The Revolution and Religious Faith

Even the sans-culottes were sometimes fervent believers! In the 18th century, strange phenomena started occurring in this church: women started convulsing during nocturnal meetings organized around the tomb of a deacon named Pâris. Known for having been a proponent of Jansenism, a movement advocating the moral reform of the Church, Pâris would appear in front of his faithful and perform miracles. The “Convulsionaries” disrupted public order: the cemetery was closed in 1732. However, during the Revolution, the authorities continued to be wary of the neighborhood’s inhabitants. The memory of the Convulsionaries was still fresh: around the church, many sans-culottes believed that the Revolution was simply the accomplishment of God’s wish. Opposed to the religious policy of the Revolution, these revolutionaries felt like Christians without a Church and prepared themselves for the last judgment.



Saint Médard Church, 141 rue Mouffetard


The Panthéon and its neighborhood
Exemplary Sans-Culottes

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Paris, the capital of female prophets

Female Prophet Consulted about the Revolution of 1789

Some were convinced: the Revolution announced the end of time. During the Revolution, Paris was also the capital of female prophets. A woman named Suzette Labrousse wrote the deputies over and over again in order to convince them to send her to Rome: she said that she was capable of converting Pope Pius VI to the Revolution. As for Catherine Théot, she saw the Panthéon as the beginning of Jesus’s reign: “The new church of Sainte Geneviève will be his house of prayer until God comes into his Kingdom,” she stated. Persuaded that she was “the mother of God,” Catherine Théot promised good revolutionaries immortality. She also thought that Robespierre announced the arrival of the messiah. Gathering her faithful subjects together on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, near the Panthéon, her several thousand followers were happy to find some meaning in the turbulence of the Revolution.

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