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Isabelle of France, Bl.


Daughter of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, sister of louis ix; b. March 1225; d. Longchamp (Paris), Feb. 23, 1270. Among her suitors, all of whom she rejected, was Conrad, son and heir to Frederick II; notwithstanding innocent iv's insistence, she resisted the political advantage of this marriage. Eventually the pope praised her decision. Throughout her life she exhibited a constant concern for charitable and hospital work that was channeled increasingly by her fondness for the Friars Minor. Innocent IV allowed Isabelle to retain Franciscans as her special confessors, and with the king's support she founded a convent for the poor clares at Longchamps in Paris, which opened in 1260. Although she led a penitential life, she refused to become abbess of the convent or even to take vows. Her continued interest in this convent was reflected in its constitution; the rule she drafted with the advice of five Franciscan theologians was approved by alexander iv on February 10, 1259; a mitigated revision was submitted to urban iv and approved July 27, 1263. The sisters were called Sorores minores inclusae. Agnes of Harcourt, third abbess of Longchamps (d. 1289), composed Isabelle's vita in French; it was later put into Latin. Isabelle's cultus was approved in 1521 by leo x.

Feast: Feb. 26 (formerly June 8).

Bibliography: b. gratien, Histoire de la fondation et de l'évolution de l'Ordre des Frères Mineurs au XIII e siècle (Paris 1928) 609617. a. garreau, Bse. Isabelle de France, soeur de Saint-Louis (Paris 1955). agnes of harcourt, Vita b. Elisabethae seu Isabellae, Acta Sanctorum August 6 (1863) 798808; cf. Commentarius praevius, ibid. 787798.

[e. w. mcdonnell]

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