"THE BEAUTIFUL ACARIE"
Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M.
Almost no one has heard of Barbe Avrillot; few recognize the name Madame Acarie, as she was later called. But, in Paris at the beginning of the 17th century, she was widely acclaimed and stood at the center of a great spiritual revival. Her admirers described her as "la belle Acarie," since by all accounts she was stunning, with fair skin, chestnut brown hair, and striking green eyes. This name followed her down through the centuries and became the title of one of her principal biographies.
Henri Bremond, the noted French historian, describes her as the most important religious figure in the period from 1590 to 1620. "What?" I asked myself upon reading Bremond, "not Francis de Sales, whose books were not only famous then, but have remained classics to this day? not Pierre Bérulle, the `founder' of the French school of spirituality? not Benedict of Canfield, `the teacher of teachers'?" "It is not too much to say," Bremond responds, "that, of all the spiritual hearths kindled in the reign of Henry IV, none burned more brightly or equally in intensity than that of the Hôtel Acarie." This extraordinary woman, mother of six children, wrote little (and burned most of that as worthless!), but she exercised an enormous personal influence during her lifetime. She spearheaded the introduction of St. Teresa's Carmelites into France; at her death, the community already numbered 17 houses on French soil. She was a driving force in the development of the Ursulines. The reform of the Benedictine Abbeys owed much to her. But most of all she knew, encouraged, and directed almost all the leading religious figures of the day. Among her keenest admirers were Benedict of Canfield, Pierre de Bérulle, André Duval, Michel de Marillac, and Francis de Sales.
In 1791 she was beatified as Marie of the Incarnation, the name she took when she joined the Carmelites in later life. Today she is almost completely forgotten. I write this essay in an attempt to revive her memory for the members of the family of Vincent de Paul. He knew and admired her, as did Louise de Marillac, whose uncle was one of Madame Acarie's greatest devotees.
Vincent's friend and advisor, André Duval was her first biographer. "She had the gift, no small one," wrote Duval, "of impressing souls seriously." Duval's life of Madame Acarie ran into seven editions in the six years after her death and soon spread throughout Europe.
HER EARLY YEARS
Barbe Avrillot was born in Paris on February 1, 1566. Her father, Nicolas Avrillot, was chancellor of Queen Marguerite of Navarre and financier to the Chamber of Paris. Her mother, also from a good Parisian family, was Marie Luillier, who appears to have been a rather harsh, even sometimes violent woman. The family was very Catholic, very royalist, and very rich. As a child, Barbe felt most at home with one of her aunts, a religious at the Abbey of Long champs on Mont Valérien, where her mother sent her for her education. At school she showed herself lively and intelligent and soon expressed the desire to become a religious of the Hôtel Dieu in Paris. But her mother disagreed. Marie Luillier was determined that her only child should marry, willingly or unwillingly. So, at 16½, on August 24, 1582, Barbe married Pierre Acarie, whom Bremond describes as one of those husbands who are "hotheaded, intimidating, indolent, teasing, passing from coarse laughter to anger with disconcerting rapidity, by turns the delight and terror of their neighbors...." Like his father-in-law, Pierre soon got involved in the Ligue, a conspiracy against the king, and suffered exile after the victory of Henry IV.
Barbe became very well-known and much esteemed in Parisian society in spite of her husband's misfortunes. She gave birth to three sons and three daughters and raised them with great care and love. She was very careful and orderly as the head of a large household and had good sense in handling money. This proved indispensable when her family fell on bad times as her husband and her father both went into exile. While raising her children, managing her household, mixing well in Parisian society, and dealing with the crisis caused by her family's political intrigues, she prayed daily and developed a deep interior life.
During Pierre's absence, people at high levels in Paris were quite struck by her dexterity in handling his affairs. Even Henry IV, who had sent her husband into exile, and his wife, Marie de Medici, were among Barbe's ardent admirers. Ultimately, she was able to use her influence with the king to get Pierre permission to return home after 18 months.
THE INITIAL MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES
Her biographers relate the beginnings of Barbe's mystical experiences in this way. Pierre, finding Barbe engrossed in a novel one day, reproached her and gave her a pile of pious books which his confessor had recommended. This same confessor, Monsieur Roussel, pointed out to her a sentence in one of the books: "Too greedy is the person for whom God is not enough." The words had a thunderbolt effect in her life. Afterwards, she seemed to have a new heart and a new understanding of life.
