It is related by Father Rho, in his Sabbati, and by Father Lireo, in his Trisagio Mariana, of a certain young maiden of Guelder-land, who lived about the year 1465, that she was sent one day by her uncle to purchase something at the market of the city of Nimeguen, with the direction to go and pass the night at the house of her aunt, who lived in the town. The girl obeyed, but when she went at night to her aunt’s house, she was rudely sent away by her, and she set out on her way homewards.
Night overtaking her, she fell into a passion and called loudly upon the devil to come to her aid. And behold, he suddenly appeared in the form of a man, and promised to assist her, provided she would do one thing.
“I will do anything” answered the unhappy creature.Advertisement
I only wish, said the enemy, that henceforth you will not bless yourself with the sign of the cross, and will change your name.
As to the cross, she answered, I will no longer sign myself with it, but my name of Mary is too dear to me, I will not change it.
Then I will not help you, said the devil. At length, after much debate, it was agreed that she should be called by the first letter of the name of Mary, that is, Emme. They then went together to Antwerp, and the wretched girl remained there six years with her diabolical companion, living so sinful a life, that it was the scandal of the whole place.
One day she told the devil that she wished to see her country again; the enemy objected, but finally was obliged to consent. When they entered together the city of Nimeguen, there was just then performing a public representation of the life of the most Holy Mary. At such a sight the poor Emme, from that little devotion she had still preserved towards the mother of God, began to weep.
“What are we doing here?” said her companion; “would you perform here another comedy?”
He then seized her to take her away, but she resisted, and seeing that she was escaping from him, in a rage he raised her into the air and let her fall in the midst of the theatre. The poor girl then related what had happened to her. She went to the parish priest to confess, but he sent her to the Bishop of Cologne, and the bishop sent her to the Pope, who, having heard her confession, imposed it upon her as a penance, that she should wear three rings of iron, one around her neck, and two around her arms. The penitent obeyed, and having arrived at Maestricht, she retired into a convent of penitents, where she lived for fourteen years in severe penance.
One morning she arose from her bed and found the three rings broken. Two years after she died in the odor of sanctity, and wished to have the ring buried with her, which had changed her from a slave of hell into the happy slave of Mary, her deliverer.