Princess Louise of France (1737–1787)
|Louise de France|
|Princess of France|
|Later portrait of Madame Louise by François-Hubert Drouais|
|Louise Marie de France|
|House||House of Bourbon|
|Father||Louis XV of France|
15 July 1737|
|Died||23 December 1787
Convent of Saint-Denis
Louise-Marie de France (15 July 1737 – 23 December 1787) was the youngest of the ten children of King Louis XV of France and his wife, Queen Maria Leszczyńska. As a daughter of the king, she held the rank of a fille de France. From 1740 she was known as Madame Louise. She outlived her father, mother, and all of her siblings except for her two sisters, Madame Adélaïde and Madame Victoire.
Louise was born at Versailles on 15 July 1737, and was at first known as "Madame Septième" (one of her seven older sisters died before her birth) or "Madame Dernière", later "Madame Louise". She was sent to be raised at the Abbey of Fontevraud with Louis' three other youngest daughters, Madame Victoire, Madame Sophie and Madame Thérèse (who died at Fontevraud at the age of eight). On 20 December 1738 she was baptised at Fonevraud; her godfather was François-Marc-Antoine de Bussy, seigneur de Bisé; her godmother was Marie-Louise Bailly-Adenet, first woman of the chamber to her sister Madame Thérèse. When Louise reminded a nun at the convent that she was the daughter of the King, the nun replied: "And I am the daughter of God".
None of King Louis' projects for Louise's marriage came to fruition, and she sought sanctuary from the world in her religion. In 1748, there were rumours that Louis would have her engaged to Charles Edward Stuart (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender to the throne of England). She said:
N'ai-je pas sujet d'être bien inquiète puisqu'on me destine un époux, moi qui n'en veux d'autre que Jésus-Christ?" ("Should I not be very anxious since I am destined for a husband, I who want no other than Jesus Christ?).
Louise returned to the court of Versailles in 1750, where she stayed for another twenty years, experiencing there the death of her older sister, Madame Henriette, in 1752; the births of her nieces and nephews; the assassination attempt on her father in 1757; the introduction of Madame du Barry; the construction of the Petit Trianon; the death of her older sister, Madame Infante, and, finally, the death of her mother, Queen Maria Leszczyńska.
In 1770, to general amazement, Louise asked her father to allow her to become a Carmelite nun. She believed that becoming a nun would compensate for her father's lax morals. The year she left (1770), she saw the marriage of her nephew Louis-Auguste to Archduchess Marie Antoinette of Austria. Louise joined the convent at Saint-Denis, where the order's rule was obeyed strictly, taking the name Thérèse of Saint Augustine. On 10 September 1770, she took the habit. On 1 October 1771, she gave her vows and was fully accepted into the order.
Louise became prioress of the convent 25 November 1773. She served as prioress from 1773 to 1779, and a second term from 1785. She interceded with her father to allow Austrian Carmelites persecuted by the Emperor Joseph II to enter France. While at the convent, she tried her best to make sure that the other nuns treated her as an equal rather than the daughter of a king. As a child, she had had an accident that had affected her knee. As a result, she found it difficult to kneel, but when she was offered assistance, she refused. On 26 May 1774, two weeks after the death of her father, she was visited at Saint-Denis by her nephew, King Louis XVI.
She died at Saint-Denis, suffering from a stomach complaint. Her last words were the following:
Au paradis! Vite! Au grand galop!" ("To paradise! Fast! At the great gallop!)
- Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, (Publisher Mansut Fils, 4 Rue de l'École de Médecine, Paris, 1825), 154.
- L. Dussieux, Généalogie de la maison de Bourbon de 1256 à 1871 (Paris: Jacques Lecoffre, 1872), 107.
- Ravel, Jeffrey, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, p. 125, ISBN 0-8018-8598-1
- Gratay, Alphonse-Joseph-Auguste, "Henri Perreyve", Pvi, C. Douniol, 1872.
- Hare, Augustus John Cuthbert, North-Eastern France, Macmillan, 1896, p. 143.
- Markham, Jacob Abbott, A History of France, Harper & Brothers, 1863, p. 143.
- Baedeker, Karl, Paris and Environs with Routes from London to Paris, Dulau, 1898, p. 348.
- Leathes, Stanley, The religion of the Christ, its historic and literary development, Oxford University, 1874, p. 356
- La Gazette de France (27 mai 1774): 109.
- Calvimont, Victorine de. Mme Louise de France, carmélite. Bourdeaux: Ragot, 1855.
- De la Brière, Léon. Madame Louise de France. Paris: Victor Retaux, 1900.
- Hours, Bernard. Madame Louise, Princesse au Carmel. Paris: Cerf, 1987.
- Proyart, Abbé. Vie de madame Louise de France: religieuse carmélite, fille de Louis XV. Lyon: Rusand, 1805.
- Dossier biographique et bibliographie sur le site du Carmel de France
- Venerable Therese of St. Augustine
Princess Louise of France (1737–1787)Born: 15 July 1737 Died: 23 December 1787
|abbesse de Saint Denis