Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Feminine

Address delivered March 19, 2016 at Centre Sevres in Paris.
By Marie Bayon de la Tour,
Great Niece of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

It is not that I have already taken hold of it (righteousness) or have already attained it in perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ (Letter from St Paul to the Philippians 3:12)


If ever there was a delicate subject, it’s a religious man’s relationship with women. The life of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a charming man with an apparently free-spirited existence, is no exception to the rule.1  If he had many great female friends, we mustn’t forget that he also had many male friends who were pillars for him: Fathers Pierre Charles, Auguste Valensin, Henri de Lubac, Bruno de Solages and Pierre Leroy2, to name but a few religious, not forgetting lay friends, scientific or otherwise.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s life, work and thought are extremely coherent. As a son of Saint Ignatius, he lived in the world and, as it were, “confronted” it in all its dimensions. The “feminine” is a fundamental dimension, and he never avoided or obscured it. But doesn’t he take too many risks?

Courageously, however, he sought to integrate all the dimensions of women in the Church and in his vision of the universal Christ. The usual “disposition” of a religious towards the feminine, a hundred years ago, was certainly not similar to that of today. We can follow this quest throughout his work, even if it is only explicitly expressed in three texts: “The Eternal Feminine” (1918)3, “The Evolution of Chastity” (1934)4 and the end of “Heart of Matter”, entitled “The Feminine or the Unitive”5 in 1950.

We thought it would be interesting to draw a parallel between the main female encounters in his life – broadly defined – and what he himself says or expresses about them in his correspondence, essays and diaries. For, as with other themes in his life, Father Teilhard never ceased to question and deepen his vision of “the feminine”, and we can follow this evolution in his writings.

This parallel between his life and his work will be studied in three stages, starting with (1) the women of his childhood. Then, (2) his cousin Marguerite who establishes “the bridge”:  female encounters in Paris and around the world. Finally, (3) we conclude with a brief study of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and female relationships.

1. The women of his childhood

    In his autobiographical essay “Heart of Matter”6, written in 1950, 5 years before his death, Pierre Teilhard himself acknowledges what his mother passed on to him, and speaks of her “radiance”7. He said of her: “Attentive, her beautiful, serious face seemed to be illuminated from within”8, a face that revealed for him a little of God’s love.  His brother Joseph wrote: “My mother knew how to meditate: apart from Pierre, Marguerite-Marie and Gabriel, her children were not nearly as capable”, and he added: “From time to time, she would bring in preachers of her choice to the old churches of Orcines or Luzillat. I especially remember Fr Matheo, a zealot for devotion to the Sacred Heart…/…. We know that Father Teilhard saw the Sacred Heart as the place where the conjunction of the Divine and the Cosmic is realized. Referring to his mother, Father Teilhard says in the same text from “Heart of Matter”: “A spark had to fall on me, to make the fire spring forth. Now, this spark by which ‘my Universe’, still only half-personalized, would complete its centering by priming itself, it was undoubtedly through my mother, from the Christian mystical current, that it illuminated and ignited my infant soul”9. So, as Father Teilhard looks back on his life, he never forgets the spiritual heritage passed on by a mother who not only had a very lively faith and a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart, but also a constant concern for others and their spiritual awakening.

    Two of Pierre’s sisters died young, and while the first died before he was born, Louise’s death at the age of 13 affected him10; he was confronted with death at an early age. But his other two sisters, Françoise and Marguerite-Marie Teilhard de Chardin, cannot be ignored. “I am convinced”, says his cousin Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, “that his two sisters, after their mother, made the most penetrating first impressions on Pierre Teilhard”.