Around 1588, when she was 22 years of age and had already borne three children, Barbe had the first of her many ecstacies. She found her experiences very strange. Her confessor and advisors were of little help to her. As a result she hardly knew what to think of the continual ecstacies she was "enduring," so to speak. During this perplexing time in her life, she had three more children.
Her experiences were at times quite awkward. One Sunday morning, for instance, she went to Mass in her parish church. When evening came she had not yet returned home. At nightfall her friends found her, still in the church, in ecstasy. When she came out of it, she asked if Mass was over yet. Such ecstacies were usually accompanied by acute sufferings and later by clearly marked stigmata, which she kept rather successfully hidden. As her mother-in-law began to observe the state Barbe was in, she called in doctors who bled her, but this accomplished nothing. Finally, Benedict of Canfield, the day's foremost authority on mysticism, was consulted. He assured Barbe that her experiences were from God and that she should allow him to work in her without being afraid.
Her puzzled husband gave Barbe further books on mysticism, but she showed little interest in them. In fact, she tried to avoid ecstacies and to hide them from the public. Like many of her advisors, she regarded mystical experiences as peripheral to genuine holiness and tended to be skeptical about such phenomena both in herself and in others (in fact, Duval states: "She tried harder to prevent them than some others did to seek them or bring them about").
Saying the rosary with her children, looking at a crucifix, reading a book, or even conversing, Barbe would sometimes be caught up in ecstasy. It appears that her children became quite used to this. In later years, when she was with her daughters in the Carmelite monastery, they used to kid her publicly about the "pauses" that her ecstasies caused at home!
While Barbe was experiencing God in this new way, she raised her family, carried out many social obligations, and engaged in formidable religious activities, such as the establishment of the Carmelites in France.
Life in her household was surely not easy. André Duval, who is more sympathetic toward her husband than most other writers, describes Barbe's situation at home in this way: "As Monsieur Acarie did not wish to trouble himself about domestic affairs, it was she who bore the burden, not only of daily business, but of all that concerned the children, boys as well as girls, and the numerous male and female domestics." During his years of connection with the Ligue, Pierre Acarie dissipated an immense fortune. His wife, by her ingenuity, managed to keep the household together, satisfy his debtors, and pay her husband's ransom when he was captured by a band of robbers. Duval recounts that one day while she was at dinner, bailiffs came and seized everything in her house down to the plate in front of her.
Personal suffering also entered her life during this period. Returning from one of her visits to Pierre in exile, Barbe fell from her horse, caught her foot in one of the stirrups, was dragged a long distance, and broke her hip. The doctor set it badly, so it had to be re-broken. The following year she fractured her thigh by slipping on a step during a visit to her eldest son at school. Shortly after recovering she fell again while leaving the parish church at Ivry, breaking her thigh once more. She was lame for the rest of her life. With all this, she still remained incredibly active, though she used a cane and was never able to stand for very long.
We have very reliable information about how she raised her children, since her three daughters shared their reminiscences with Duval as he was writing Barbe's life. They also testified before the commissioners during the process of her beatification; in fact her son Pierre was the first to promote her cause, in 1622. The children affirm that she was a patient listener who encouraged them to come and talk. They also "felt that she penetrated to the depths of their soul by a simple look." She loved the truth and therefore had very strong reactions when her children lied. "If you were tall as the rafters," she told her daughters (she was quite tiny herself), "I would hire women to hold you down rather than let one lie pass without punishment." She combatted vanity in her children and was careful that they treated the servants warmly and humbly. Her eldest daughter states: "She was very gentle with us, but, mingled with her gentleness, was so solemn and imposing a seriousness that it seemed impossible not to do what she wanted." Her youngest adds: "She was always anxious to keep me humble but did it so charmingly that I never resented the lesson thus given to my love of self. When obliged to punish me, she so did it that it never occurred to me that she was correcting me unreasonably and her corrections never made me angry with her."
Barbe's three daughters all became Carmelites. Marguerite entered in 1605 and Geneviève in 1607. The former became a celebrated personality, know as Mother Marguerite of the Blessed Sacrament, and played a leading role in the reform of religious life at that time. Her eldest daughter, Marie, who was quite beautiful like her mother, entered last. Barbe was eager not to push them in any way regarding their choice of religious life. In fact, in Marie's case, Pierre and Barbe attempted some matchmaking, were delighted with one of the prospects for a marriage, and even began a discussion with the young man's parents about the dowry that Marie could offer. Marie, however, finally decided to enter the Carmel and was accepted in March 1608.
