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By Jacqueline Pascal

Jacqueline Pascal (1625-1661) used to be the sister of Blaise Pascal and a nun on the Jansenist Port-Royal convent in France. She was once additionally a prolific author who argued for the non secular rights of girls and the ideal of conscientious objection to royal, ecclesiastic, and kin authority.

This booklet offers choices from the entire of Pascal's occupation as a author, together with her witty adolescent poetry and her pioneering treatise at the schooling of girls, A Rule for Children, which drew on her studies as schoolmistress at Port-Royal. Readers also will locate Pascal's devotional treatise, which matched each one second in Christ's ardour with a corresponding advantage that his girl disciples may still domesticate; a transcript of her interrogation by way of church experts, during which she defended the arguable theological doctrines taught at Port-Royal; a biographical caricature of her abbess, which awarded Pascal's perception of the appropriate nun; and a variety of letters delivering lively defenses of Pascal's correct to perform her vocation, despite patriarchal objections.

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This confluence of witty salonnière style with the somewhat dour theology of Jansenism lends a distinctive voice to her argument. Shortly after her death Jacqueline Pascal’s works began to influence the Jansenist movement and the broader Catholic community. The publication of A Rule for Children in 1665 established her as the preeminent female voice in Jansenist education. Her pedagogical theories influenced neo-Jansenist experiments in education for girls. Numerous commentators in the late nineteenth century, both Catholic and secular, studied her treatise and her educational initiatives at Port-Royal as pioneering experiments in the education of women.

23 For this translation I used the Faugère edition as the major source, taking account of variants in the Cousin and the Mesnard editions. I also consulted the Faugère archives in the Bibliothèque Mazarine24 to illuminate Faugère’s editorial decisions. The Faugère edition of Jacqueline Pascal’s works commends itself on several counts. Since its appearance in 1845, it has proved remarkably accurate and durable. The discovery of numerous Jansenist manuscripts and printed works since then has not altered the canon of Jacqueline Pascal as fixed by Faugère.

Her Memoir of Mère Marie Angélique8 and numerous letters carefully evoke the moral temperament of a particular person. The Rouen years also witnessed a religious turning point for the Pascals: their entry into the Jansenist movement. In 1646 Étienne Pascal fell and broke his hip. By expert manipulation of the bones two folk practitioners managed to heal the fracture. Religiously motivated in their service to the sick, the healers explained their attachment to the Port-Royal convent in Paris. 11 Previously perfunctory in their Catholic prac7.

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