    His sister Françoise (1879- 1911), who entered the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1903, was very close to Pierre. This entrance was a real spiritual battle, one that she fought with the support of her brother Pierre. It was to Françoise that Pierre once said (circa 1900-1901): “You’re looking at your crucifix backwards, it’s not just the cross you have to see, it’s Jesus Christ on it”, and she said: “You have to give yourself to God in three appropriate ways: generously, simply and cheerfully”. 11

    His other sister Marguerite-Marie (1883-1936). Very ill, yet active beyond her years, she was also very close to Pierre. She was president of the Union Catholique des Malades, a network of prayer and mutual support for people who are ill. Marguerite Teillard-Chambon testifies: “Between her and Pierre, fraternal friendship had become an intimacy…they wrote to each other regularly, and they knew from each other everything that really mattered in their lives…their trust was mutual. Monique Givelet has written a book about Marguerite-Marie12, whose preface written by Pierre ends as follows:

    “O Marguerite, my sister, while, devoted to the positive forces of the Universe, I ran continents and seas, passionately busy watching all the Earth’s hues rise, you, motionless, stretched out, silently metamorphosed into light, deep within yourself, the worst shadows of the World. In the eyes of the Creator, tell me, which of us had the better part?”

    Pierre Teilhard was born and raised in a deeply Christian environment, surrounded by women of radiant faith, with whom he shared simple, trusting relationships. This trust in others was something he would later preserve, sometimes to the point of candor.

    2. Encounters in Paris and around the world

    Born in 1881, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1899, was ordained a priest in 1911 and arrived in Paris in 1912 to continue his training as a geologist and paleontologist at the MusĂ©um d’Histoire Naturelle. Here he met Ida Treat, an American journalist and paleontology enthusiast who was full of life and exuberance. Coming from a world very different from his own, she didn’t share his faith; she was an atheist and a Marxist. She later married Paul Vaillant-Couturier. Like so many others, as we shall see, she was certainly susceptible to Pierre’s charm. But she was intelligent enough to turn this attraction into a beautiful friendship, and they corresponded for the rest of their lives.13  “I have never met anyone so capable of ‘resonating’ with the suffering of others”, wrote Pierre Teilhard to Lucile Swan.14

    Father Teilhard was a loyal friend. His correspondence bears witness to the many exchanges he had with people from all walks of life throughout his life. It’s important to note that all his friends, men and women alike, forged bonds with each other, forming a kind of family around him.

    In Paris, he met up with Marguerite Teillard-Chambon (in literature, Claude AragonnĂšs 1880-1959), his cousin by birth. They met as children in Clermont-Ferrand.15 Adolescence separated them. At the age of 23 in 1904, she became was one of the first women in France to receive an advanced accademic degree in literature.  She was a beautiful, sensitive and cultured woman. In addition to their Auvergnat roots and shared vacations, they discovered that they were both driven by a deep spirituality. She devoted herself to teaching young girls. She introduced him to the intellectual Paris she was already frequenting. Letters written by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to Marguerite Teillard-Chambon during the war, published under the title “Making of a Mind16, show just how much Pierre needed her gaze: “My thoughts are searching and once again, I seek to clarify them by talking with you…you will tell me what you think of them”17.  Pierre Teilhard’s need to put forward his ideas18 and debate them is already apparent. And if he did so with men, it’s clear that he also needed feminine finesse and sensitivity: “…nothing developed in me but under the gaze and influence of a woman”, he writes in “Heart of Matter”19.  Is it his cousin he’s referring to in the same essay when he writes: “Having set out as a child to discover the Heart of Matter, it was inevitable that one day I would come face to face with the Feminine. The only curious thing is that, in this case, the encounter waited until my thirtieth year.”20 It’s very likely. Pierre Teilhard owes her a great deal, and she played an essential role in his life. Pierre Teilhard wrote in his diary, February 14 1917: “Who knows me but Marg?”


    In 1914, the war was on, he enlisted as a stretcher-bearer, and despite – and even stimulated! –  by a difficult existence, he wrote essays that he kept safe with his family. In these essays, reflections on the feminine appear regularly, and we can follow his thought.