Her eldest son Nicolas studied law and married when he was 22. He seems to have inherited some of his father's impetuosity and, despite having Francis de Sales as a guide, caused his mother and father considerable anxiety. He and his wife had two children, so Barbe found herself a grandmother at the age of 42.
Pierre, her second son, joined the Jesuits but left them before his mother's death. He studied theology, obtained a doctorate at the Sorbonne, joined the clergy of Rouen, and became a canon of the cathedral and vicar general of the diocese.
We know little about her youngest son Jean. Apparently, after at least some preparation for the priesthood, he became a soldier, went to Germany, and married. There is some question about whether he might actually have become a priest and then fled to Germany in order to marry, but the evidence is not very clear. What is clear, however, is that Barbe had great concerns about him, whatever might have been their root. We also know that he and his wife gave her another grandchild.
One must not get the impression that things were rather "mystical" in the Acarie household. Barbe bought her children lots of toys and loved to play with them. Despite her husband's variable moods, political problems, and economic failures, she and Pierre lived a happy married life for 31 years.
Little by little the Acarie home on rue des Juifs became a much frequented place of conversation. In a way, all Paris resorted to her. She kept the country's conscience, so to speak. When a rumor spread about the king, he sent a priest, Père Coton, to Madame Acarie to assure her that it was false, since "he held her in such high esteem that it sufficed him if the saint did not give credit to the calumny."
To the salon came a formidable line of men and women in whom, one might say, Madame Acarie "liberated grace." What is striking is that many of those who surrounded her were quite critical in their judgments about mystical experiences and extraordinary phenomena. None of them, however, seems to have doubted that Barbe was the genuine article. She herself was very reserved about her experiences. In fact, she discouraged curiosity steadfastly, even in her most intimate friends. She spoke freely about her experiences only with three confessors, Benedict of Canfield, Pierre de Bérulle, and Père Coton. Francis de Sales admits that, though he often heard her confession, he never had the courage to ask about her experiences and she herself never volunteered anything about them. Duval, who knew her very well, gathered most of his information from personal observation and from the comments of those surrounding Barbe. Actually he had plenty to observe, since he often saw Barbe in the midst of her mystical experiences.
But what made the salon such an important center was Madame Acarie's gift for spiritual direction. She had a singular capacity for "discernment of spirits." The long list of eminent people who arrived at the Hôtel d'Acarie consulted her on the most delicate matters. Many of them had first come to know her while working with her in the organization of various charitable and religious undertakings, but they were soon drawn to speak with her about their own spiritual needs and those of others. Well-known spiritual directors presented difficult cases to her because they trusted that she had the capacity to distinguish genuine holiness from its counterfeit forms. She seems to have been able to read people's hearts readily. Père Binet, provincial of the Jesuits, stated: "What she told me was known to God alone. She showed me all the consequences which (my) business might entail, and nothing could have been truer."
Her relationship with these important people was extraordinary. Michel de Marillac, who saw her almost every other day, says of Barbe: "On her side all was virtue and grace; on mine, the workings of grace reflected from her."
The Acarie home became the gathering place for discussions on the spiritual life. Religious and lay people met there in increasing numbers to learn more about the new reform movement that was sweeping Paris. Some of the most important decisions affecting the renewal of religious life in that period were made in Barbe's home. Several of her greatest admirers came there almost every day. They found her, on the one hand, a humble, gracious hostess and, on the other hand, a woman with remarkable gifts of discernment who was ready to support all worthwhile projects directed toward the reform of the Church or the service of the sick and the poor.
BRINGING THE CARMELITES TO FRANCE
In the midst of all her spiritual direction and charitable works, Barbe became involved in another far-reaching project: the reform of various communities of nuns. Duval writes:
Although ordinarily women religious do not willingly defer to married women, at least in matters regarding their interior life, yet God had bestowed upon her for that purpose such special grace, and she behaved with such humility and tact, that they had no difficulty in opening their hearts to her wholly and declaring their inmost thoughts to her. Though there are very many convents in Paris and the environs, she went everywhere, stimulating some to a better life and the conquest of their desires, prompting others to undertake the reform of their houses.
