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Marie Dentiere d. 1561

Daughter of a noble family, Marie left the Augustinian convent of Tournai in the early 1520s as Martin Luther’s ideas gained currency in northern France and the Low Countries. She had adopted the views of the religious reformers.This was an ecclesiastical and perhaps a civil crime, and Marie fled to Strasbourg, a refuge for Protestants from both Germany and France.

Dentière's work stresses the importance of the Reformation, but also the need for a larger role for women in religious practice. To Dentière, women and men were equally qualified and entitled to the interpretation of Scripture and practice of religion. In Geneva in 1536, following the successful rebellion against the Duke of Savoy and the local prince-bishop, Dentiere composed The War and Deliverance of the City of Geneva. The work was published anonymously, and called for Genevans to adopt the Reformation. In 1539, Dentière wrote an open letter to Marguerite of Navarre, sister of the King. The letter, called the Epistre tres utile, or very useful letter, called for an expulsion of Catholic clergy from France, and criticized the foolishness of the Protestant clergy who compelled Calvin and Farel to leave Geneva. The letter was quickly suppressed due to its subversiveness. However her encouragement of female involvement in writing and theology angered Genevan authorities, and no other female writings were published in the city for the rest of the 16th century.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

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