Jeanne Marie Bouvières de la Mothe Guyon



Born: Ap­ril 13, 1648, Mon­ar­gis, Loir­et, France.

Died: June 9, 1717, Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France.

Buried: Church of the Cor­de­li­ers, Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France.


Madame Guy­on was the lead­er of the Qui­et­ist move­ment in France. The foun­da­tion of her Qui­et­ism was laid in her st­udy of St. Fran­cis de Sales, Ma­dame de Chan­tal, and Tho­mas à Kem­pis.

At age 16, she mar­ried Jacques Guy­on, a weal­thy man of weak health, 22 years her sen­ior. Un­til his death in 1676, her life was an un­hap­py one, part­ly due to the dif­fer­ence in their ag­es, and part­ly due to a ty­ran­ni­cal mo­ther-in-law.

Her pub­lic ca­reer as an ev­an­gel­ist of Qui­et­ism be­gan soon af­ter her wi­dowhood. Her first la­bors were spent in the dio­cese of Ge­ne­va, at An­ecy, Gex, and Tho­non, and in Gre­noble. In 1686 she went to Pa­ris, where she was at first im­pri­soned for her opin­ions, in the Con­vent of St. Ma­rie in the Fau­bourg St. An­toine. She was re­leased af­ter eight months at the in­sis­tence of Ma­dame de Main­te­non.

She then rose to the ze­nith of her fame. Her life at all times great­ly fas­cin­at­ed those around her; the court, Ma­dame de Main­te­non, and Ma­dame de Main­te­non’s Col­lege of La­dies at Cyr, came un­der the spell of her en­thu­si­asm. But the af­fin­i­ty of her doc­trines with those of Mi­chael Mo­li­nos, who was con­dem­ned in 1685, soon worked against her.

Her opin­ions were con­demned by a com­miss­ion, of which Bos­su­et was pre­si­dent. She then in­curred Bos­su­et’s dis­plea­sure by break­ing the prom­is­es she had made to him to main­tain a qui­et at­ti­tude and not re­turn to Pa­ris.

She was im­pris­oned at Vin­cennes in De­cem­ber 1695, and the next year moved to Vau­gi­rard, un­der a pro­mise to avoid all re­cep­tions and cor­res­pon­dence, ex­cept by spe­cial per­mis­sion. In 1698, she was im­pri­soned in the Bas­tille for four years.

She spent the re­maind­er of her life in re­tire­ment with her daugh­ter, the Mar­quise de Bois, at Blois. She had nu­mer­ous vis­i­tors of all ranks, some from for­eign coun­tries, and had a con­sid­er­a­ble cor­res­pon­dence. Her works fill some 40 vol­umes.



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