Acarie, Barbe (1566–1618)

views updated

Acarie, Barbe (1566–1618)

French nun and mystic. Name variations: Jeanne Avrillot; Marie de l'Incarnation. Born Jeanne Avrillot in 1566; died in 1618; daughter of Nicolas Avrillot (a wealthy aristocrat) and a mother who belonged to one of the oldest Parisian families; educated at the convent of Longchamps; married Pierre Acarie (d. 1613), viscount of Villemare, in 1584; children: six.

Though known for her piety and dreams of becoming a nun, Barbe Acarie was married in 1584 at the urgings of her parents to Pierre Acarie, viscount of Villemare. She was 16. From then on, Barbe successfully served both Parisian high society and the poor. Throughout her life, she suffered from chronic pain and relied on the use of crutches. While her husband squandered the family fortune, she turned her Paris home into a spiritual salon, which was frequented by many, including Vincent de Paul and Francis de Sâles. When Pierre was exiled and their property confiscated, Barbe Acarie determined to restore the family fortune and educate her six children.

In 1603, stirred by the work of Teresa of Avila , she influenced the court of King Henry IV to introduce the reformed order of the Carmelites to France. She was also instrumental in helping Madame de Sainte-Beuve in establishing the French Ursulines. Following the death of her husband, Acarie entered the Carmelite convent at Amiens where her eldest daughter was sub-prioress. Two other daughters joined them. Acarie, who became a lay sister and assumed the religious name of Marie de l'Incarnation, was later transferred to Pontoise where she died in 1618, age 52. She was beatified in 1794.

suggested reading:

Menzies, Lucy. Mirrors of the Holy.

Sheppard, L.C. Barbe Acarie, Wife and Mystic, 1953.

About this article

Acarie, Barbe (1566–1618)

Updated About content Print Article Share Article