Saint Colette Essay, Research Paper
Nicolette DeBoilet was delivered into the loving arms of her parents on January 13, 1381. They immediately began to affectionately call her Colette. Her father, Robert DeBoilet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother’s name was Marguerite Moyon.
Because Colette’s parents were near 60 at her birth, she was orphaned at age 17; and she distributed her entire inheritance amongst the poor. Colette was left in the care of a Benedictine abbot. Her guardian urged her to marry, but Colette was drawn to religious life.
Initially she tried to join the Beguine and Benedictine orders, but failed in her vocation. Colette then became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corbie as a hermit. On September 17, 1402, at age 21, she became an anchoress- walled into a cell whose only opening was a grilled window into a church.
Colette began to have visions in which St. Francis of Assisi ordered her to restore the rule of Saint Clare to its original severity. When she hesitated, she was struck blind for three days and mute for three more; she saw this as a sign.
After trying to explain her mission without success; Colette realized she needed more authority behind her words. She walked to Nice, barefoot and clothed in a habit of patches, to meet Peter de Luna, acknowledged by the French as the schismatic Pope Benedict XIII. He welcomed her and professed her a Poor Clare, and was so impressed that he made her superioress of all convents of Minoresses that she might reform or found, and a missioner to the friars and tertiaries of St. Francis.
Colette traveled from convent to convent, meeting opposition, abuse, slander, and was even accused of sorcery. In Savoy, her reform gained sympathizers and recruits, and eventually passed on to Burgandy, France, Flanders, and Spain. Before her death, Colette founded 17 convents. For the convents reformed by her she perscribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence.
Colette is known for her deep devotion to Christ’s Passion with an appreciation and care for animals; as well as fasting on Fridays while meditating on the Passion. After receiving Holy Communion, she would fall into ecstasies for hours.
She foretold her own death in the convent at Ghent, Belgium. She died on March 6, 1447 at Ghent, Flanders of natural causes.
Colette was beatified on January 23, 1740 and canonized on May 24, 1807.