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Saturday, 26 November 2016 18:34

Birth of JA: November 27

“At a distance of 51 km north-east of Besançon, in the foothills of the Doubs mountains, the church of Saint Martin de Sancey served seven country villages: Sancey-le-Grand, Sancey-1'Eglise, Sancey-le-Long, Rahon, Belvoir, Surmont and part of Orve.

On the north side the Sancey valley was dominated by the ancient stronghold of Belvoir, with its village, and was crowned towards the other cardinal points by wooded hills which hid sharp cliffs and many caves. The houses of Sancey-le-Long lined the banks of the Baume, a little river whose waters turned the wheels of mills and sawmills. Tanneries too had been set up along its banks.

Jean-François Thouret was one of these Baume riverside dwellers. On 28 January 1755, he married a young peasant girl from a neighboring parish, Jeanne-Claude Labbe. They were both twenty-four years old.

Jean-François Thouret, who was a rather well-to-do farmer and breeder, owned a large bourgeois house at Sancey-le-Long with a stable and barn. It was surrounded by an orchard, pastures and arable land and, since it was on the banks of the Baume, he was able to set up a tannery.

One of his brothers, Jean-Nicholas, lived with them, as well as their sister Odile – called Oudette – who was by profession a weaver and had a difficult character.

And children were born. A little Odile, who died, alas, at twenty months.

Then, at two-year intervals, three boys: Joachim, Jean-Jacques and Jacques-Joseph.

On 27 November 1765 Jeanne-Antide was born.

She was baptized on the same day, according to the custom of this very Christian region, by the curate, M. Boichosey. Her godfather, Modeste Biguenet, and her godmother, Jeanne- Antide Vestremayr, could not of course have had any idea of the quantity of graces the Holy Spirit had placed in this frail child's baptismal basket.

But why was she called Jeanne-Antide? Because godchildren generally inherited the first names of their godfathers or godmothers. Thus our Jeanne-Antide was the fifth of a genealogy of Jeanne-Antide who had handed down this name from godmother to god-daughter at Sancey-le-Long since 1670. Antide was in fact a man's name, common in Franche-Comté because St Antide, who was bishop of Besançon in the fifth-century, had been scourged and beheaded by the Vandals. A suitable patron for a heroic life …

After Jeanne-Antide, her mother gave birth to two boys, Pierre (1768) and Claude-Antoine (1770), and a daughter, Jeanne-Barbe (1773)” 

                           Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret – Theodule Rey-Mermet

My soul Proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

My Spirit rejoices in God my SAviour,

For He has looked with favour

On His lowly servant.


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