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Eleven days in the life of Pascal: 1656, the miracle of the Holy Thorn


FIGARO SPECIAL ISSUE (8/11) - Pascal's great-niece, a boarder at Port-Royal, is miraculously cured of a lachrymal ulcer.

This article is taken from the

Figaro Hors-Série Blaise Pascal, the heart and the reason.

The scandal of the


resounded even within the walls of the abbey of Port-Royal des Champs.

Unlike Pascal, hidden behind his anonymity and the puppet signatures of EAABPAFDEP and Louis de Montalte, the nuns of Port-Royal are on the front line.

Mother Angélique Arnauld is reserved: "

I have no doubt that what you have sent is very beautiful," she wrote to Pascal, "but the question is whether silence at this time would not be even more beautiful and more pleasing to God, who is better appeased by tears and penance than by eloquence, which amuses more people than it converts.


Pascal, however, does not let his guard down.

He continues to publish one letter after another, deploying his eloquence in a duel of arguments whose effectiveness unleashes the fury of his adversaries.

A very unexpected event will strengthen him in his fight.

Marguerite Périer, his niece and goddaughter, nine years old and boarder at Port-Royal in Paris, had suffered for more than three years from a purulent lacrimal ulcer, so serious that it had decayed the bone of the nose, inflicting on the unfortunate one to give off such a stench that she had to be separated from her comrades, bothered by the smell.

The surgeon Dalencé, reputed to be the most skilful in Paris, had deemed the disease incurable, except perhaps by applying a blade of fire to the wound, to which Florin Périer, the child's father, did not. wanted to resolve.

But the evil worsened... It was then that, on the eve of the terrible operation, on Friday March 24, 1656, around four o'clock in the afternoon, the mistress of the boarders,

Sister Catherine of Sainte-Flavie had the idea of ​​bringing the young Marguerite the relic of a thorn from the Holy Crown of Christ.


My daughter, pray for your eye

,” she told him, as she made him touch the relic.

Immediately afterwards, the little girl whispered to one of her companions: “

I think I am cured.

All traces of evil had indeed disappeared.

Called back, the surgeon Dalencé remained “

in extreme astonishment

”, and exclaimed, after having examined the patient: “

There was never a miracle, if not one.


Read alsoThe editorial of Le Figaro Hors-série: Blaise Pascal, a man for eternity

Overwhelmed by this sign, Pascal sees in it, in addition to the goodness of God for his goddaughter, a divine approval for the doctrine of Port-Royal.

This place which is said to be the temple of the devil, God makes it his temple.

It is said that the children must be removed from it, God heals them there.

It is said to be the arsenal of hell, God makes it the sanctuary of his graces

,” he wrote in



This miracle happened at the precise moment when the king and Mazarin ordered the dispersal of the Solitaires de Port-Royal and the closure of the Petites Écoles des Champs.

At the head of Port-Royal Abbey, Mother Angélique urged her sisters to exercise prudence and humility.

She wrote to the mistress of the boarders: “

Do not desire so much, my very dear sister, that the miracle put an end to the persecution that we are suffering, than that which we are making the truth suffer by not conforming our actions to it.

That if we were truly faithful to him, God would not be obliged, as he is by his justice, to make his truth suffer in order to chastise us.

To the Queen of Poland, she wrote on May 5, 1656:

we don't know if God wanted to make use of this miracle, but it seems that they are softening up for us.

They have allowed my brother d'Andilly to return, and there is no longer any talk of taking away our confessors.

Finally, it is a truce that God gives us, to prepare us to suffer better, when it pleases him that the storm begins again


It will not take long, indeed, to start again.

During a Lenten sermon, a Jesuit in the pulpit is ironic about the meaning of the miracle of the Holy Thorn.

It is perhaps of him that Pascal thinks, when he writes in his


 : “

Ubi est deus tuus?

Miracles show it and are a flash.

On March 17, 1657, the Assembly of the Clergy of France required priests and religious to sign an anti-Jansenist form, a few days before the last Provincial was broadcast.

On September 6, 1657,

Les Provinciales

was put on the Index.

When Pascal learns of it, he fulminates this line addressed to the Jesuits:

If what I say does not serve to enlighten you, it will serve the people.

If these are silent, the stones will speak.

(…) The Inquisition and Society: the two scourges of truth.

(…) If my


are condemned in Rome, what I condemn there is condemned in heaven.

For more than a year, Pascal has been sealing his letters with a stamp in the shape of a sky surrounded by a crown of thorns.

And he adopted this motto: "

Scio cui credidi

", "

I know in whom I believed


Blaise Pascal, heart and reason

, 164 pages, €13.90, available on newsstands and on

Le Figaro Store


Cover after the posthumous portrait of Blaise Pascal by François II Quesnel, after 1662 Figaro-Hors-Série

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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