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Remember the Ladies: Catherine Cadière


Catherine Cadière, or Marie-Catherine Cadière, (12 November 1709 in Toulon, year of death unknown), was an alleged French witch. The trial of Catherine Cadiére in 1731 is one of the most famous of its kind in French history, and have been referred to many times in literature, notably in the pornographic novel Thérèse Philosophe.

Catherine Cadiére was born to a merchant, whose health was ruined by the plague in 1720, and lived under the guardianship of her mother and brothers. She was interested in mysticism and religion, and became deeply influenced by the Jesuit Jean-Baptiste Girard, whom she met in 1728. She was encouraged to the belief that she suffered from holy convulsions and saintly stigmatics and spiritual visions by Girard, who presented it to be the symptoms of a saint. He visited her often, and possibly abused her sexually. Her emotional state during these experiences was described as hysterical.

In June 1730, Girard was investigated for abuse and corruption, and she was placed in a convent. She was released in September 1730. The case was transferred to the court of Aix-en-Provence. Catherine was first placed in a convent in Toulon and was then take to a convent in Aix for the trial. She was defended by Chaudon. The case drew an enormous attention form the whole of France, and Catherine was supported by parliamentarias, noblewomen, and the public in Toulon and Aix. The case was seen as a case against the order of the Jesuits, and Catherine was seen as a symbol of the corruption of the Jesuits.

On 11 September 1731, Catherine Cadiére was sentenced to death. On 10 October 1731, she was declared innocent. Her acquittal and release was greeted with great rejoice from the public. She was turned over to her mother, who was to remove her to prevent chaos, so that civil order could be restored. However, the fate of Catherine Cadiére after this is unknown, and considered to be mysterious. [Wikipedia]

The trial lasted for a year and was one of the most sensational French trials for two centuries, rivaling the Dreyfus affair in public interest. Cadiére wrote a book about her experience, which was quickly translated for an eager English audience. Girard claimed innocence and denied the charges against him. Half the judges voted to burn Father Girard, the other half to hang Cadiére, and the deciding vote sent the pair to other authorities…Girard to the ecclesiastical courts, Cadiére to her mother. Both lived afterward in relative peace. [Remember the Ladies, Kirsten Olsen]

Author: barenose

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