[Esclarmonde de Foix, Source: Lacconneau]
[Routes des châteaux cathares, pinpin, Source: Wikimedia Commons]
She married Jordan II of L’Isle Jourdain and had at least six children with him. It is likely that she turned fully to Catharism sometime before or during their marriage, but did not embrace it openly until after his death in 1200.* In 1204 she received the Consolamentum** and became a Cathar bonnefemme. Shortly thereafter she and her sister-in-law, Phillipa founded a girl’s school that also functioned as a place of retirement for elderly bonnefemmes. In 1207 she participated in (and possibly helped organize) a religious debate between leaders in the Cathar and Roman Catholic faiths.
[Montsegur, photographed by Emeraude, Source: Wikimedia Commons]
*Or he may have died a few years later. Huzzah for conflicting sources. Most say 1200 though.
**This was the Cathar’s ceremony of spiritual baptism and the ritual by which one of the credentes became a bonhomme or bonnefemme. More on Cathar beliefs and religious hierarchy here.