The Spiritual Leadership of Madame Guyon and Madame de Maintenon under Louis XIV

  • Sydney Watts
Part of the Jepson Studies in Leadership book series (JSL)


A woman, born into poverty, suffers childhood neglect, and later, sexual advances of a much older man. In her early adulthood she breaks free of household authority and finds her way independent of a spouse, but still subject to the rule of men. Fearlessly, she steps out into the world and becomes a woman of prominence. Other women see her rise as evidence of a certain social magnetism and hard-won, self-determination; to her, it is a response to what she has gained from her past suffering, and, perhaps, it leads her to what her heart desires: greater spiritual intimacy and honesty. Living in a world that affords her financial security and educational opportunity, she develops an acute intellect. The public recognizes her beauty—what is seen as charm and grace, while she regards it with caution (an inner-conflict?) for its powerful effect on others. She reaches a point in her life when her conscience is awakened. Faith in a loving god, which was nurtured when young, now becomes a source of strength and a voice that calls her to lead other women, to teach them to see themselves as a spiritual force.


Seventeenth Century Female Education Spiritual Leadership Female Leadership Religious Pluralism 


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© Sydney Watts 2016

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  • Sydney Watts

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