Skip to main content

Guyon, Madame (1648-1717)

Guyon, Madame (1648-1717)

Jeanne Marie Bouvières de la Mothe, a celebrated mystic and quietist who suffered persecution at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. She was born at Montargis on April 13, 1648, and showed an early and passionate interest in martyrdom and religious exercises. At age 16 she was forced into a marriage with the wealthy M. Guyon, more than 20 years her senior, in whose household she was exposed to insult and cruelty. Broken in spirit, she turned to religion and consulted a Franciscan, who advised her to seek God in her heart rather than in outward observances.

From that time on, she became a mystic, aiming at the suppression of all human hopes, fears, and desires and the attainment of a completely disinterested love of God. She embraced every form of suffering, physical and mental, and even eschewed spiritual joys.

In 1680 Guyon's husband died and she was released from bondage. She embraced the doctrine of quietism. "In losing the gifts," she writes in her autobiography, "she had found the Giver, and had reached an ideal state of resignation and self-suppression." She went to Paris, expounded her theories with earnestness and charm, and gathered an illustrious circle about her. There also she made friends with fellow mystic Francois Fénélon.

But the persecutions of the church increased. She requested that a commission be appointed to examine her doctrine and writings. Three commissioners were chosen, among them Bossuet, the champion of the church, her erstwhile friend and now her bitter enemy. Her writings were condemned, and she was incarcerated at Vincennes. For four years she lay in the dungeons of the Bastille, while Bossuet used every means to malign her name and doctrine.

In 1702, her health broken, she was released and sent to Blois, where she died June 9, 1717. Her last years were blessed with peace and resignation and a continued acceptance of her trials.


Guyon, Jeanne Marie. Autobiography of Madame Guyon. St. Louis: B. Herder, 1897.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Guyon, Madame (1648-1717)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . 22 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Guyon, Madame (1648-1717)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . (July 22, 2018).

"Guyon, Madame (1648-1717)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.