    On September 2, 1915 – he was in the thick of battle – he noted in his diary, in view of the encounters he had made in the middle of the conflict21: “Never before have I been so aware of how much Christian morality is a conquered summit, which very few, in short, manage to hold, and whose possession by Humanity requires a continual struggle”. It’s a reflection firmly rooted in reality. Then he goes further in his analysis, noting: “The authentic, pure feminine is par excellence a luminous, chaste energy, the bearer of courage, ideals and goodness = the Blessed Virgin Mary. WOMAN is, in law, the GREAT SOURCE radiating purity. This is the fact, not sufficiently noticed, contradictory in appearance, that appeared with Christian virginity. Purity is above all a feminine virtue, because it shines eminently in women, and is preferably communicated through them, and has the effect of feminizing, as it were (in a very beautiful and mysterious sense of the word).”22

    In his study of “L’Eternel FĂ©minin” (The Eternal Feminine), Henri de Lubac points out that Father Teilhard wrote in his notebook on April 29, 1916: “Virginity: the certain intrusion of the Revealed into the cosmos”.24

    In 1917, in a spiritual essay entitled “Mystical Milieu”,25 he wrote: “True union is that which simplifies, that is, which spiritualizes”. Here we find his concept of “creative union”.

    In 1917-18 he was 36 years old, already a priest (1911) and about to take his vows as a Jesuit (1918). He wrote his famous essay “The Eternal Feminine”. It took him several months of trial and error to write this veritable poem (in prose). In his diary, he notes: “To write in the form of a (very broad) paraphrase of Wisdom”26, then – again in his diary -: “Not to seek the woman, but the Feminine in all women”27. We find this attitude again in the Eternal Feminine text. In an unprecedented move for a religious, Pierre Teilhard starts from his own experience to write this narrative, but he sees further ahead: “He who hears Jesus’ call does not have to reject love out of his heart. On the contrary, he must remain essentially human. He therefore needs me (it’s the eternal feminine speaking) to sensitize his powers, and awaken his soul to the passion of the divine.”

    This text is both an ode to love and a veritable compendium of his questions and visions of human love, human love being the sign and vector of divine love. Father Martelet28 writes: “There is a ‘real coherence between Teilhard’s spontaneous inclination and even impulse towards the feminine and towards Woman, and his passion for Christ’. And the eternal Feminine tells us: “In me, it’s God who awaits you”. 29


    When, after the war, he took his vows as a Jesuit on May 26, 1918, he said with clear-sightedness: “I will take a vow of poverty: never have I better understood how money can be a powerful means for the service and glorification of God. I will take a vow of chastity: never have I better understood how man and woman can complement each other to rise to God. I will take a vow of obedience: never have I understood better how God sets us free in his service.”30

    He resumes his teaching and research activities and, of course, interacts with women…

    For one of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s hallmarks was that he travelled the world. He met women from different horizons, women who were not always conventional. It’s important to place women in the context of the early 20th century. In these Western societies, a young girl was raised in anticipation of marriage. No one thought of developing in them anything other than homemaking and artistic talents.

    The women Fr. Teilhard met at the time were mostly outside this traditional pattern. They were more free, and sometimes paid dearly for their independence. They were also more available for conversation. They were often women with rich personalities. We have seen the commitment of Marguerite Teillard-Chambon who – like Madeleine DaniĂ©lou – was equipped with a solid intellectual background, and wanted to develop education for young girls. These were extraordinary women for their time.

    Was he as naĂŻve as people tend to say about his female relationships? In 1922, he wrote in his retreat diary: “To be absolutely transparent between God and them, joy in overcoming” and the next day in the same diary: “Spiritual friendships = spiritualized. You can’t eliminate what the heart shares: you have to assimilate it, go through it.”. Here we find what Edith de la HĂ©ronniĂšre called in her biography of P Teilhard: “The mysticism of experience”31 – An attitude so characteristic of his life, thought and faith, an attitude in which difficulty is neither concealed nor minimized, but in which the freedom – and therefore the dignity – of man is at stake in his determination to overcome this difficulty.