She had a huge influence on the life of many communities, but she is best known for introducing Teresa of Avila's reformed Carmelites into France.
The story of the coming of the Carmelites to her country is long and complicated, involving delicate negotiations with the Spanish government, the Carmelite superiors, the Holy See, and the King of France. The whole matter began with a vision in which St. Teresa told Barbe that the reform which Teresa had brought to Spain should now be brought to France. It appears that this was Barbe's first vision. It left her quite confused, but of course also struck her forcefully. Her spiritual director at the time, Dom Beaucousin, encouraged her to go forward step by step. But resistance was strong, especially at the top.
At a time when the relationship between the two countries was particularly bad, the King was not at all anxious to bring Spaniards into France: "Can't you find nuns of holy enough life in the convents of this country who could be set at the head of the new foundation?" But Barbe was not to be denied. Francis de Sales interceded in Rome. Bérulle undertook a difficult mission to the Carmelite authorities in Spain, and Barbe had one of her friends, the Duchess of Longueville, speak personally with the King of France. The king eventually gave way and on July 18, 1602 authorized the establishment of a convent of Carmelite nuns in Paris.
Ultimately Bérulle brought back six Carmelites from Spain, two of whom had been close companions of St. Teresa herself. Their experience in France was difficult (all but one left for the Netherlands within five years!), but this small seed had incredible growth. Fifty-five Carmelite monasteries were founded in France over the next 40 years!
In preparation for this new beginning, a number of women gradually began to live as boarders in the Acarie household and came to establish a semi-official community under the name of the Congrégation de Sainte-Geneviève. Since negotiations were moving ahead in Rome for the coming of the Carmelites, ecclesiastical superiors in Paris were happy to have this little group on hand for amalgamation with the Spanish sisters upon their arrival. They commissioned Madame Acarie to form these women and examine the vocation of each. She had remarkable sureness in this regard.
Extraneous considerations carried no weight with her at all when discerning vocations. A number of churchmen recommended a young woman who was ready to offer a very substantial dowry toward the building of the first Carmel. In the first interview, Madame Acarie said that she had no vocation. "I do not trouble myself at all about the money needed for the material building," she stated, "but solely about the living stones which will build up the spiritual edifice."
With his house becoming crowded and busy, Pierre Acarie seemed utterly perplexed that people of every description, great and small, women and men, religious and secular, were coming to speak with his wife, who was also receiving letters from all quarters. At times he refused admission to guests, at times he was overly inquisitive with them, at times he made himself a nuisance. Many of the guests learned to humor him and get him to tell stories about his adventures in the Ligue.
A pretty novice named Lejeune, from Troyes, who lived at the Hôtel d'Acarie, decided that she must laugh and dance with Pierre in order not to put him off. One day Pierre said to his wife: "All your devotees are so stiff; my little Troyenne alone is sensible!" Barbe said nothing to Pierre, but took the young novice aside and spoke with her about her excessive familiarity. The young woman naively explained the difficulty of behaving otherwise: "Madame, what can I do? Monsieur Acarie is my host and I can't say no to him!" The pretty Troyenne developed into a very good Carmelite.
We possess very little of what Madame Acarie wrote, but her life, her works, and the comments of her intimate friends reveal to us a number of things about this fascinating woman's spirituality.
1.She had a wonderful capacity for combining very active charitable works with deep contemplative prayer. Looking back, one suspects that this capacity is what convinced those around her that her mystical experiences were genuine. Throughout her life she was engaged in works among the poor and the sick and was very generous with her material possessions. During the siege of Paris in 1590 she distributed food to the hungry from her own family's supplies and took care of the wounded in the Saint-Gervais Hospital as well as the sick poor at the Hôtel-Dieu. She frequently spent time with the dying in the hospitals helping them to prepare for the end. At the same time, this very active woman was clearly a contemplative. She had a deep sense of her dependence on God and of his providence in her life. She experienced God's presence vividly and drew from that experience a great clarity of vision which she succeeded in communicating to others.
