Thursday, October 10, 2019

Person of the Day: Catherine Theot

TH√ČOT, CATHERINE (d. 1794), French visionary, was born at Barenton (Manche). From her youth a victim of hallucinations, a long course of religious asceticism in the convent of the Miramiones in Paris unhinged her mind, and she was placed under restraint. Liberated in 1782, her early delusions concerning a Messiah became accentuated; that she was destined to be the mother of the new Messiah, she was now assured; she pictured to her followers the fantastic features of the coming Paradise on earth; and was hailed as the " Mother of God." From the idea of the advent of a Messiah to its realization was but a step; in Robespierre the Theorists saw the redeemer of mankind; and preparations for his initiation were put in train. 

The enemies of Robespierre, resenting his theocratic aims, seized upon his relations with the Theotists as an engine of revenge; Catherine, with Gerle (q.v.) and others, was arrested and imprisoned, and a letter to Robespierre discovered in her house. In the Convention M. G. A. Vadier trumped up the conspiracy of Theot, asserting that Catherine was a tool of Pitt, that the mummeries of the Theotists were but a cloak for clerical and reactionary intrigue, and hinting that Robespierre favoured their designs. The case was adjourned to the Revolutionary Tribunal, and figured in the proceedings of the 9th Thermidor. The accused were ultimately acquitted, Catherine herself having died in prison on the 1st of September 1794.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911