Jeanne’s Writings

From her earliest years Jeanne was curious and delighted in learning. Even so, according to the culture of her time, her formal education was limited. Because of this it was difficult for her to write. She did so at the urging of her spiritual directors who knew that her experience of intimacy with God could nurture God’s life in others.

Jeanne’s writings fill many volumes which have been preserved in one of the early French monasteries. Through the years they have been translated and some are privately published by the Order of the Incarnate Word.

Autobiography – Jeanne wrote the story of her life in 1642. Cardinal Armand de Richelieu, Prime Minister for Louis XIII, had heard of Jeanne’s writings that far surpassed her education. He asked his brother, Cardinal Alphonse Louis de Richelieu, to investigate. The latter unexpectedly went to the convent, took all of Jeanne’s writings, then ordered her to write her entire Autobiography including all the graces she had received from God. Within a few months Jeanne finished the task, a manuscript of 454 pages. For her, the autobiographical information was merely a framework for recounting the graces and gifts which God granted her. Cardinal Richelieu’s successor, Monseigneur de Neuville, returned the manuscript which is now preserved in the convent in Lyon. Today the autobiography is available in two volumes with the title, “Complete Works”. The translation to English was completed in 1993.

A Hundred Letters from The Correspondence of Jeanne Chézard de Matel – This volume offers selections from the correspondence of Jeanne. She wrote to her Sisters, to clergy, and to lay people. Her letters, which are preserved, include spiritual direction, business affairs, and three volumes of her letters, written from the 1620’s until her death in 1670, are preserved. Sister Kathleen McDonagh, who edited the collection of letters, wrote: “Her letters reveal [Jeanne] as pray-er, planner, foundress, friend, director, writer, diplomat, mother, sister, sufferer. Her letters are on-the-spot records of her immediate dreams, hopes, responses to call, and reactions to situations.”

The Spiritual Journal – This is a collection of Jeanne’s writings including her experiences in prayer, a rule, a vow formula, and other writings. It is a continuous diary of her life with God. This work is divided into two volumes (approximately 1500 pages) which contain the writings of Jeanne in chronological order.

Treatises – Jeanne’s treatises were written between the ages of 22 and 30 and includes writings on the Incarnation, the Church, Mary, the Song of Songs and the Beatitudes.

  • Treatise on the Three Sacred Marriages – “Marriage” here refers to the intimate relationship of Jesus to 1) Mary, 2) Church and 3) Jeanne and others who are in intimate union with Jesus.
  • Treatise on the Four Sacred Marriages – This transcript adds one “marriage” to the three written in the treatise above, that of humanity in the Incarnation.
  • Treatise on the Interpretation of the Song of Songs – Jeanne reflects on this book of Scripture as an intimate relationship between her and God.
  • Treatise on the Beatitudes – We have three writings of Jeanne by this title. She compares the spiritual life to a temple, with the eight beatitudes as the pillars: the peacemakers, the meek, the pure of heart, the merciful, those who mourn, those who hunger, and those who suffer persecution.


  • Biography of Mother St. Claire Valentine by Sister Alphonse Clark, IWBS, 1898.
  • Diamond Jubilee: Nazareth Academy by Sister Paul Regan, 1866.
  • Diamonds for the King by Sister Mary Xavier Holworthy, IWBS, Corpus Christi, 1945.
  • Fire That Resurges: Father Denis by G. P. Penaud, translated 1979.
  • Four Centuries of Pilgrimage: An Outline History of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament by Sister Kathleen McDonagh, 1999.
  • Jeanne Chézard de Matel and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word by John M. Lozano, CMF, 1983 – Includes Jeanne’s life, spirituality, mission and institution of the Order of the Incarnate Word.
  • Life of the Reverend Mother Jeanne Chézard de Matel, by Mother St. Pierre de Jesus Viffray, 1910.
  • Like A Crystal Vase by Sister Kathleen McDonagh, IWBS, Corpus Christi, 1995.
  • Memoirs Concerning Jeanne Chézard de Matel, by Mother Jeanne de Jesus de Bely.
  • Postitio for the Cause of the Servant of God, Jeanne Chézard de Matel, Vols. 1, 2, 1989.
  • Serving With Gladness by Sister M. Loyola Hegarty, CCVI, 1967.
  • The Life of Mother Jeanne de Matel, Foundress of the Order of the Incarnate Word by A. Gallitzin.
  • The Life of the Reverend Mother Jeanne Chézard de Matel, Foundress of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament by M. Saint-Pierre de Jesus, 1922.
  • The Way of the Cross – with texts taken from Scripture and from the Writings of Jeanne Chézard de Matel – compiled by Sister Kathleen McDonagh, 1998.
  • The Word From the Heart of Jeanne Chézard de Matel – quotations from the writings of Jeanne Chézard de Matel collected and edited by Sr. Mary Rose Kocab, SIW, Cleveland and Sr. Rose Miriam Gansle, IWBS, Corpus Christi, 1996.
  • The Word Lives Among Us (A Spiritual Journal of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas) by Sister Mary Loyola Hegarty, CCVI, 1999.
  • To Texas With Love by Mother M. Patricia Gunning, IWBS, Corpus Christi, 1971.
  • Treasured Heritage: Ever Ancient, Ever New by Sister Kathleen McDonagh, IWBS, Corpus Christi, 2008.
  • Venerable Mother Jeanne de Matel, Her Life, Her Spirit, Her Works by G.P. Penaud, 1889.
  • For more information about obtaining copies of Jeanne’s writings, please contact us.
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