Marie Angélique Arnauld

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Angélique Arnauld Port Royal.jpg

Jacqueline-Marie-Angélique Arnauld, S.O.Cist. or Arnault, called La Mère Angélique (8 September 1591 in Paris – 6 August 1661 in Port-Royal-des-Champs), was Abbess of the Abbey of Port-Royal, which under her abbacy became a center of Jansenism.


Arnauld was the third of the 20 children of the lawyer Antoine Arnauld, and one of six sisters of the philosopher Antoine Arnauld.

While Arnauld was being raised by Cistercian nuns in the Abbey of Port-Royal-des-Champs, Abbess Johanna von Boulehart selected her as her successor at the age of seven. Months before her 12th birthday, she became the Abbess of Port-Royal on 5 July 1602. She was better known thereafter as La Mère Angélique.

Arnauld reformed her monastery shortly after becoming abbess, and she was instrumental in the reforms of several other monasteries.

In 1635, Arnauld came under the influence of Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, the Abbé of Saint-Cyran, one of the promoters of a school of theology which the Jesuits called Jansenism. During the 17th-century formulary controversy and the persecution of Port-Royal (1648–1652),[1] she was forced to sign a document condemning the five propositions of Jansenism.

Arnauld's niece, Angélique de Saint-Jean, and her nephew, Antoine Le Maistre, persuaded her to write an autobiography, which was mostly the story of her community's heroic resistance in the face of its religious tribulations.[2]

After her death, Angélique was succeeded as abbess by her sister, Agnès Arnauld.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A. K. H., p. 400
  2. ^ Sedgwick, Alexander, The Travails of Conscience: The Arnauld Family and the Ancien Régime (Harvard University Press, 1998), page 8


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