    On January 29, 1922, he wrote to Marguerite Teillard-Chambon: “I think that a man would have to be exiled to Mars, or to another Universe, to have any idea of the incredible tenderness that links him, unconsciously, to the bodies of all humans. How will this immense affection, of which family affections are probably only a pale reflection, be reawakened? –  In the meantime, it’s a good thing that we’re getting a glimpse of it, as you do.”32 Throughout his eventful life, in which he suffered intensely from not being able to express his deepest convictions, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin needed the kind of affection he so aptly described.

    In 1923, introduced by Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, he met LĂ©ontine Zanta. A woman as elegant and distinguished as she was intelligent, she had wanted to retain her independence and had refused to marry. The first female doctor of philosophy and a disciple of Bergson, she played a leading role in French feminism.33 In 1930, he wrote to her: “Try to make it clear in your lectures that there is a place for a new woman, between the servant and the ‘virago’; the place of someone who inspires, not only because she is beautiful, but because she understands”34 LĂ©ontine ran a Parisian intellectual salon where she received the elite of her time. She was a privileged witness to the evolution of Pierre Teilhard’s thinking. He was to be her spiritual adviser, and, fearing that his intelligence might supplant his mystical sense, he wrote to her: “Your true strength will always lie in the spiritual tension you will manage to maintain within yourself, through thought and contact with God.”35 They corresponded for the rest of their lives.

    At this time, he also met Simone BĂ©gouĂ«n, who had just married36 his dear friend Max BĂ©gouĂ«n. It was a sweet and fraternal affection: “Simone, dear …/…how is my “little sister” doing?” he writes37.  In 1933, she offered to mimeograph Father Teilhard’s works. She was to dedicate herself to disseminating them, a task Jeanne Mortier would later pursue.


    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin left for China in 1923, where he also met many people.

    In Peking in 1929, he met Lucile Swan, an American sculptor38 and painter. Lucile was divorced, born into a family of artists in the Episcopalian tradition, far removed from the world from which Father Teilhard came. Pierre Leroy wrote of Lucile: “A striking face, a quiet presence, a simple yet dignified bearing”.39 Their meeting was a shock, and a source of both joy and sorrow. Their correspondence – which our family wished to publish in conjunction with Lucile’s late niece, Mary Wood Gilbert40 – may be confusing, but it is moving and enables us to follow Fr. Teilhard’s openness and vision of the feminine. Lucile suffered and struggled to understand (perhaps she did at the end of her life?) what held him back from her in his fidelity to his vows. Like all the important events in his life, this encounter prompted him to reflect. He delved deeper into the meaning of his vow of chastity.

    Shortly afterwards, in 1931, in his essay “The Spirit of the Earth”, he wrote: “Love is the most universal, the most formidable, and the most mysterious of cosmic energies.”41

    In 1934, he wrote an essay entitled “The Evolution of Chastity”42, which he called a “draft outline” and felt he risked being misunderstood.43 He then wrote to Fr Valensin: “What I have written here is the best of what I have found to answer (to myself and to others) when, on three or four occasions, I have been put, for long periods, ‘up against the wall’. You may find this a weak triumph. But it’s because, really, I can’t see anything more.”44 He goes on to note in this essay the extent to which a woman can enrich a man, and then goes further: “Virginity rests on chastity like thought on life: through a reversal, or a singular point.”45  Such is the enthusiasm of a religious person passionately devoted to the  “Ever Greater Christ” which reminds us that the Church is first and foremost a mystery of love. He returned to his reflections in 1936 in “Outline of a Personal Universe”46 –  “Only those who love each other legitimately, whose passion leads both of them through each other to a higher possession of their being”.47

    In the letters to Lucile Swan, we find this proposal of a higher level of encounter, an attitude that was very difficult for her to live with, but one that reveals a mystic living with the intensity of union with the Universal Christ.  On May 15, 1936, he wrote to her: “You’re looking for a balance ‘Ă  deux’, and for me, it’s only a question of a balance ‘Ă  trois'”.48

     Lucile wrote in her diary on July 23, 1934: “I’d like to love God as P. T. does – perhaps that will come in time.”

