Jeanne des Anges and the Loudun Possessions

In 1632 in a small, haunted Ursuline convent, a series of strange disturbance began to occur. When the Prioress, 25-year-old Sister Jeanne, was beset by terrifying dreams of a priest who cursed her and bade her to perform obscene sexual acts, she knew who was to blame. She had been possessed, she claimed, by demons under the direction of one Urbaine Grandier, the powerful parish priest of Loudun. As more and more of the nuns came under the influence of devils, it was determined that elaborate exorcisms were in order, and investigations into Grandier’s maleficent magic began. While Sister Jeanne maintained that she was the innocent victim of possession, others soon suggested her potential involvement with a conspiracy to bring Grandier down. So, was Jeanne indeed a victim of maleficent witchcraft, or is the power of hysteria to blame for her actions? Perhaps, though, she was far more calculating than this! Get out your rosary beads and holy water and join us in this week’s Halloween episode to find out more about Sister Jeanne des Anges and the infamous possessions at Loudun!

Bourguignon, Erika. “Suffering and healing, subordination and power: Women and possession trance.” Ethos 32.4 (2004): 557-574.

Dauge-Roth, Katherine Louise. Troubling women: Reading and writing possessed bodies in early modern France. Diss. 1999.

Ferber, Sarah. Demonic possession and exorcism: In early modern France. Routledge, 2013.

Lietaer, Hugo, and Jozef Corvelyn. “Psychoanalytical Interpretation of the Demoniacal Possession and the mystical development of Sister Jeanne des Anges from Loudun (1605-1665).” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 5.4 (1995): 259-276.

Stephenson, Craig E. “The Possessions at Loudun: Tracking the Discourse of Dissociation.” Journal of Analytical Psychology 62.4 (2017): 544-66. Web.

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