Jeanne Marie Guyon
French Religious Writer
1648 – 1717 A.D.
Jeanne Marie Guyon, a French religious writer, remembered for the persecutions she experienced because of her views. Accused of laying too much stress on faith and the quietude of contemplation, she was frequently imprisoned, and finally banished from Paris to Blois, where her retreat became a regular place of pilgrimage for admirers, foreign quite as often as French. Indeed she is one of the many prophetesses whose fame has stood highest out of their own country, though Madame Guyon’s bitterest critics bear witness to her charm of manner, her imposing appearance and the fore and eloquence with which she explained her mystical ideas.
The religion of Quietism, that swept through France, Italy and Spain during the seventeenth century, was the name given to a tendency shown at various periods in the history of the Church by many classes of mystical religious enthusiasts, to make perfection on earth consist in a condition of uninterrupted contemplation. In this state of quiet the soul ceases to reason, to reflect either on itself or God, or to form any of the ordinary acts of faith, its sole function being passively to receive the infused heavenly light which accompanies this state of mental inactivity. This type of effort for mystic experience is not confined to Christianity, but pervades all mysticism, being especially visible in Hindu philosophy. In England the Quakers, in their doctrines of the inner light and of silent waiting before God, show Quietistic ideas.
The first of modern Quietistic was the Spanish priest Molinos, and its most famous devotee, Madame Guyon, whose gentle but powerful influence at the French court led into the same mode of thought the saintly Fénelon, and other distinguished teachers. Mme. Guyon’s views gained so many adherents as to bring her under the notice of the Church leaders, who easily found heretical elements in the movement, and it speedily fell under ecclesiastical condemnation. Bishop Bossout employed his great talents aainst it, and as a distinct movement it disappeared; but wherever mysticism arises, Quietism is sure to appear in some form or other.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.