First New England Nun

Sister Fanny Allen

 

 

When Ethan Allen seized Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775, he did so in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.  That Allen believed in God no one could doubt.  That he did not believe in the divinity of Christ Allen established beyond all doubt when in 1785 he published Reason:  The Only Oracle of Man, a long and turgid attack on Christianity and organized religion.  The book was a failure only selling 200 of its 1500 volumes.  Allen who paid for the publication out of his own pocket took a financial beating.  Timothy Dwight, future president of Yale, accurately described the book:  “the style was crude and vulgar, and the sentiments were coarser than the style. The arguments were flimsy and unmeaning, and the conclusions were fastened upon the premises by mere force.” Nonetheless Allen did still believe in God as his tombstone attested:

The Corporeal Part of Ethan Allen Rests Beneath this Stone, the 12th day of February 1789, Aged 50 Years. His spirit tried the Mercies of his God In Whom he firmly Trusted.

One can wonder what Allen thought in the world to come when he learned that his daughter would be the first New England nun.

Fanny Allen was born in 1784 and was four years of age when her famous father died.  Her mother remarried to a Doctor Jabez Penniman in 1793 who loved Fanny dearly and treated her as if she was his own daughter.

At the age of 12 Fanny had a mystical experience:

When I was twelve years old, I was walking one day on the banks of the river which flowed not very far from our house. The water, although very clear, rolled by in torrents. Suddenly I beheld emerging from the river an animal more resembling a monster than a fish, for it was of extraordinary size and horrid shape. It was coming directly toward me and sent a chill of terror through me. What aggravated my peril was that I could not turn away from this monster. I seemed paralyzed and rooted to the ground. While I was in this torturing situation, I saw advancing toward me a man with a venerable and striking countenance, wearing a brown cloak and carrying a staff in his hand. He took hold of my arm gently and gave me strength to move while he said most kindly to me: “My child, what are you doing here? Hasten away.” I then ran as fast as I could. When I was some distance off, I turned to look at this venerable man, but I could see him nowhere. (more…)

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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