    There is no evidence to doubt that Pierre Teilhard remained faithful to his vows. This is particularly clear in the correspondence that Lucile Swan herself entrusted to her niece Mary Wood Gilbert, asking her to make her point of view known. In the preface to this correspondence, Mary Wood Gilbert states: “I once asked Lucile if there had ever been any physical fulfillment between them. She replied: ‘Never'”.49

    In China, he also met Claude RiviĂšre, a French journalist for Shanghai radio. While the encounter was also an emotional one for her, she immediately understood her Jesuit friend’s vocation and what it entailed. Her very human analysis is worth quoting: “With women, he wore triple rose-colored glasses. Allergic to duplicity and lies, this great man of vast intelligence often lacked a critical mind when it came to judging men, let alone women. Let’s not forget that in his milieu, he had only known exceptional women: his mother, his sisters, his cousins, Simone BĂ©gouĂ«n, and so on.  And he had a real cult for femininity and the role it plays in evolution”.50

    Isn’t this the same wording Pierre Teilhard used in 1931 in “The Spirit of the Earth”? “The most expressive and profoundly true way to tell the story of universal evolution would undoubtedly be to retrace the evolution of love.”51


    Returning to Paris in 1946, Pierre Teilhard reunited with Jeanne Mortier, whom he had met in 1939. In 1951, he named her as legatee of his works. So it was to a woman that he entrusted the preservation and dissemination of his work. He knew he could rely on her dedication, efficiency and loyalty to his ideas.52 Jeanne Mortier was convinced of the value of Father Teilhard’s message, that it was a “word awaited”53 by many believers and non-believers alike. She devoted all her intelligence and energy to this task, until her death in 1982.

    Finally, in New York in 1951, he met up again with Rhoda de Terra, whom he had already met in China. She was the wife of Helmut de Terra, geologist and anthropologist, a friend of Fr. Teilhard from whom she had divorced.  A faithful and reassuring friend, she looked after him during his trip to South Africa in 1951. He died during tea at her home on April 10, 1955, Easter Sunday, as he had wished.54


    We should mention so many other women that he most often listened to, supported and guided.  Adrienne Croissant, Madame Haardt (widow of Georges-Marie Haardt, leader of the Yellow Expedition), Marthe Vaufrey, Dominique de Wespin… His mission as pastor is traceable in his letters, which are generally preserved by their correspondents.

    3. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and female relationships

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a man of great sensitivity. Sensitivity by nature, and sensitivity probably exacerbated by successive bereavements – sometimes experienced at a very young age – and by the ordeal of silence and exile imposed on him because of his writings. The few friends whose memory we have evoked, exceptional women for their generation – some of whom were academics and writers, others scientists, artists or theologians – contributed, as it were, to the elaboration of his essays, which were often subjected to their benevolent criticism.55 Some, as we have already mentioned, are undoubtedly the source of his texts on “the Feminine”. Still others, through their material assistance, helped to disseminate his writings.

    He is a man about whom much has been written, particularly on this subject. Wouldn’t some authors be tempted – as on other points of his thought and life – to project their own existence, their own questions and their own vision onto it? 

    Pierre Teilhard spent a large part of his life abroad, a life that was always rich in discoveries and human encounters. Thanks to an abundance of correspondence (the publication of which is not yet complete), we discover that it was among his many friends that he found the freedom to express his most intimate feelings and convictions. He wrote to one of his woman friends: “I find that the liveliness of my thought is increasingly coming to light outside the written essays, at random and under the excitement of letters to be written to this or that of my correspondents”.56 His correspondence bears witness not only to the major role played by friendship in his life, but also to the evolution of his thinking. It’s safe to say that the trust of these women, their affection and the transparency of the ties that bound them to him were a providential support in Pierre Teilhard’s life. We also know from their testimonies that, in turn, these friends were sensitive to their friend’s simplicity of heart and radiant personality.

    In all his letters to those close to him, men57 and women alike, we find these tender expressions. Here are just a few of them:

    To Ida Treat TrĂšs chĂšre amie…/… You know how deeply I remain yours (February 22, 1927).puissĂ©-je ĂȘtre pour vous la moitiĂ© de ce que vous ĂȘtes pour moi (June 30, 34), …. more affectionately than ever (May 6, 37)”.