2.Barbe was very conscious of the need for reform in the Church. Strikingly, many of the people who flocked to her were themselves reformers. As previously mentioned, she herself spearheaded the Carmelite renewal in France and played a most influential role in that of the Ursulines and the Benedictines. She also had significant links with the reform of the secular clergy through her contacts with Bérulle and his Congregation of the Oratory, with Olier and the priests of St. Sulpice, with Bourdoise and the foundation of a community of priests and the seminary of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, and probably with Vincent de Paul, who was later a driving force in the renewal of the clergy.
3.Love of the truth lies very close to the center of Barbe's spirituality. As mentioned earlier, this stood out in her children's mind when they recalled their upbringing. For Barbe, it was also a crucial criterion in vocational discernment. She rejected a candidate who had been warmly recommended by Duval, telling him: "She is not frank. Her lips do not agree with her heart. The Spirit of God does not dwell in a person like that. If she became a religious she would soon leave, or if she did not leave she would be the source of all sorts of trouble." On the other hand she urged the reception of a young woman who recognized her many failings. "Her spirit is simple and open," Barbe commented, "that is what is needed in a religious."
4.She was also strikingly humble. As one might imagine, her mystical experiences aroused much curiosity in others. People stopped to point her out on the street at times. Others praised her in her presence. She found all of this trying, since her own evaluation of extraordinary phenomena was quite sober. In addition, a long line of people came to consult her on all sorts of spiritual matters. She seems to have borne all this with considerable equanimity, though at times with some embarrassment. Her daughter Marguerite testified: "I could not help admiring my mother who, after being visited by very many distinguished people, which happened every day, would return to her household duties with as calm a mind as if she had merely seen members of her own family. That always gave me a vivid impression of her holiness." Another friend, Madame de Meignelay, noted: "Neither the honors paid to her on all sides nor the marks of esteem that were shown to her by high-placed persons in the state, nor even the dependence on her counsel shown by illustrious prelates and the most famous Church people (for they consulted her on the most difficult matters) were ever the cause of her forming a good opinion of herself."
5.Barbe was convinced, as she often remarked to Duval, that God gives special light to people to see the obligations of their state in life and, having seen them, to carry them out. She was very faithful to her duties as a mother, giving them preference over all the other activities in her life. Pierre and her children came first. Her husband sometimes did not share her enthusiasm for her many charitable causes, but he regarded her as a wonderful wife. Barbe, for her part, believed deeply that God spoke to her principally within the context of the life she had chosen. Fidelity to the obligations of her state in life became a keystone in her spirituality. She lived joyfully and faithfully as a wife and mother during the 31 years of her marriage to Pierre. Likewise, she was quietly faithful in her four years in the cloister.
THE FINAL YEARS
After Pierre's death in 1613, Barbe joined the Carmelites as a lay sister. At her own request she worked in the kitchen (though people continued to flock to her for spiritual direction, at times to the delight of her superiors and at times to their chagrin!). She was sent first to the community at Amiens, and then to Pontoise. But these final years were not without difficulties.
In 1616 a newly elected prioress in Amiens, Anne de Viole, caused her considerable suffering, humiliating her publicly on a number of occasions and forbidding her to offer direction to sisters who were seeking her out. Barbe bore this with calm and courage. The situation was ironic in that, though she was a lay sister, Barbe herself had been proposed by the sisters to be the prioress. But André Duval had refused to confirm her election, to her relief, and only then did the lot fall to Anne de Viole.
A second trial came in her increasingly strained contacts with Bérulle, who had been one of her closest collaborators (and was also her cousin). Shortly before her death, their relationship broke down irreparably (a similar rupture occurred, at about the same time, in Bérulle's relationships with André Duval and Vincent de Paul). The break between Barbe and Bérulle, which culminated a long series of events, came when he attempted to impose a fourth vow, of slavery to Our Lord and to the Blessed Mother, upon the Carmelites. Barbe believed that the vow had very little to do with the spirituality of Teresa of Avila and had much to do with that of Bérulle. She was very firm in opposing it. Bérulle became furious at her reaction, and though Barbe was quite sick, he said very harsh things to her, telling her that she had a petty mind and had bungled everything that she had ever undertaken. A few days later she entered her last illness.
Madame Acarie died on April 18, 1618, at the age of 52, much loved by her children, her Carmelite sisters, and her friends. Bremond expresses this appreciation of her:
Her ecstacies were but signs, as a light hung out for travelers seeking their way at night. Their attention was caught at first by such extraordinary phenomena, but they soon learned from her truths far simpler and of quite different import. Her message consisted of a sentence from the gospel, the full sense of which only mystics realize, "The Kingdom of God is within you."
