A story of water and Devil: the legend of sainte Enimie

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Enimie in N-D-du-Gourg church - ©Ancalagon / CC-BY-SA Enimie in N-D-du-Gourg church - ©Ancalagon / CC-BY-SA
Sainte-Enimie medieval city Medieval city Miracle Legend

Disfigured!

The legend says Enimie was a Merovingian princess, Clotaire II’s daughter and king Dagobert’s sister. A beautiful young lady: every noblemen wanted to marry her! But Enimie didn’t want to marry. She only wanted to pray God. Yes, but at that time, women didn’t have choice... She finally married a mighty baron.

Enimie was desperated: she prayed, she prayed, asked God to save her! So... suddenly, she suffered from leprosy. A terrible illness which completely disfigured her... Her fiancé ran away. No more marriage! And nobody could cure her… One night, a vision told her to go in Gévaudan where a miraculous spring ran: fountain of Burle.

She went there and immediately dived in the clear water... She was cured! She decided to come back home, but... leprosy came back... She bathed again: the fountain cured her one more time. She knew she had to stay here, near the fountain. So Enimie lived here in a cave and founded a monastery... Bishop of Mende Hilaire, when he went in Gévaudan, appointed her abbess.

Scree rain!

Enimie was cured and settled, but the Devil turned up. Easy for him to hide in all these scree! He sent thousand of calamity to the monastery’s nuns, in vain. Whoa, tough sisters! So, the Devil sent his own daughter dressed up  as a sexy servant, who appeared stark naked in front of bishop Hilaire. But again, in vain!

So, Enimie interfered… and the chase began: first, the Devil always succeeded in outdistancing her, until they arrived in the place called Pas-du-Souci (Worry Pass). Enimie saw big rocks hanging and ordered them to smash into the Devil: a bigger rock fell on him, sticking him bottom of the gorge. The smashed Devil finally escaped and get back in Hell...

Princess’ bones

When Enimie died in 628, her brother Dagobert wanted to get her body back. But nuns didn’t want to! Hey, relics attracted pilgrims and money… So, like Dagobert was insisting, they finally gave him bones… from an other woman, Enimie’s god-daughter! Dago didn’t see the trick and the princess’ relics remained in the monastery.

The visit

We still see Enimie’s cave, with two big stones which used to be... Enimie’s seat! The former abbey is still here, too: we can visit the Romanesque chapter room, surrounds by remains of fortification.


And also!