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The life of Saint Marie-Madeleine

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Localisation: Salisbury, Clifton

MessagePosté le: Ven Avr 11, 2008 3:42 am    Sujet du message: The life of Saint Marie-Madeleine Répondre en citant

The life of MARIE-MADELEINE of SAINTE BAUME (1266 - ?)

1. The youth of Marie-Madeleine

Marie-Madeleine was born on June 6, 1266 in Saint Maximin in Provence in a small convent outside the city.
Her mother, Sister Marie-Thérèse took care of the ordering and taking delivery of the food for the community of the nuns.
The birth of Marie-Madeleine within the convent raised many questions regarding the vow of chastity of her mother, multiple investigations were conducted but no proof of culpability whatsoever was proved.

Sister Marie-Thérèse assured that she had not had physical contact with the local baker, who was only suspect because he was the only man who made deliveries to the convent: the sister was acquitted for lack of proof, but the doubt persisted.
The case was closed and it was decided that Sister Marie-Thérèse would raise her daughter in secrecy

The education of Marie-Madeleine thus took place in the confines of the small kitchen and the small administration office where her mother worked.
The learning of food management, its correct use and its fair Distribution among the sisters was her main occupation during the first fifteen years of her existence.
Marie-Madeleine knew an immense number of recipes, from olive salads to fig cakes and then goat stews, and worked miracles when making the accounts:
indeed she handled the figures with ease, thus her mother entrusted the total responsibility of their management to her daughter, without speaking about it to anyone.

2. The exile of Marie-Madeleine

The day of her fifteen birthday, the small community of the convent came to a decision for the future of Marie Madeleine. She could not decently become one of their sisters, the latent jealousy, for so many years, against Marie-Thérèse was so strong as none of them would ever have accepted it: why would she be the only one to be able to procreate and not they?
Thus, it was decided to banish from the convent the poor girl, She did not imagine that there was so much hate towards her. The sisters considered that at 15 years, and with her useful knowledge, the unfortunate would be able to survive this situation.

One moonless night in the summer of 1281, Marie-Madeleine was thus driven outside the convent by two sisters. She was made to swear an oath to never say to anyone from where she came and to never return to the convent under penalty of being publicly humiliated. The two sisters brought her on the back of a donkey until they arrived at the mountain of Saint Baume and deposited her with a few things and a small bundle of provisions, then without saying a word they returned to the convent.

The first night of Marie-Madeleine, alone in the shadow of the massive mountain of Saint-Baume, was long and full of bitterness. But on the following day she passed over the top and went away northwards. This was the only acceptable destination without some difficulties.
After some days of walking she arrived in the small village of Correns.
She discussed with some locals in the tavern, who told her that the Lord of Correns was looking for a cook; thus she went to the Castle Gibron where the Lord lived and obtained without any difficulty the management of the kitchens: she needed only a few minutes to compose a salad which exhilarated the taste buds of the Lord, there was no question of the person he should hire.

3. The success of Marie-Madeleine

Her age could had been a handicap, but she had been able to adapt herself and she became an important figure of the castle with her culinary talents inherited from her mother. The delicious plates she was cooking for the Lord and his entourage made her soon became very popular and many curious persons were coming each day with hope to taste what the Marie-Madeleine prepared.
Her master, the Lord, was happy to see such a crowd coming to visit his castle, but was afraid about how much it would cost to satisfy their appetite. So he asked Marie-Madeleine to create a little pastry that would be cheap but very tasteful too, a little cake to be known all over the world, so the Lord could sell it and make a substantial profit.

Marie-Madeleine, being the culinary expert that she was, did not take much time to find a solution. The pastry she created was easy to make and economic but exquisite such was the small cake which she invented. It was shaped as a shell, of gilded colour. The pastry soon became very popular so, the Lord, to honour his maidservant, named the cake «Madeleine».

4. The disappointment of Marie-Madeleine

More and more people came to Correns to discover the Madeleine of the Saint-Baume. Marie-Madeleine did not go out of her kitchen, because she had to cook Madeleine and despite the help of all her boys and girls assisting her, she had only a little rest: the castle cookers was no longer a secret, for her and her success was henceforth renowned. But the need of Marie Madeleine's gratitude and her desire to satisfy the others did not bring her luck. Indeed, because she was the only one to succeed in the making of the cake and because she depended on the willingness of her master, she remained shut up almost thirty years in the kitchen of the Castle Gibron.
During this period she was never able to go outside, she never had the pleasure to meet a single admirer of madeleines except her host who checked the quality of her work, she never was able to return to the convent of Saint Maximin in order to prove to the sisters of what she was able to do all along, she never again saw her mother…

She prayed to the Most High and to Aristotle, but the prayers were not heard during these long thirty years. Her name was known of all but nobody had seen her, and those who had seen the face when she arrived at Correns could not recall how she looked, so long had it been a long since she had last appeared in broad daylight. Some rumours began to circulate about her, some people thought for example that Marie-Madeleine had never existed and that the Lord of Correns was a sorcerer who bewitched the visitors with her poisoned cakes. Besides, this rumour was the one which broke Marie-Madeleine's isolation. Her absence started to cost her master his reputation, the sale of madeleines began to decrease: everybody wanted to see the one who cooked them. The attention was only attracted on her and no more on her cakes or her master. Then the Lord of Correns gave in the pressure and organized a presentation.

