Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle

Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle: The Prince, the Widow, and the Cure That Shocked Washington City

Nancy Lusignan Schultz
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1npmf3
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  • Book Info
    Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle
    Book Description:

    In 1824 in Washington, D.C., Ann Mattingly, widowed sister of the city's mayor, was miraculously cured of a ravaging cancer. Just days, or perhaps even hours, from her predicted demise, she arose from her sickbed free from agonizing pain and able to enjoy an additional thirty-one years of life. The Mattingly miracle purportedly came through the intervention of a charismatic German cleric, Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, who was credited already with hundreds of cures across Europe and Great Britain. Though nearly forgotten today, Mattingly's astonishing healing became a polarizing event. It heralded a rising tide of anti-Catholicism in the United States that would culminate in violence over the next two decades.

    Nancy L. Schultz deftly weaves analysis of this episode in American social and religious history together with the astonishing personal stories of both Ann Mattingly and the healer Prince Hohenlohe, around whom a cult was arising in Europe. Schultz's riveting book brings to light an early episode in the ongoing battle between faith and reason in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17170-9
    Subjects: History, Health Sciences, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. PROLOGUE Washington City, 1824
    (pp. 1-5)

    The mayor of Washington, D.C., Captain Thomas Carbery, left Strother’s Hotel in the heart of the Federal City after a late evening dinner with city officials and climbed into his waiting carriage. He was comfortably full on good Maryland beef and oysters, and the whiskey he had enjoyed gave him a feeling of pleasant warmth against the midnight chill of early March. He wore a tall hat and handsome overcoat and had an air of dignity appropriate to the office he had held for the past two years, as one of the first Roman Catholics to be elected mayor of...

  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 6-28)

    Each spring in the Capital City, the March sunshine performs a resurrection. Forsythia bushes along Washington’s bustling streets turn brilliant yellow, so arresting that even those hurrying to conduct the nation’s business slow their steps to admire them. Thousands of pale pink and white cherry trees, a gift to the United States from Japan in the early twentieth century, blossom around the Tidal Basin at the Jeferson Memorial and along the banks of the Potomac. For the Japanese, the beauty of the flowering cherry tree, orSakura,is a potent symbol they equate with the evanescence of human life. From...

  6. TWO The Prince and the Princess
    (pp. 29-47)

    Princess Paulina von Schwarzenberg glided noiselessly into her six-year-old daughter Mathilde’s bedroom at the sumptuous castle of Český Krumlov, in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, and stood silently at the foot of the child’s bed. Through the closed glass doors that led to the balcony, the moon lay low in the sky in the early morning hours of July 1, 1810. It shimmered over the rooftops of the Renaissance and Baroque burgher’s architecture in this charming riverfront town nestled alongside the Austrian border. At night, the Český Krumlov castle could be a lonely and scary place for a child, especially...

  7. THREE From St. Mary’s County, Southern Maryland, to the Federal City
    (pp. 48-80)

    It seemed that almost everybody in old St. Mary’s County, Maryland, had heard the legend of Moll Dyer. On winter evenings, county residents whispered tales of a strange woman with long, white hair and a lowing white dress, walking with an enormous white dog through the frozen fields and woods near a stream named Moll Dyer Run. Travelers on Moll Dyer Road told stories of how their horses reared up in fright, almost capsizing their wagons, when a fleeing figure with a terrifying face sprinted across the road in front of them. Young adults of Ann Carbery Mattingly’s generation dared...

  8. FOUR Thaumaturgus and Priest
    (pp. 81-112)

    The sixteen-year-old girl, her arms pinned tight by her mother and brothers, was pulled into the room, a tiny cell in the back part of the former Benedictine Monastery of Ellwangen. The Romanesque church is dedicated to St. Vitus, whose passionate worship in the Middle Ages led to such frenetic dancing before his statue that his name became associated with an abnormal involuntary movement disorder calledChorea sancti viti,or St. Vitus’s dance. The young girl’s pupils went dark with fear as her family pushed her into the straight-backed wooden chair in the center of the room. There her mother...

  9. FIVE A Capital Miracle
    (pp. 113-160)

    One night, when clouds scudded over the face of the half moon ahead of a gathering storm, a weary traveler knocked at Adam Livingston’s door, in Smithield, in the western part of Virginia. Livingston lived with his wife, three sons, and four daughters on a seventy-acre farm half a mile west of Smithield, today known as Middleway. The town stood at the crossroads of several highways, and it was not unusual for strangers who could not secure a room at the busy village inn to seek shelter at the Livingston farm as they headed westward. The Livingstons gave the man...

  10. SIX Aftermath
    (pp. 161-203)

    Sailors are a notoriously superstitious lot. Once a tragedy happens aboard a ship, savvy sailors typically steer clear of the unlucky vessel, and the boat, no matter how magnificent, can be idled for lack of a crew. Such was the case with a seemingly cursed American ship, the USSPrinceton,which was built for war and launched on September 5, 1843. Though not larger than a typical nineteenth-century warship, 164 feet long and a little more than 30 feet wide, it was the most technologically advanced vessel of its day, with an iron hull. Designed by a Swedish engineer, John...

  11. SEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 204-228)

    The monastery archivist had just finished her presentation to alumnae of the venerable Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, updating them on recent initiatives at the Catholic girls’ high school and on the planned renovations of the campus, including the archives. The talk was part of a fund-raising effort for alums, and the archivist happened to mention that a professor had been doing some research in the Visitation archives for a book on the Mattingly miracle. The previous summer, the archivist and other religious women at Visitation had hosted me, the professor, for four nights in the Hermitage, a little apartment that...

  12. Carbery-Mattingly Family Tree
    (pp. 229-230)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 231-264)
  14. Index
    (pp. 265-274)