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Examples of penitence

In my investigations into the legacy of our wonderful St Teresa, I have come across all kinds of people whom she has profoundly influenced down the centuries. A fascinating instance is that of the French noble lady Louise de la Valliere (1644-1710). At a young age she became the mistress of the notorious married French King Louis XIV and had his children. She gradually came to realise that her way of life was not pleasing to God and joined with others at Court who were trying to live a truly Christian life in their situation. She began to simplify her lifestyle and turned to the study of Teresa's Way of Perfection - which touched her very profoundly. Her spiritual advisers - one of whom was the celebrated preacher Bossuet - recommended Carmel to her, and she eventually fled the Court and took refuge in a Carmelite monastery. She lived out her days there from 1674 onward as an exemplary member of the Community, thankful to have been given the chance to do penance for her sins.

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