Bruno de Jésus-Marie, OCD. La Belle Acarie, Bienheureuse Marie de l'Incarnation. Paris and Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1942.
Benedict of Canfield, an English Capuchin, named William Fitch (1562-1611), having been converted from Puritanism, took refuge in France. He had enormous influence on his contemporaries and was a much sought-after spiritual director. Bremond states that his Rule of Perfection was the manual for two or three generations of mystics, calling him "the teacher of teachers." Cf. Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux en France (Paris, 1916 and 1928), II:155-58, as well as VII:266. Bremond's work also appears in an English translation, which will be used for all further citations. Cf. H. Bremond, A Literary History of Religious Thought in France: From the Wars of Religion Down to Our Times. Vol. II: The Coming of Mysticism (1590-1620), translated by K. L. Montgomery (London: SPCK, 1930). Cf. also T. Davitt, "An Introduction to Benet of Canfield," Colloque 16 (1987) 268-82.
Bremond, A Literary History, 145.
André Duval, La Vie Admirable de la Servante de Dieu, soeur Marie de l'Incarnation, connue dans le monde sous le nom de Mlle. Acarie (Paris, 1621, 1893) 63. All page references are to the 1893 edition.
Nicolas Avrillot became involved with the Ligue and was subsequently ruined because of his connection with it. After the death of his wife, he became a priest.
Bremond, op. cit., 151.
He was nicknamed, by his critics, as the Ligue's "lackey."
Cf. Duval, op. cit. 21-22.
Duval, op. cit., 346.
Duval, op. cit., 77.
Duval, op. cit., 45.
Duval, op. cit., 50.
Duval, op. cit., 44.
Duval, op. cit., 549-550.
J.-B. Boucher, La Vie Chrétienne de la Vénérable soeur Marie de l'Incarnation (Paris, 1800, 1893) 190.
Boucher, op. cit., 159.
Boucher, op. cit., 238-240.
Lancelot Sheppard, Barbe Acarie (London: Burns, Oats and Washbourne, 1953) 106.
Just as I was finishing this article, I received a copy of a paper by Lawrence Cada, SM, entitled "Madame Acarie," prepared for a symposium on the "French School of Spirituality." Cada gives a rather complete biography. The interested reader might wish to consult: Bremond, Henri. A Literary History of Religious Thought in France. Volume 2, "The Coming of Mysticism" (1590-1620). London: SPCK, 1930; de Broglie, Emmanuel. "Acarie (Barbe)." Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. 1, cols. 254-59. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1912 and La Bienheureuse Marie de l'Incarnation: Madame Acarie (1566-1618). Collection "Les Saints." Paris: Victor Lecoffre, 1903; Florin, V. "Marie de l'Incarnation, bienheureuse (1566-1618)." Catholicisme, vol. 8, cols. 640-41. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1980; Houssaye, Michel. M. de Bérulle et les carmélites de France (1575- 1611). Paris: Henri Plon, 1872; Marduel, M. Madame Acarie et le Carmel français. Lyon and Le Puy: Xavier Mappus, 1963; Marie-Thérèse de Saint-Joseph. "Marie de l'Incarnation (bienheureuse)." Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, vol. 10, cols. 486-87. Paris: Beauchesne, 1980; Mellot, Jean-Dominique. Histoire du Carmel de Pontoise. Volume 1 (1605-1792). Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1994; Menzies, Lucy. "Madame Acarie, 1566-1618." Chapter (pp. 229-57) in Mirrors of the Holy: Ten Studies in Sanctity. London: A. R. Mowbray, 1928; Morgain, Stéphane-Marie, OCD. Pierre de Bérulle et les Carmélites de France: La querelle du governement 1583-1629. Paris: Cerf, 1995; Rapley, Elizabeth. The Dévotes: Women and Church in Seventeenth-Century France. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press: 1990; Salmon-Malebranche, A. R. Madame Acarie: Bienheureuse Marie de l'Incarnation. Pontoise: Carmel de Pontoise, 1977. Reprinted with new illustrations by Association du Vert Buisson (Pontoise, 1987); Sheppard, Lancelot C. Barbe Acarie: Wife and Mystic. New York: David McKay, 1953.
Bremond, op. cit., 193.