Pigenat, Francois

Pigenat, Francois a French preacher of the Jesuitic order, was born at Autun near the close of the 15th century. He early became a member of the Society of Jesus, and at Paris was one of the most zealous preachers of the League. In September, 1588, he was, in a somewhat quaint manner, elected curate of St. Nicolas des Champs, Legeay having been expelled by his parishioners as suspected of Huguenotism. Henry III said on that occasion that "Parisians were kings and popes, and if you only let them have their own way, they will soon dispose of the whole spiritual and temporal power of the realm." In January 1589, Pigenat preached at Paris the funeral sermon of the duke and cardinal of Guise, assassinated at Blois by order of the king, and gave them the title of martyrs. Pigenat took a conspicuous part in all the absurd and obscene processions of the time. He organized one in his own parish, where over a thousand persons, of both sexes and every age, were marched half naked, the curate himself having only a white robe to cover him. He was one of the first to sign the deposition of Henry III, and became a member of the council of Quarante. He was by his friends claimed to be inspired, but royalist writers call him "a troublesome liar, false prophet, promoter of every kind of crime, who receives from the Spanish court numbers of doubloons for his vociferating in the chair and in the public thoroughfares." After the murder of Henry III, Pigenat transferred his animosity to Henry IV, declaring that "it was not in the power of God that the Bearnais should be converted, that the pope could not absolve him and put him on the throne, and that if he did he would be excommunicated himself." Pigenat did not live to see Henry IV make his entrance into Paris. He died in 1590. According to L'Estoile, he was not destitute of talent and imagination.

His brother, ODON PIGENAT, provincial of the Jesuits and one of the Seize, was also a chief of the League. He died at Bourges of an attack of frenzy.

A third member of the same family, JEAN PIGENAR, lived at the same time. He left Aveuglement des Politiques, Heretiques. et Maheustres, etc. (Paris, 1592, 8vo). — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 40:205.

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