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Francoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon: 1635 – 1719

In 1669 Francoise d'Aubigné became the governess for the children of Mme de Montespan and Louis XIV and gradually supplanted Mme de Montespan in the esteem and affections of the king. In 1678, the king gave her the title of Marquise de Maintenon after the name of her estate. In 1684 she became first lady-in-waiting to the Dauphine, and in the winter of 1685-1686 she was married to the king in a private ceremony by François de Harlay de Champvallon, Archbishop of Paris. Owing to the disparity in their social status, she could not marry the king openly and become queen, and the marriage was morganatic. No written proof of the marriage exists, but that it took place is nevertheless accepted by historians.

In 1686 she founded Saint-Cyr-l'École, a school for poor girls of good families. The king endowed St-Cyr at her request, using the funds of the Abbey of St. Denis. Madame de Maintenon drew up the rules of the institution and attended to every detail. She was considered a born teacher and a friendly, motherly influence on her pupils, who included Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy. Racine wrote Esther and Athalie for the girls at St-Cyr, and Chamillart became controller-general of the kingdom's finances because he had managed St-Cyr so well.



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.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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