Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Mary R. Reichardt | Go to book overview

MADAME GUYON (1648–1717)

BIOGRAPHY

In Catholic circles, Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon’s name has been chiefly associated with the Quietist controversy that raged in late-seventeenth-century France. In Protestant circles, she has long been esteemed as an inspiring spiritual writer who overcame adversity to live the life of faith. She seems to have seen herself simply as a believer touched by God and impelled to tell of that irresistible touch. She was, to use her own image, a “spiritual torrent”: “We who are believers are like rivers. There are rivers that flow very slowly, arriving late to their destination. Others move more rapidly than that. The third type moves so fast that none dare sail upon it. It is a mad, headlong torrent” (Spiritual Torrents, p. 2).

Jeanne was born in Montargis, France, in 1648, the daughter of a royal procurator and his second wife. She recalled feeling neglected in childhood. From the age of two, she was a frequent boarder at a series of monasteries, receiving there little intellectual training but rather a fervent, if eclectic, spiritual formation. In these years she was introduced to the life of Jeanne de Chantal, a widow-become-religious, which served as an inspiration and her introduction to interior prayer. Her early desire to enter religious life was thwarted by illness, and just before her sixteenth birthday her family arranged a marriage with Jacques Guyon, a wealthy businessman twenty-eight years her senior.

The marriage was a sad one, plagued by illness, loss, and the domination of a jealous mother-in-law. The union produced five children, two of whom died young, intensifying Jeanne Guyon’s sorrows. During these difficult married years, she developed an intense devotional life and, in 1668, experienced an inner transformation which resulted in a form of non-conceptual prayer she termed the “prayer of faith.” Guided by a Benedictine abbess and a priest renowned as a spiritual director, Madame Guyon’s interior life blossomed.

In 1676 Guyon’s husband died, leaving his young widow a considerable fortune. Her intention was never again to lose her liberty, so she pursued an

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Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Notes xxix
  • Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690) 1
  • Julia Alvarez (1950–) 7
  • Angela of Foligno (c.1248–1309) 13
  • Katherine Burton (1884–1969) 18
  • Elizabeth Cary (1585–1639) 24
  • Madre Castillo (1671–1742) 29
  • Bibliography 33
  • Willa Cather (1873–1947) 34
  • Bibliography 39
  • Catherine of Genoa (1447–1510) 41
  • Bibliography 45
  • Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) 46
  • Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951–1982) 52
  • Sandra Cisneros (1954–) 57
  • Clare of Assisi (1194–1253) 63
  • Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–) 68
  • Elizabeth Cullinan (1933–) 74
  • Dorothy Day (1897–1980) 81
  • Annie Dillard (1945–) 89
  • Louise Erdrich (1954–) 95
  • Rosario FerrÉ (1938–) 102
  • Lady Georgiana Fullerton (1812–1885) 108
  • Rumer Godden (1907–1998) 114
  • Bibliography 120
  • Caroline Gordon (1895–1981) 121
  • Mary Gordon (1949–) 129
  • Louise Imogen Guiney (1861–1920) 136
  • Madame Guyon (1648–1717) 143
  • Madame Guyon (1648–1717) 149
  • Emily Henrietta Hickey (1845–1924) 155
  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) 161
  • Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (c. 935–c. 975) 169
  • Bibliography 173
  • Marie de L’incarnation (1599–1672) 175
  • Sor Juana InÉs de la Cruz (1648–1695) 181
  • Julian of Norwich (c. 1342–after 1413) 187
  • Sheila Kaye-Smith (1887–1956) 193
  • Margery Kempe (c. 1373–c. 1440) 200
  • Bibliography 205
  • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1851–1926) 207
  • Mary Lavin (1912–1996) 213
  • Bibliography 218
  • Denise Levertov (1923–1997) 220
  • Notes 226
  • Clare Boothe Luce (1903–1987) 228
  • Mary Mccarthy (1912–1989) 235
  • Rigoberta MenchÚ (1959–) 241
  • Alice Meynell (1847–1922) 247
  • Pilar MillÁn Astray (1879–1949) 254
  • Kathleen Norris (1947–) 261
  • Edna O’brien (1932–) 267
  • Bibliography 273
  • Flannery O’connor (1925–1964) 275
  • Bibliography 280
  • Eunice Odio (1919–1974) 283
  • Sister Carol Anne O’marie (1933–) 289
  • Bibliography 294
  • Emilia Pardo BazÁn (1851–1921) 295
  • Bibliography 299
  • Christine de Pizan (1365–c.1430) 301
  • Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) 308
  • Adelaide Anne Procter (1825–1864) 315
  • Antonia Pulci (1452–1501) 320
  • Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) 326
  • Mary Anne Sadlier (1820–1903) 333
  • Bibliography 337
  • Dorothy L. Sayers (1893–1957) 338
  • Bibliography 342
  • Valerie Sayers (1952–) 344
  • Bibliography 350
  • Sophie Rostopchine, Countess de SÉgur (1799–1874) 351
  • Muriel Spark (1918–) 357
  • Edith Stein (1891–1942) 362
  • Bibliography 367
  • Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) 369
  • Notes 374
  • Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) 375
  • Bibliography 380
  • ThÉrÈse of Lisieux (1873–1897) 381
  • Bibliography 386
  • Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) 387
  • Bibliography 392
  • Simone Weil (1909–1943) 394
  • Antonia White (1899–1980) 398
  • Selected General Bibliography 403
  • Index 409
  • About the Editor and Contributors 417
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