"La Mariée Veuve" (The Bride Widow) is an anonymous
late 18th Century French Carol about/for Marie
Madeleine; a French woman of inspiration and courage.
From Châteauroux, she was a young bride and became a
widow. Her new husband Joseph caught typhoid fever and,
for six months he was desperately ill. Despite
Victoire's care, died less than a year after their
marriage. His funeral with solemn Requiem took place in
the Cathedral where they had married. Victoire, who was
pregnant, was stunned by grief and the town was shocked
by the untimely death of this generous and loving young
As a mother and widow, while waiting, searching and
constantly doing good to others, she was inspired by
the spirit of Ignatius of Loyola as she saw it lived in
the lives of the Jesuits at St. Acheul, Amiens and as
she imbibed it in her conversations with Fr. Varin SJ.
Eventually, after profound spiritual experiences,
accompanied by many trials and difficulties, and in the
wider context of post-revolutionary France, she became
a religious sister and foundress of a group of Catholic
sisters known as the Faithful Companions of Jesus.
Baptised Marie Madeleine Victoire, the foundress was
called Gigi as a child, Victoire as a young woman and
Madame Joseph as a young wife and widow. To others, she
was Madame d'Houët.
Although originally written for folk instrumentation
and voice, I created this arrangement for Flute and
Concert (Pedal) Harp.