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A ghost in Saint-Pierre palace in Lyon?

The refectory | GO69 / CC-BY-SA
Abbey Benedictine Ghost Saint-Pierre palace in Lyon

A powerful abbey

We don’t know exactly when the abbey was founded. But we know Saracens damaged the city and the monastery in the 9th century.

So, king Charlemagne’s bishop, Leidrade, restored the church and the religious buildings: at that time 32 nuns lived here.

Carolingian kings gave lot of money to them; they were very rich! And independent... they owned about 15 abbeys in Lyon area and even in the Dauphiné.

In Lyon city, they owned lands on the hill called Croix-Rousse, where stood ruins of an old Roman city.

The abbey became very wealthy, very powerful thanks to the money the kings gave, and thanks to nuns' dowries: indeed, those nuns were born in noble families, so we found among abbess a Montmorency lady, a Cossé-Brissac one...

Because, in order to enter the convent, they had to show 4 degrees of nobleness on the father and the mother's sides!

Orgy and decadence!

But... beware! Decadence and perversion ruled here... Parties, orgies, debauchery... Nuns soon forgot their chastity wows, if you see what I mean!

In the 16th century, archbishop of Lyon, François de Rohan, wanted to change this: he enforced her to work and obey!

Ouch, those ladies were accustomed to wealth and idleness, so it was a pretty hard blow for them!

They refused, saying that nothing could be imposed. Finally, the reform took place.

A ghost, ladies...

A ghost sow panic

But at the same time, surprise! People started to talk about a ghost which haunted the convent.

The ghost of Alix de Tézieux, an old lady from the abbey, died very poor in a village near Lyon.

One of the nun of Saint-Pierre in particular, Antoinette de Grolée, said a kind of blow woke up every night, and she heard footsteps around her bed.

But she saw that there was no one... and she felt a kiss on her lips! Oh, it was because gossips said she was Alix’s mistress!...

Into a panic, Antoinette talked to this to the mother superior, who immediately asked the ghost to show up by knocking on the wall.

Knock, knock, answered the spirit... after this, they started an exorcism, in 1527.

This case was widely talked about, even a book was published in 1528, called La merveilleuse histoire de l'esprit qui depuis naguère est apparu au monastère des religieuses de Saint-Pierre de Lyon, "The amazing story of the ghost who appeared in the monastery of St-Pierre of Lyon".

You know what? I thinks it was a big hoax just to calm down those ladies...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!