La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers. MONASTIC ORDERS, author GOURREAU ?, Jacques, PROSTITUTION, WOMEN.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.
La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.

La vie de Marguerite des Haies dite soeur Thérèze, première Supérieure des Gouvernantes de la maison de saint Magdelaine à Angers.

Angers: Pierre Avril, 1675.

Price: $5,800.00

Duodecimo: 14.3 x 9.5 cm. (7), 103 (i.e. 102) pp. A-G8 (complete with final blank.)

SOLE EDITION.

A very nice copy of this extremely rare book, preserving its original vellum binding (binding a little wrinkled and slightly soiled.) The text is crisp, with only the occ. blemish and a very light dampstain to the margin of the final leaves. There is a small woodcut of the penitent Magdalene in a hewn rock cell, praying before a skull and crucifix in the wilderness. Provenance: Michelle Dupont, “Sister of the Nativity” (b. Sept. 14, 1684), who entered the community on November 11, 1704 at the age of 20.

VERY RARE SOLE EDITION OF THIS WORK TRACING THE LIFE OF THE FIRST SUPERIOR OF THE PENITENT SISTERS OF ANGERS, with a history of the convent from its foundation, life within its walls, and the works of the penitent sisters. Only 2 copies located, both in French institutions.

The long dedication, signed only "N", is addressed to Guy Lanier (or Lasnier), abbot of Saint-Etienne de Vaux-sur-Mer (Charente-Maritime), a friend of Saint Vincent de Paul, and a promoter of many religious foundations in Angers and the region, including the convent of Saint Magdalene, of which he was spiritual father. The author is probably Jacques Gourreau, one of the directors of the house and counselor at the Presidial of Angers.

Through the edifying story of the holy life of Marguerite des Haies, “Soeur Thérèse”, the first Superior of the convent, this book describes the life of the sisters of the Order of Penitents of Angers, whose vocation was to welcome repentant girls corrupted by vice, including many prostitutes. The rule, decreed by Henri Arnault (see below) was particularly rigorous and was based on the principles of humility and mortification.

I have located only two copies of this book, both in France (Bibliothèque nationale de France (which erroneously dates the edition 1673) and Bibliothèque Municipale d'Angers.) The book is cited in “Catalogue des collections de feu M. Toussaint Grille d’Angers”, 1851, n°2775.

“At the height of the Counter-Reformation, when Angers was replete with convents, the priest Claude Ménard decided to ​​establish a house of penitent girls, in order to shelter them from the world that they had renounced. The first group of girls were housed in a rented house in rue du Saint-Esprit, in Doutre, around 1640. The community’s foundation was officially established by royal letters patent in March 1642.

“The community of penitents developed rapidly and in 1649 moved to a new house, the residence known as ‘la Voûte’, purchased from the sculptor Biardeau on December 15, 1645. In December 1646, the date of the second letters patent confirming the community, the number of girls increased from 12 to 35. In 1650, the Bishop of Angers, Henri Arnauld, placed Marguerite des Haies in charge of the community, as Superior, and in 1673 wrote a rule for them, under the patronage of Saint Mary Magdalene.

“Humility and mortification were central to their life, as evidenced by the coarseness of their dress: gray serge made with a sack without folds, closed sleeves, muslin veil in the form of a cape, woolen belt and white wimple to hide the neck. Several residential complexes were acquired around La Voûte in 1650-1655 and 1697. The community doubled as a correctional facility for prostitutes.

“During the Revolution, the penitents dispersed but the ‘refuge’ remained open to be used for the incarceration of prostitutes. The convent’s double function resumed at the beginning of the 19th century: a women's prison and a hospice for elderly indigent women, suffering from senility or venereal diseases. The prison was abolished in 1857, and the ill were transferred to the new Sainte-Marie hospice in 1864. Since 1856, all the buildings have been owned by the city, which had grand plans for the area’s renewal. The working-class development planned for the location did not see the light of day, but the district was transformed by the opening of Boulevard Descazeaux in 1864, which demolshed the entire northern part of the penitents’ complex (the ‘refuge’, outbuildings and chapel), but left intact the old residence (“la Voûte”).” - Sylvain Bertoldi, Conservateur des Archives d’Angers, “L’hôtel des Pénitentes : un lieu d’accueil où se repentir” in Le Courrier de l’Ouest.