of Jesus Christ." All the while, Jeanne became "exceptionally inflamed with the love of Jesus, her spouse."
A children's comic strip sums up Jeanne's post-conversion attitude thusly: "Some people thought Jeanne was just pretending to be generous, but she didn't care."