Monday, August 27, 2012

From Lady Jane to Bossi Aurelia de la Tour d'Auvergne

Have you ever heard of Lady Jane Ellenborough (1809 - 1881)?

British Lady Jane Ellenborough (Jane Digby) was romantically involved with many men. She married her first husband, Edward Law, 2nd BaronEllenborough (later Earl of Ellenborough), in 1824, at age 15.  Lady Jane was notoriously promiscuous, and her marriage to the Earl did not last. After divorcing him she moved to Munich with Felix, Prince Schwarzenberg, an Austrian diplomat who resigned his position at the London Embassy to be with her. When Prince Felix decided not to marry her, she married Baron Venningen-Ulner, with whom she had a child.

When Lady Jane's husband caught her in an affair with Count Spyridon Theotoky of Greece he challenged the Count to a duel. After winning the duel and wounding Count Theotoky, Baron Venningen released her from the marriage, and their relationship remained friendly. She married Theotoky, moved to Athens, and had a child with him, but divorced him after the accidental death of their 6-year old son. An involvement with an Albanian general ended when he was unfaithful to her...
And to continue,
[In 1855, Lady Jane travelled to the Middle-East to Damascus and] While there, she met Arab nobleman Sheik Abdul Medjuel El Mezrab, who would be her final husband [and who was 17 years her junior. She stayed with him for the rest of her life, before dying of a heart attack in Damascus in the year 1881]. Impressing the Mezrab family with her knowlege of horses, Jane eventually became a leading figure in Arab society, visiting Europe several times in Islamic garb and critiquing Richard Burton's "Arabian Knights." One of her last journal entries reads: "It is now a month and 20 days since Medjuel last slept with me! What can be the reasons?”
Her biography.

I found this, in the Missouri State Journal, June 20, 1873:-

She is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Damascus

Is her grave unharmed by the recent fighting?

This painting by Joseph Stieler was completed in 1831 when Jane was 22.

But what intrigues me is, who is  Madame de la Tour d'Auvergne and her house on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives?

It took me some time, but this seems to be the answer:

There was the "Church of the Ascension" to mark the spot whereby tradition (contrary to the direct statement of Luke) states that the Ascension occurred; now the site is marked by a small octagonal chapel, built in 1834, which is in the hands of the Moslems. There a "footprint of Christ" is shown in the rock. A large basilica of Helena was built over the place where it was said that Christ taught His disciples. In 1869 the Princess de Latour d'Auvergne, learning that there was a Moslem tradition that this site was at a spot called el Battaniyeh south of the summit, here erected a beautiful church known as the Church of the Pater Noster and around the courtyard she had the Lord's Prayer inscribed in 32 languages. When the church was in course of erection certain fragments of old walls and mosaics were found, but, in 1911, as a result of a careful excavation of the site, the foundations of a more extensive mass of old buildings, with some beautiful mosaic in the baptistry, were revealed in the neighborhood; there is little doubt but that these foundations belonged to the actual Basilica of Helena. It is proposed to rebuild the church.

And her tomb is there:

AurĂ©lie de Bossi [Bossi Aurelia], the Princess de la Tour d’Auvergne, had a particular devotion to the Lord’s Prayer. She erected translations of the prayer in 39 [sic] different languages.  Later she added a convent for Carmelite Sisters [ In 1868 she built a cloister modeled on the Campo Santo at Pisa, Italy and founded a Carmelite convent in 1872]. While the buildings were being constructed, she lived nearby in a wooden cabin brought from France. The princess was also keenly interested in the cave — which she never discovered, although she suggested where it might be.

Excavations by archaeologists in 1911 found the cave exactly where she had predicted it to be. It was partly collapsed when it was discovered.

The princess died in Florence in 1889, but her last wish was for her remains to rest in the Pater Noster Church, in a tomb which she had prepared. Her wish was fulfilled in 1957. On top of her sarcophagus is a life-size effigy

Case closed.


No comments: