by Gordon Nary
Elizabeth Barton was a 16th century psychic known as "the holy maid of Kent." When she was seventeen, she had a serious illness during which she saw visions of heaven and hell and the departed souls who lived there. In one of her visions, she was told to visit a special shrine of the Virgin Mary. She was taken there on a stretcher and placed before the statue and suffered some type of seizure after which she awoke and was cured.
A subsequent vision instructed Elizabeth to become a nun and she retired to convent and began to prophesy. Many of her prophecies were fulfilled and within a short time she was being asked for help by thousands of people, including respected members of the clergy. Her fame as an oracle increased for the next eight years.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth became involved with some religious political opportunists who used her as a tool to try to prevent the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The nun claimed to have received messages from an angel who told her to tell Henry that , if this marriage took place, God would devastate the country with a plague that would kill thousands. Her threats were considered treasonous and Henry had Elizabeth and some of her associates arrested and tortured. Elizabeth eventually confessed that some of her revelations were fraudulent and was sentenced to be hanged. At the hanging, she uttered a deep sigh as her neck was broken and the sound of the sigh was said to have been heard for several miles.
Soupir de nonne (Nuns Sighs)
Soupir de nonne are fried choux pastry dusted with confectioners' sugar allegedly invented by a nun in Alsace in the eighteenth century. The are also called called pet de nonne(nun’s farts) which is less applicable to the legend of Elizabeth Barton's death and possibly
1 cup flour 4 eggs 1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla dash of salt 1 cup powdered sugar 1 cup water fat for deep frying 1/4 cup butter
Heat fat in deep fryer to 375º F.
Sift sugar, flour, and salt. Add butter and water in a medium saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Add flour mixture and stir quickly with a wooden spoon over medium heat until dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
Remove pan from heat and beat in eggs thoroughly one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
Drop by tablespoons in oil. When dough puffs and becomes golden, remove with a slotted.