My fellow Proverbs 31 Women in Progress,
Last week, I stumbled upon some lessons from Anne de Beaujeu and they reminded me of the ideal of the Proverbs 31 woman. I must say I was so stunned that I couldn’t wait sharing them with you!
Let’s get started!
Who was Anne de Beaujeu?
Anne de Beaujeu
Anne de Beaujeu was born in 1461 and was the daughter of the French King Louis XI and his wife Charlotte of Savoy. She married Pierre II of Bourbon when she was twelve. The marriage produced a child called Suzanne.
Before he died, her father entrusted her the regency of the Kingdom of France, as well as the education of her younger brother Charles, who was the king-to-be. Indeed he said that she was the “less foolish woman in his kingdom” – this is a huge compliment!
After her father’s death, she managed to bring peace to the kingdom, to submit the aristocrats who wanted to revolt against the royal authority and to defend her brother’s interests.
However, as time went by, her brother discreetly started to take décisions which were contrary to her political conceptions. Seeing that her brother wanted the power for himself, she gracefully and discreetly retired from politics and dedicated herself to the education of her daughter and the management of her estate.
Because of her wisdom and power, she was also entrusted the education of some young girls of aristocratic lineage. Among them were Louise of Savoy, the mother of Francis I, one of the greatest King of France; and Diane de Poitiers, one of the greatest royal mistress in French history!
She wrote a book entitled Enseignements à ma fille Suzanne (Teachings to my daughter Suzanne), which was the ultimate reference for the education of young aristocratic French girls during the Renaissance era.
She died in 1522.
Now that we have some elements of the background of this remarkably wise woman, let’s see what she taught her daughter and other girls she educated!
Anne de Beaujeu recommended that women should fear God and His commandments. According to her, fearing God would enable women to avoid temptations from the world and the flesh.
Women should flee from lying (lies are the origin of all vices), and taunting other people (it’s a sign of poor intelligence).
Above all, Anne de Beaujeu recommended to flee from idleness, which she calls the “devil’s daughter”. To do so, she advised to be charitable, to have positive thoughts and read good books, such as religious and philosophical books; as well as books from wise men/women.
An honorable woman should be clothed with modest apparel and avoid being ridiculous with extravagant and tight clothes. She praised simple and comfortable clothing.
She also advised women to age gracefully, dress their age and not try to imitate their daughters in order to appear younger.
A woman’s conversation should be honest, fair, courteous and pleasant. She shouldn’t encourage men to be romantically attracted to her, and if it should happen, she should excuse herself with sweet and humble words.
A woman should be always poised, be soft-spoken, have a humble look and keep her word.
A woman should be measured in her speech: she shouldn’t talk too much and watch her words.
An honorable woman should avoid scandal and keep her hands off the cookie jar.
Also, a woman should be joyful and merry! She must not be like gloomy women that everybody avoids like the plague!
A woman should obey and love her husband, not humiliate him publicly, serve him and be sweet and lovely. She shouldn’t show any sign of jealousy.
Women should take care of the education of their children and be especially attentive to their daughters, as long as they are young, because they can be easy preys for temptations of all sorts.
However, mothers should allow her children to have helthy and innocent distractions, and can even participate to their games, if she wishes.
Anne de Beaujeu recommended to widows to be patient and wise, and not to easily erase their husbands’ memory from their life, as foolish women do. She also said that widows should fast and pray often.
Women should behave with kindness and simplicity, comfort people who are weary, visit the sick, and send them gifts which can be pleasant to them.
Being an excellent hostess
Women should always be gracious and humble to people who come to her. They should be approachable and not be proud of their lineage or their names, so that they would be loved by many. They shouldn’t despise anyone, whatever their social status may be.
Anne de Beaujeu also advised to show your guests that you care about them and to adapt your conversation according to their backgrounds. Don’t talk too much about yourself; be humble and honor your guests.
Your home should always be neat, and honorable. Your home must not be the center of gossips.
You should reprimend your servants with kindness; however, if they persevere in their bad behavior, don’t bother to insist and get rid of them!
To conclude, life lessons from Anne de Beaujeu evolve around four qualities: humility, gentleness, honesty, and kindness.
What do you think about life lessons from Anne de Beaujeu? Please share your point of view!