362 • Abbesse ! Aidez !

362 • Abbesse ! Aidez !

The Abbess’s audit, Your Highness,
Regarding young Thomas Aquinas:
‘In his heart, nonpareil …
In his head, off the scale
But in bed? Sadly, E– – –.’

When the great Georges Perec wrote ‘Abbesse! Aidez! he was perpetrating a sound-pun involving the first four letters of the alphabet as they are pronounced in the Kingdom of Francophonia. Today’s sermon, however, purports to reveal one species of help a real Abbess was able to offer to a Pope, and demonstrates how her early assessment of the levitating-saint-to-be – namely, that his compassion and intellect considerably outweighed any carnal prowess – exactly foretold the characteristics for which ensuing centuries would come to venerate him.

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