Jeanne-Marie (Bouvier) Guyon was born on April 13, 1648 at Montargis, in the Orleanais. Jeanne was a sickly child who was raised in a convent from the age of two. She had wanted to become a nun, but her parents would not allow it. At 16 years old, Jeanne married an older man who left her a wealthy widow with three children at the age of 28. Her 12-year marriage was fraught with misery and abuse. Following the death of her husband, Jeanne devoted her life to God. She actively shared her spiritual experiences, while also helping the poor and needy. However, the Catholic Church did not appreciate her preaching, stating that only priests were able to pray and spread the word of God. Madame Guyon was not deterred and continued her mission. Ultimately, the Catholic Church had her arrested and she spent seven years in prison. During her incarceration, she wrote a 20-volume commentary on the Bible, as well as an autobiography and many other shorter works. Madame Guyon, died June 9, 1717 and remains a controversial figure today.
Sources for additional information:
Degert, A. (2003). Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon. Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 18, 2005, from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07092b.htm
Other Women’s Voices (2005). Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon /Madame Guyon (1648-1717).
Retrieved April 18, 2005, from http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/guyon.html