Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heloise and Abelhard - A Love Story for Valentine's Day

Heloise and Abelhard - Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris

Heloise and Abelhard were twelfth century lovers whose romance is preserved in their correspondence.  Abelhard was a poet, philosopher, and religious teacher.  Heloise was his student, and the two fell in love.  She became pregnant, and they secretly married.  After Heloise was sent to a convent, her uncle had Abelhard castrated.  He entered a monastery, and they lived out their lives apart.  This tragic couple of the Middle Ages were intense in their intellectual pursuits, and in their love for each other.

When the Pere LaChaise Cemetery was created in Paris, it was not very popular.  The erection of a monument honoring Heloise and Abelhard made the cemetery an appealing place.  Now crowded with amazing monuments, the cemetery is popular with visitors today.

For Valentine's Day, I decided to post a couple of quotes from their letters demonstrating their love for each other.  Enjoy!

From Heloise:  To half my heart and part of my soul:  what I am I entrust to you.  I am yours as long as I live.

From Abelhard:  If I am remembered, it will be for this:  that I was loved by Heloise.

Epitaph in the Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris for Abelhard and Heloise by Catherine de la Rochefoucauld, Abbess of the Paraclete, 1701:  The love, which had joined their spirits in life and which lives on through their most tender and spiritual letters, has reunited their bodies in this tomb.

Happy Valentine's Day!