Study Guide

Father Francois Anselm Mericoeur d'Armagnac in Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon

Father Francois Anselm Mericoeur d'Armagnac

Merry Monks

Father Anselm of the Merry Heart is a monk whom Claire grows close to while Jamie is recuperating at the Abbey of Ste. Anne de Beaupré. For a father, he is very Zen-like, talking to Claire about just sitting by herself and reflecting on, well, everything—you know, the universe and where she fits in the grand scheme of things. He advocates meditation, saying:

"For that fraction of time, it seems as though all things are possible. You can look across the limitations of your own life, and see that they are really nothing." (38.90)

Sounds cool, right? He's such a calming presence that he even almost causes Claire, who is agnostic, to start believing in God.

Father Anselm is the only person besides Jamie whom Claire tells she is a time-traveler. And he, like Jamie, believes her. Jesus did turn water in wine, after all, so is time traveling all that crazy? Claire is conflicted about being a time-traveler, and how her actions affect the future, but Anselm gives her a reality check, saying that "Everyone's actions affect the future" (40.132). These talks give Claire great comfort, which is exactly what religion and spirituality are supposed to do.