    To Claude RiviĂšre. “Dear little Claude…/…Deeply, tenderly yours”. (October 20, 1943).

    To Lucile Swan “Dearest…/…Yours, so much”.

    To Lucile Swan « Dearest../
Yours, so much ».

    To Marguerite Teillard-Chambon “Dearest great friend…/ …You know I love you, yours. Pierre (September 1929),…and believe in what my heart keeps for you (March 6, 1934), …in great affection, always (March 6, 1954)”.58

    The uninformed reader might misinterpret the above expressions of affection.

    When I read “Making of a Mind”, I was tempted to put myself in Marguerite Teillard-Chambon’s shoes and wonder how I would have reacted to such expressions of affection from one of my cousins!

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin knew how to adapt to the sensibilities of his readers, and it was always with great humanity and discernment that he wrote his correspondence.59   His own sensitivity enabled him to reach people where they were at in their spiritual evolution. He knew the mode of expression – very much of his time – in which he can relate to them. Numerous testimonials attest to the attention he paid to each and every person. His benevolence is proverbial.60

    He always loved people: family, friends, work associates. Because he loved people, he sought the best path for them. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin always lived by one certainty: you can only convert what you love. He wrote: “Immerse yourself in order to emerge and lift yourself up”.61  And it was with all his humanity inhabited by his vision of Christ, with his fervent prayer and all his affectivity that he committed himself to the path of friendship. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw other dimensions in women, who inspired him and helped him to broaden his vision. The feminine helps man to tear himself away from himself to better reach God. On October 4, 1944, he wrote in his diary: “The problem that lies beneath Chastity: maximum spiritualization in its relationship with the Feminine. We now see that this is no longer a matter of separation, but of synthesis. Essentially, the Feminine is not a ballast (weight), but an upward force.” For him, this uprooting from himself must therefore be a process of growth.

    Whatever his encounters, his commitment to the Society of Jesus and the priestly path remained an inner necessity for him. A disciple of Saint Ignatius, he practiced his spiritual exercises, which aim to “conquer oneself and order one’s life without making any decisions based on disordered attachment”.62 His attentive support, friendly and spiritual guidance, and passion for Christ were often edifying for his friends, believers and non-believers alike.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin will always remain for them a luminous witness to the love of Christ that animated him.  We know that some will discover or rediscover their faith through him.

    Pierre Teilhard did not shy away from the difficulty of an overly dehumanizing attitude towards women on the part of many of his peers.  At the end of his life (1950), he wrote: “No more than light, oxygen and vitamins, man – no man – can (with increasing evidence) do without the Feminine”.63 These were certainly unconventional words for their time. Yet this can only resonate for us with what Pope Francis emphasized on April 22, 201564: “Without woman, man lacks ‘a communion, a fullness’: no ‘inferiority’ or ‘subordination’ in their relationship, for ‘man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary’.”

    A seeker of God and a mystic, Pierre Teilhard’s witness is a teaching for the Church. He knows that human love is inscribed in another far greater Love, which is its source. Divine love expands our capacity to love and give ourselves to others.

    Father Teilhard de Chardin confided to us in his diary in 1950: “Without an omega of love, the Earth would be uninhabitable…”.65


    In this year of the Jubilee of Mercy, when we are so often reminded of the tenderness of God’s heart, I would like to conclude by letting Father Martelet express his views on the subject presented here.

    “The humanity of a priest or religious is never exempt from an affectivity capable of being humanly grasped in the depths of oneself by the other. The example in this case is not primarily Fr. Teilhard, but Christ himself in the historicity of his relationship with the women of his time. Whether it’s the gestures of the Galilean woman at Simon the Leper’s house, the Syro-Phoenician woman on the fringes of Jewishness, the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well or Mary of Magdala in the garden of the Resurrection, Jesus allowed himself to be imbued by women with a tenderness and a love for God.”66


    1 Petite-fille de son frĂšre Joseph, j’ai grandi proche de lui ; Joseph est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 1978.

