du Houx, Jeanne

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Mystic and religious of the Visitation; b. Pinczon, Sept. 2. 1616; d. Colombier, Sept. 26, 1677. Jeanne was four when her mother died, and her stepmother treated her like a servant. From her earliest years she wanted to become a religious. In 1636, however, her father arranged her marriage to Hilarion de Forsans, Seigneur du Houx. Du Houx joined her in works of charity, but, says her biographer, she "bore the married yoke with difficulty." After the early death of her husband, she entered the Visitation Convent at Colombier. Here for 30 years she divided her time between the cloister and the world, and only two days before her death was she fully professed in religion. During her married years her piety was of the active type, but during her years in the convent it became passive. Six years of despair at the Visitation ended in a vision of St. Jane Frances de Chantal on Dec. 12, 1646. The saint taught her abandonment. Bloody penances and fasts, devotion to the Holy Infancy after the pattern of Marguerite du Saint-Sacrement, and communications with the souls in purgatory characterized her spirituality. Because she alternated between reserve and enthusiasm regarding the controversial Jeanne des Anges at Loudon, her reputation suffers. While her emphasis on simplicity marks her as Salesian, the stress she places on "putting on the spirit of Jesus Christ" aligns her with the school of Bérulle.

Bibliography: e. catta, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 3:176973. m. saint-gal de pons, "Une mystique breton-ne du 17e siècle," La Vie spirituelle 86 (1952) 167178.

[j. verbillion]

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du Houx, Jeanne

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du Houx, Jeanne