In the city of Montargis, where her father resided, was a seminary for the instruction of young girls, under the care of the Ursuline Nuns. The Ursulines are a sisterhood of religious persons, who bind themselves, in addition to other vows of a more strictly religious character, to occupy themselves in the education of children of their own sex. At the age of two years and a half, she was sent from home, and placed at the Ursuline Seminary, but remained there only for a short time. When she was taken from the Ursuline Institution, she remained for a time at the residence of her parents; but for some reason not clearly understood, but probably in part from an imperfect view of the value of parental influence, was left by her mother chiefly in the care of the domestics of the family. In after life she refers to this period as one in which her mental and moral culture, such as she was even then capable of receiving, was not properly attended to. She speaks of it also as a period in which she incurred, in repeated instances, those dangers, from which she sometimes narrowly escaped, which are incidental to the sports and to the thoughtless and venturesome spirit of childhood. But God, who had designs of mercy for her own soul, and through her instrumentality for the souls of others, protected her.
It was in the year 1652, that a lady of distinguished rank, the Duchess of Montbason, who wished probably to avail herself of the means of religious retirement and instruction which they afforded, came to reside with the Benedictines, another religious body, distinct from the Ursulines, who had established themselves at Montargis. The daughter of M. De La Mothe was then four years of age. At the solicitation of the Duchess, who was an intimate acquaintance and friend of her father, and who said it would be a source of great satisfaction to her to have the company of his little daughter, she was placed with the Benedictines.
"Here I saw," she says, in the Account of her Life, which she afterwards wrote, "none but good examples; and as I was naturally disposed to yield to the influence of such examples, I followed them when I found nobody to turn me in another direction. Young as I was, I loved to hear of God, to be at church, and to be dressed in the habit of a little Nun.”
[TO BE CONTINUED]
— from The Life of Madam Guyon (1877) Volume 1, Chapter 1.