|How they started out|
|How they ended up|
Heloise gave birth to their son, Astrolabe (yeah, like the scientific device). Embarrassed, Fulbert disclosed the secret marriage. Peter suggested that his wife move into a convent, which she did. Affronted, her family attacked him in the night and castrated him.
|How they really ended up|
Peter hid himself in an abbey for a while, but they were quiet and provincial while he was flashy and cosmopolitan. Without high profile connections, his writings were sabotaged by his critics and he got involved with petty squabbles with his monastic brothers. Eventually, he was granted permission to move out and live as a hermit.
Peter Abelard could not be a hermit if he had wanted to, and I doubt that he really wanted to. As the most brilliant orator of his age, he drew hundreds of disciples to his hermitage, all of whom built huts or set up tents. Eventually, he knew the authorities would close in again, so he fled to the harsh wilds of Lower Brittany, where he headed an abbey. That wasn't going to last, and eventually he was back on the lecture circuit.
You'd think folks might have been upset about Heloise and little Astrolabe, but what they really hated was his new school of theological thought. Although he had buried Realism in his own mind, its adherents still held sway in the important offices. Charged with heresy, he died en route to Rome for his hearing.
You may well wonder what's so saintly about a guy like this. He lacked humility. He had no record of good works. And his theology was unacceptable to the councils. His virtue, of course, was his love of Heloise. There are over 100 extant letters, perhaps more than 200, between them. He arranged for her to take over the oratory he had abandoned so that she might be the abbess of her own convent. She preserved his bones after he died, and they remain buried together (see photo above). Sure, she deserves the sainthood more than he, and will get that when her dies mortalis rolls around. But you can't have one patron of star-crossed lovers. They must work as a team. So here's to Saints Peter Abelard and his beautiful bride, Heloise, saints of the thwarted amor.