Abandoning The Court To Live For God

June 24, 2021

Finally Madame Louise, Madame Dernière, as Louis XV had called her at her birth, ⸺ Madame Louise, after having shared the life of her sisters for twenty years, had suddenly a month before renounced all the pomps of the court and all the luxuries of life, to which she was, however, by no means insensible.

Louise-Marie de France (1763) by François-Hubert Drouais

One day, the 11th of April, 1770, at seven o’clock in the morning, she left Versailles without informing anyone but her father, impelled by a sudden determination to put into execution an aspiration which she had cherished for eighteen years, and accompanied by only one lady and equerry, betook herself to the convent of the Carmelites at St. Denys, ̵ the poorest of the order. The gates closed upon her; the daughter of France became the Mother Thérèse of St. Augustin. The court was stupefied; Mesdames seized with consternation.

Mère Thérèse de Saint-Augustin

The king, in whom the heroic and unexpected resolution of Madame Louise awoke for a time, alas! too short, the faith of his childhood, and who wrote letters to her wherein he spoke as an affectionate father and a believing Christian, ⸺ the king, though for a while disturbed in his habits by not finding Madame Dernière with her sisters when he descended to take his coffee with them, soon resumed his old life, which his daughter was to expiate amid the austerities of the cloister. Determined to make her sacrifice complete, the princess would allow no relaxation of the rule, accepting the severest mortifications and the most humiliating labours like the least novice.

Sister Thérèse of Saint Augustine

Unfortunately the turmoil of the world did not always die away at the gates of the convent at St. Denys. Mother Thérèse of St Augustin* remembered more than once that she was the daughter and the aunt of a king, and lent the authority of her voice and of her holy life to the political passions of her sisters and to their aspersions of their young niece, from whose hands, however, she had received the veil.

*Louise-Marie of France was declared Venerable by Pope Pius IX

The Life of Marie Antoinette, Volume 1 By Maxime de La Rocheterie. Chapter III, Pg. 32-33.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 783

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