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Abandonment to Divine Providence

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Jean Pierre de Caussade (7 March 1675 - 8 December 1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer. He is especially known for the work ascribed to him, Abandonment to Divine Providence, and also his work with the Nuns of the Visitation in Nancy, France.

Jean Pierre de Caussade Caussade was born in Cahors, now in Lot, France. He was spiritual director to the Nuns of the Visitation in Nancy, France, from 1733 to 1740. During this time and after he left Nancy, he wrote letters of instruction to the nuns. Some material ascribed to him was first published in 1861 by Henri Rami re under the title " L'Abandon la providence divine".

However, according to research on The Treatise on Abandonment to Divine Providence, discussed in a paper by Dominique Salin SJ, emeritus professor at the Faculty of Theology at the Centre S vres, published in The Way, 46/2 (Apr 2007), pp. 21-36, "it now seems almost impossible that the author was in fact the Jesuit Jean-Pierre de Caussade" as "nothing in de Caussade's biography would suggest that this man was the author of a famous treatise" and the style of letters of spiritual direction that can genuinely be attributed to de Caussade "is far removed from the lyricism" marking it.

Whoever the author was, he or she believed that the present moment is a sacrament from God and that self-abandonment to it and its needs is a holy state - a belief which, in the theological climate of France at the time, was considered close to Quietist heresy. In fact, because of this fear (especially with the Church's condemnation of the Quietist movement), the work was kept unpublished until 1861, and even then they were edited by Rami re to protect them from charges of Quietism. A more authoritative version of these notes was published only in 1966. In his writings, the author is aware of the Quietists and rejects their perspective. Abandonment to Divine Providence has now been read widely for many year and is considered a classic in the spiritual life by Catholics and many others. Caussade spent years as preacher in southern and central France, as a college rector (at Perpignan and at Albi), and as the director of theological students at the Jesuit house in Toulouse, which is where he died. (wikipedia.org)