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Fénélon, François de Salignac de la Mothe
a famous French prelate and writer, born in the Château de Fénélon, in the prov. of Périgord; at the age of 15 came to Paris, and, having already displayed a remarkable gift for preaching, entered the Plessis College, and four years later joined the Seminary of St. Sulpice, where he took holy orders in 1675; his directorship of a seminary for female converts to Catholicism brought him into prominence, and gave occasion to his well-known treatise "De l'Éducation des Filles"; in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he conducted a mission for the conversion of the Huguenots of Saintonge and Poitou, and four years later Louis XIV. appointed him tutor to his grandson, the Duke of Burgundy, an appointment which led to his writing his "Fables," "Dialogues of the Dead," and "History of the Ancient Philosophers"; in 1694 he became abbé of St. Valery, and in the following year archbishop of Cambrai; soon after this ensued his celebrated controversy with Bossuet (q. v.) regarding the doctrines of Quietism (q. v.), a dispute which brought him into disfavour with the king and provoked the Pope's condemnation of his "Explication des Maximes des Saints sur la Vie intérieure"; the surreptitious publication of his most famous work "Télémache," the MS. of which was stolen by his servant, accentuated the king's disfavour, who regarded it as a veiled attack on his court, and led to an order confining the author to his own diocese; the rest of his life was spent in the service of his people, to whom he endeared himself by his benevolence and the sweet piety of his nature; his works are extensive, and deal with subjects historical and literary, as well as philosophical and theological (1651-1715).
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