5. The escape of Marie-Madeleine

There were many people who came to attend the presentation ceremony of Marie Madeleine on the 12th of December, 1311: the yard of the Castle Gibron was overcrowded and there were a lot of people all around, invading every nook of Correns. Marie-Madeleine had difficulty to overcome her fear of meeting her admirers and had to stay awake all night to pray in order to draw her strength. Her master had felt her fear, and thinking of his own interests he had posted guards in front of the kitchen where she had her bed in order to prevent her from slipping away from the ceremony. Undoubtedly he should have let her stay away because the next day when she saw the audience during the ceremony, she was submerged by dismay: all were obese! Young and old, men and women, rich and poor, all had a deformed and fat body.

Marie-Madeleine understood suddenly that this phenomenon had been caused by its own madeleines delightfully made with quite fatty butter. But it was too late to return now; these persons had eaten it so much! She became aware of the situation and managed to flee from Correns while running with all the energy she had with their stomach full of cakes, her pursuers forsook their pursuit and they never again spoke about Marie-Madeleine.

6. The inquiry of the Teutonic Order into Marie-Madeleine

About fifty years later, members of the Teutonic Order caught wind of this story and being intrigued decided to look more closely into it. After having opened an investigation, having interviewed the inhabitants of Correns and having consulted the archives of the Castle Gidron, they came to an opinion that the missing person should be thought of as an example of an Aristotelian. Abandoned by the sisters of the convent where she was born, in spite of this she succeed to be known through all the Kingdoms. Confined illegally in her kitchen by her master, she did her utmost for thirty long years to supply to her admirers some delicious madeleines by making the ultimate sacrifice. She lived through her creations to bring happiness.

She gave proof of friendship and self-sacrifice by devoting herself to the preparation of her famous cakes; of conservation by finding the means to subsist, of temperance by accepting her condition and by obeying her master, of justice by trying to make the most madeleines as possible in order that all should have some, of pleasure while doing what she liked i.e. to cook and of conviction by believing that to act such as she did she would make the world better, and during all this time the admirers of madeleines sinned in excess!
The Lord of Correns first of all: selfish man because he thought only of his own wealth and an envious person because he appropriated all Marie Madeleine's merits. But the admirers of madeleines were not innocent either: selfish men because they thought only about madeleines and not of Marie-Madeleine, greedy because they stuffed themselves with these cakes and followers of the lechery by abusing pleasures of the flesh.

The punishment was general: the Lord of Correns lost his single source of income and prestige and all those who misused madeleines were filled with remorse and full of regrets. The poor maid Marie-Madeleine, seeing the disastrous consequences of the excessive use of her creation, had reacted logically by running away that day from there. But she did not leave without leaving something: it is necessary to know that she had succeeded in theorizing mathematically the technique used with her whip to prepare the pastry for the madeleines: v = (Im (f *) df / dx) / |f ¦ ², now there are many carpenters in all the kingdoms who have engraved this formula on oars, nobody knows why it was necessary to make on an oar but the fact remains that it was the case. When Marie-Madeleine ran away from the Castle Gibron, all these oars vanished and the formula was forgotten by all! Then, around thirty years later, certain persons witnessed a strange phenomenon: one oar appeared at night at home (at random), and the formula was always engraved upon it. Only Aristotle can have a sufficient logic to comprehend and understand this phenomenon, does the Lord wish that the madeleines come back in order to test a second time the human beings?

7. Marie - Madeleine's cave

An expedition was thus sent on the 24th of April, 1362 around Correns in order to find where Marie-Madeleine had been able to go to hide. Saint-Baule Mountain was combed, and after several months of unsuccessful searches the expedition stumbled upon an isolated cave, in a discreet steep slope of the mountain. In the depths of the cave they found a skeleton.
They analysed it for a long time and succeed to determine that it was that of a woman. Then by searching the cave a little bit more, they discovered the vestiges of a kitchen with cake pan with a shell form, exactly identical to those preserved in the wing "Marie-Madeleine" of the museum of Correns, as well as an oar with the above obscure inscription.
It was an obvious inference and was thus it was easily and unanimous deduced. They were indeed in possession of the body of Marie-Madeleine of Sainte-Baume!
There will be soon one century since the oars return, the greatest mathematicians are working and trying to decipher this formula.
Former Bishop of Clifton
Former Roman Cardinal-Elector and Prélate Plénipotentiary
Former Cardinal Chamberlain of England, Scotland, and Ireland
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