Jeanne Guyon - Early Life and Marriage

Early Life and Marriage

Guyon was the daughter of Claude Bouvier, a procurator of the tribunal of Montargis. Of a sensitive and delicate constitution, she was sickly in her childhood and her education was neglected. Her childhood was spent between the convent, and the home of her well–to–do parents, moving nine times in ten years. Guyon's parents were very religious people, and they gave her an especially pious training. Other important impressions from her youth that remained with her came from reading the works of St. Francis de Sales, and from certain nuns, her teachers. At one time she wanted to be a nun, but soon changed her mind. She was also diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age.

When she was 16 years old, after turning down many other proposals, she married a wealthy gentleman of Montargis, Jacques Guyon, age thirty eight. During her twelve years of marriage, Guyon suffered terribly at the hands of her mother-in-law and maidservant. Adding to her misery were the deaths of her half sister, followed by her mother, her beloved son, and of her daughter and father who died within days of each other. Guyon continued belief in God's perfect plan and that she would be blessed in suffering. To this end she was, when she bore another son and daughter shortly before her husband's death. After twelve years of an unhappy marriage, Madame Guyon had become a widow at the age of 28.

During her marriage, Guyon became introduced to mysticism by Fr. François La Combe, a Barnabite, and was instructed by him.

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