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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/725

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A SURVIVAL OF MEDIEVAL CREDULITY.

Eucharistic Novena, published under the name of Diana Vaughan, and containing forms of supplication against unbelief, worldly indifference and lukewarmness, hardness of heart, blasphemy, and unchastity. The covert sarcasm which pervades the entire manual of devotion comes out most clearly in the section on the violation of the seventh commandment. A copy of the work, which had been approved by the Archbishop of Genoa, was sent to Cardinal Parocchi, with a letter signed "Your Eminence's most devoted servant in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Diana Vaughan," and five hundred francs, of which two hundred and fifty were to be used for organizing an international antimasonic congress, and the rest to be given as Peter's pence to the Pope. The cardinal replied with great cordiality to his "dear daughter in our Lord," called her conversion "one of the most glorious triumphs of grace," and added, "I am reading at this very moment your Memoirs with burning interest." He gave her his blessing, and conve-yed "the thanks and special benediction of his Holiness." Numerous letters of a like character were received from the Vatican. On May 27, 1896, the General Secretary of the Apostolic See, Verzichi, wrote that "his Holiness had read her Eucharistic Novena with extreme pleasure"; two months later the Pope's private secretary, Vincenzo Sardi, thanked her in the name of Leo XIII for her exposure of Crispi, and bade her "continue to write and to unmask the godless sect," and the CivillĂ  Cattolica, the official organ of the papacy, praised her "inexhaustibleness in precious revelations, which are unparalleled for their accuracy and usefulness. Freemasonry is confounded, and seeks to evade the blows of the valiant championess by denying her existence, and treating her as a myth. It is a pitiable shift, but Freemasonry can find no better refuge." "Your pen and your piety," wrote Monsignore Villard, October 15, 1896, "are predestined to demolish the foes of mankind. The good works of the saints have always met with opposition, and it is no wonder, therefore, that yours should be combated."

Naturally, there was intense curiosity to see this new convert and powerful defender of the faith. This inquisitiveness was easily allayed at first by the plea that the cloister to which she had retired must be kept secret, in order that she might be safe from assassination by the Freemasons. Meanwhile the medium of correspondence was a bright American girl, employed as copyist in a Parisian typewriting establishment, who wrote all the letters at Taxil's dictation, and received a monthly salary of one hundred and fifty francs for her services. After a time he deemed it politic to introduce her privately to select circles of Catholics, who were thereby enabled to testify to her existence, since they had seen and con-