    2 Les lettres ont été publiées : « Lettres intimes de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin à Auguste Valensin, Bruno de Solages, Henri de Lubac, André Ravier » Aubier Montaigne. 1974 et pour le P Leroy : « Lettres familiÚres de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin mon ami, 1948-1955 ». Le Centurion. 1976

    3 Tome XII « Ecrits du temps de la guerre » p 279-291 Seuil. 1965. [Les Ɠuvres de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (PTC) sont publiĂ©es aux Ă©ditions du Seuil en treize volumes notĂ©s de I Ă  XIII]

    4 Tome XI « Les directions de l’avenir Â» p 65-92 Seuil. 1973.

    5 Tome XIII « Le CƓur de la matiĂšre Â» p 71-74 Seuil. 1976. Le titre lui-mĂȘme est rĂ©vĂ©lateur de sa vision.

    6 Tome XIII « Le CƓur de la matiĂšre Â» p21-92 Seuil. 1976.

    7 Tome XIII « Le CƓur de la matiĂšre Â» p25 Seuil. 1976.

    8 Dominique de Wespin : « Sarcenat, berceau des Teilhard de Chardin Â» p 6.

    9 Tome XIII « Le cƓur de la matiĂšre Â» p 51 Seuil. 1976.

    10 Marielle en 1881 Ă  4 ans  et Louise Ă  13 ans en 1904.

    11 Mémoires de Marguerite-Teillard-Chambon. Inédit.

    12 « L’Energie Spirituelle de la Souffrance, Ecrits et souvenirs prĂ©sentĂ©s par Monique Givelet » PrĂ©face du P Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Editions du Seuil. 1951.

    13 Des extraits des lettres Ă©crites par Pierre Teilhard (1926-1952) Ă  Ida Treat ont Ă©tĂ© publiĂ©s sous le titre « Accomplir l’homme » (l’autre correspondante du livre Ă©tant Rhoda De Terra) chez Grasset 1968.

    14 Paris NoĂ«l 1938 p 210. « PTC-Lucile Swan Correspondance Â» Lessius 2009.

    15A cette Ă©poque, Marguerite Ă©tait surtout trĂšs proche de ses sƓurs Françoise et Marguerite-Marie.

    16 « GenĂšse d’une pensĂ©e » Grasset 1961. Des extraits des lettres de 1923 Ă  1955 ont Ă©tĂ© publiĂ©es sous le titre « Lettres de voyage » Grasset 1956.

    17  Outre « GenĂšse d’une pensĂ©e », des extraits de leurs correspondances ont Ă©tĂ© publiĂ©s sous le titre de « Lettres de voyage » (Grasset), la version intĂ©grale reste Ă  publier.

    18 Pierre Teilhard, comme il le disait lui-mĂȘme procĂšde par tĂątonnements.

    19 T XII « Ecrits du temps de la guerre Â» p 70 Seuil. 1965.

    20 TXIII « Le CƓur de la matiĂšre Â» p 71 Seuil. 1976.

    21PTC « Journal Â»  p 103 2 septembre 1915. Fayard. 1975.

    22 PTC « Journal Â» p 104 2 septembre 1915. Fayard. 1975.

    23 Henri de Lubac « L’Eternel FĂ©minin Â» Aubier. 1983.

    24 Henri de Lubac « L’Eternel FĂ©minin » p 23 Aubier. 1983.

    25 TXII « Ecrits du temps de la guerre » p153-192 Seuil. 1976.

    26 PTC « Journal Â» 15 mars 1917 p 296. Fayard 1975.

    27 PTC « Journal Â» 20 septembre 1919. InĂ©dit.

    28 PĂšre Gustave Martelet sj : « PTC, ProphĂšte d’un Christ toujours plus grand » p 104 Lessius 2005.

    29 Tome XII « Ecrits du temps de la guerre Â» p 289 Seuil. 1965.

    30 « Biographie PTC » Claude Cuénot p 43 Plon. 1958.

