By the summer of 1370 Adam and Simon had ensconced themselves in Montefiascone, a city some 90 km north of Rome. The city sat in an excellent defensive location astride one of the volcanic hilltops that surround Lake Bolsena. The papal court straddled the three natural rings of the city, the lower town enclosed within defensive walls, the inner wall at the crest of the hill and at the very peak a final walled enclosure surrounding the papal castle and gardens. Here in the castle or Rocca di Papi (the Great Hall of the Rocca is pictured to the right) Adam experienced one of the most intense moments of his life when he met the Swedish prophetess Brigit.
Following a week of rioting Urban V abandoned Rome for good in 1370 returning once more to the safety of Montefiascone’s walls. Rumours were rife that he would abandon Italy altogether. Brigit, then aged 67 claimed to have received a vision from the Virgin Mary that the pope would die if he returned to Avignon and she came to Montefiascone to deliver the message in person. Today a commemorative plaque can be found on the wall of the upper story of the Rocca in the room where the meeting took place. There can be little doubt that Adam, Simon and many other members of the papal court witnessed the event.
Here Prior Peter records how Brigit received the “revelation” from the Virgin.
Item dixit iste idem testis (ie Prior Peter) quod Domina Brigida dixit ei revelationem hanc, videlicet antequam dicta domina Brigida recederet de Roma versus Montemfiasconis quod quando dominus Urbanus papam V recedere voluit de Italia versus Avinionem, virgo Maria apparuit dicte domine Brigide existenti in oracione in Roma et dixit ei aliqua verba in conclusione. Scilicet quod idem papa non recederet de Roma et de Italia ad Avinionem, alioquin quod mors sibi eveniret in brevi, ut in illa revelatione, sicut asseruit iste testis lacius continetur. from Acta et Processus (ed I. Collijn)
Prophets and seers abounded in the middle ages, many of whom were demonstrably charlatans, often discredited in their own lifetime. The impact of Brigit as a prophetess who had very publicly prophesised the fate of Urban in front of the entire papal court, was determined by what happened next. The hapless Urban V boarded a ship for France returning to Avignon on September 24th. All seemed well and the mad ravings of Brigit were soon forgotten in the genteel life and pleasing blue skies of Avignon. Suddenly in November Urabn fell ill. Vainly he recalled the prohphesy and swore he would return to Rome if only he recovered. On 19th December he died. Brigit's most publicly declared prophesy had come true in spectacular style. We should not be surprised at the impact she had on Adam of Easton.
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