MARY OF OIGNIES - The Book of Margery Kemp, Chapter 62

Mary of Oignies (d. 1213) was born in Belgium (Nivelles in the diocese of Liege) to a wealthy family. She was married at age 14, but convinced her husband to take a vow of chastity (see chaste marriage). Together, they nursed lepers. Mary became famous for her good works and her mystical tendencies. In fact, so many people came to visit her that she was forced to retire to a cell in a monastery at Oignies, living as a hermit. It is not unusual then that Margery knew who Mary was. Like Margery Kempe, Mary received many visions from God and experienced ecstasy and wept uncontrollably when meditating on the Passion of Christ. She did not eat meat, dressed in white clothes, and mortified her flesh in acts of penance. Mary was unable to confess the most minute sins without weeping and had been told by the Holy Spirit that she would go directly to Heaven without stopping in Purgatory upon her death. Her life was recorded as early as 1215 by her confessor, Jacques de Vitry.

SOURCES Jacques de Vitry, The Life of Marie d'Oignes, trans. Margot King, Peregrina Translations Series 3. Toronto: Peregrina. 1989. (in Latin.)

back to the top