Marie Madeleine Cardon
A child’s dream.
Around age six or seven, Marie Madeleine Cardon was sleeping in her bed and had a dream that would change her family’s life many years later. She dreamed of herself as a young woman, in a small meadow by her father’s vineyard in Italy, looking after her family’s milk cows so they didn’t wander into the vineyard. Lying in the meadow while the cows grazed, she dreamed she was reading a book until she looked up and saw three strangers standing in front of her.
Alarmed by the strangers, she watched them until one of the strangers said to her, “Fear not for we are the Servants of God, and have come from afar to bring unto you the gospel, and all who desire to be saved, in the Kingdom of Heaven.” The stranger continued to tell her many things about her family’s future and gave her two small books, one with a pale blue cover and one with a pale green cover, telling her if she read them carefully, and obeyed the commandments of God, she would be saved.
When she woke up, Marie felt frightened and strange about the dream. She went into the kitchen where her mother was making breakfast. Her mother noticed that Marie was pale and quiet and asked her if she was sick, but Marie said no as she did not know how to explain her dream to her mother.
When her father came in, her mother asked him to find out what was the matter with Marie. Putting her on his knee, her father talked to her until Marie finally told him all about her dream, the three strangers and what they had told her. Marie’s parents were not sure what the dream meant but felt it was important and they remembered it and reflected on it often.
Marie lived near Prarostino in northern Italy with her parents, two sisters and four brothers. Her father had a vineyard and worked as an architect building houses. It was while working on the construction of a large house that Marie’s father hired a new employee who told him about three strangers who were preaching strange new religious doctrines in Torre Pellice.
The three strangers and the things they were rumoured to be teaching sounded familiar to Marie’s father, who wondered if this was related to Marie’s dream. He came home, asked his wife to prepare his Sunday clothes, and then set off on foot to Torre Pellice to find these three strangers. Her father walked “all that afternoon and all night and the next morning over the mountains and down in the valley” to arrive at Torre Pellice. He arrived on Sunday morning, just in time to hear the three strangers preach. They turned out to be Latter-day Saint missionaries, and after listening to them, he invited them to return home with him. On the way, he told them about Marie’s childhood dream and how anxious he was for her to meet them.
When her father arrived with the three missionaries, Marie was not home. Now a young woman of sixteen, Marie was out in the small meadow by the vineyard looking after the cows. Eager to introduce them, Marie’s father led the three missionaries out to the meadow. Marie was lying in the meadow absorbed by a book she was reading until they came and her father said, “Here is my daughter who had the vision concerning the three strangers who had appeared to her, and told her that they were the servants of God.” Marie recognised them as the men from her dream, and recognised the religious pamphlets they gave her and her family as being the books in her dream.
Marie and her parents were baptised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1851, as well as most of her siblings. Marie herself took her time to learn about the Church, studying the scriptures and praying. She wrote, “Despite the dream or vision I had when a child, I felt that I must be entirely sure and satisfied of that which I was about to embrace. I determined to fast and pray in secret… until I did receive an answer from God that this gospel was true.”
Research: Michelle Graabek
Writing: Michelle Graabek
Editing: Amy Epps & Louise Paulsen
Photography: Hopefully upcoming, I am waiting for permission from a relative.
Dursteller, Eric R., James A. Toronto and Michael W. Homer. Mormons in the Piazza: History of the Latter-day Saints in Italy, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University in cooperation with Deseret Book, p.60-63, 2017.
Marie C. Guild autobiography, circa 1909.