Na Prous Boneta: Heresy

By Student Synthia Shurtleff

Heresy (noun):

A belief of opinion that does not agree with the official belief of opinion of a particular religion.

Heretic (noun):

A person believing in or practicing religious heresy.



Na Prous Boneta was known as a heretic in her own time. Na Prous was born around 1297 to Durand Bonet of Saint Michel de la Cadiere. It is said that her confession was approximately at the age of twenty-eight. In her confession she claimed Christ came to her numerous of times and declared various of radical statements.

Her “visions” start with Christ coming to her in the form of a man as well as divinity and, “showed her his heart.” She said that from his heart rays brighter than the sun shone around her. From this moment on it became obvious that Na Prous felt that Christ saw her as the virgin. In her confession, Boneta asks Christ to “have mercy on all of the sins of the Jews, the Saracens, and all the peoples of the world.” In her own way, Boneta was calling out other people whom she felt were lower than her. Not only does she feel it necessary to tell Christ how “sinful” others are, but she then confesses that Christ “told” her how sinful others were.

She claims the Christ told her the present pope was an awful person:

“.. and that this present pope, John XXII, is like Caiphas, who crucified Christ.”

She asserts how Christ told her how the sin of the pope was as bad as the sins of Cain. Also that his sin when he betrayed the friars to death was as great as that of Adam when he ate the apple. The list of the “sins” of the pope goes on and on. She then claims that not only did Christ say the pope was incredibly sinful, but he was actually the Antichrist. Now that’s intense.

Na Prous was incredibly bold for going out of her way and confessing these things numerous times. Not only was she claiming that Christ was constantly coming to her and saying all of these things, but she was bashing the current pope, which not something people did in the medieval era. Or even something people really do in the current time period.

After harping on the pope and everybody else’s sins, Na Prous goes on about how Christ thinks so “highly” of her. She claimed that the lord said, “he who does not believe in the words of Na Prous shall die and eternal death.” She also stated, “the Lord God shall give two things to every person who believes in the words of Na Prous; that is, he will forgive the sins of the believing person, and he will give him the Holy Spirit.”  She truly believed she was like the next Virgin Mary.

All these statements and much more were confessed willingly and freely multiple times. It is said that she was warned and urged to revoke her statements, but each time she said it was all the truth. She gave her confession in 1325 and was then held in prison for for three years while they tried to persuade her to change what she said. The Pope that she hardcore bashed in her confession soon took interest in her case and eventually ordered her execution. Ironic?

The “Voices of Light” was created initially for The Passion of Joan of Arc, but has its own connection to Na Prous Boneta. In some sections of this beautiful score to the silent masterpiece directed by Carl Dreyer, “the chorus obsessively repeats the phrase ‘glorious wounds’ while a solo soprano (beautifully sung by Susan Narucki) sings a combination of lurid texts from both Blessed Angela and Na Prous Boneta, a 13th-century penitent and 14th-century heretic, respectively.” — Richard Einhorn