    31 PTC « Notes de retraites Â» 25 et 26 juillet 1922 p 102 et 103 Seuil. 2003.

    32 Lettre à Marguerite Teillard-Chambon Paris 29 janvier 1922. Inédit.

    33 Il s’agit d’un fĂ©minisme chrĂ©tien pour, selon la propre expression de LĂ©ontine Zanta : « atteindre une vie large et pleine » in « LĂ©ontine Zanta » Henri Maleprade p 40. Editions Rive Droite 1997.

    34 Lettre PTC Ă  LĂ©ontine Zanta in« LĂ©ontine Zanta Â» Henri Maleprade p 176. Editions Rive Droite 1997.

    35 Lettre 24 janvier 1924 p 68-69 in Lettres PTC Ă  LĂ©ontine Zanta, DDB 1965.

    36 15 décembre 1922.

    37 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin « Le rayonnement d’une amitié ». Lettres Ă  la famille BĂ©gouĂ«n 14 avril 1939 p 146 Lessius 2011.

    38 C’est Ă  elle que le docteur Weidenreich confiera le soin de sculpter la tĂȘte Sinanthrope femelle (Nelly) Ă  partir des restes dĂ©couverts Ă  Chou-Kou-Tien.

    39 Souvenir du PÚre Leroy p 9 « PTC-Lucile Swan Correspondance » Lessius 2009.

    40 « PTC-Lucile Swan Correspondance » Lessius 2009.

    41 T VI « L’énergie humaine Â» p 40 Seuil. 1962.

    42 T XI « Les directions de l’avenir Â» p 65-92 Seuil. 1973.

    43 Il Ă©crit Ă  LĂ©ontine le 24 juin 1934 : » Cet, hiver, j’ai pu recommencer Ă  Ă©crire un peu 
une esquisse, moins au point, sur l’Evolution de la Chasteté /
le travail est encore dans mes tiroirs-parce qu’il risque d’ĂȘtre mal compris. Cependant c’est un effort absolument loyal et dĂ©sintĂ©ressĂ© pour essayer d’aller au fond d’une question qui me parait terriblement vitale et terriblement obscure. J’ai rassemblĂ© lĂ  tout ce que j’ai pu trouver au fond de mes Ă©vidences en face de questions et de dĂ©fis qui n’avaient rien d’abstrait pour constituer « la dĂ©fense » et surtout pour dĂ©finir la valeur ou l’essence « de la chasteté ». Il faudra que nous en discutions ensemble. Au fond, c’est simplement, mais dans toute son acuitĂ© ! le problĂšme de la MatiĂšre. » PTC Lettres Ă  LĂ©ontine Zanta p 124-125, DesclĂ©e de Brouwer 1965.

    44 Lettre au P Valensin 14 août 1934. Et cf note 27 Lettres intimes de Teilhard de Chardin p 281. Aubier. 1974.

    45 T XI « Les directions de l’avenir Â» p 90.Seuil. 1973.

    46 T VI « Les directions de l’avenir » p 67-114. Seuil. 1962.

    47 T VI « Les directions de l’avenir » p 93 Seuil. 1962.

    48 « PTC-Lucile Swan. Correspondance » p 109 Lessius. 2009. Il lui Ă©crit aussi le 14 novembre 1933 : « Mais, comme votre ami appartient Ă  un Autre, Lucile, il ne peut ĂȘtre vĂŽtre autrement qu’en Ă©tant simplement et momentanĂ©ment heureux avec vous.../
) p 39.

    49 « PTC-Lucile Swan. Correspondance » p 16 Lessius. 2009 et « The letters of Teilhard de Chardin & Lucile Swan » p 17 Georgetown University Press 1993. [1] Par ailleurs, nous savons que, jamais, il n’eut le moindre geste dĂ©placé  (tĂ©moignage du P Leroy etc

    50 Claude RiviĂšre « A PĂ©kin avec Teilhard Â» p 213. Seuil. 1968.

    51 T VI « Les directions de l’avenir Â» p 41 Seuil. 1962.

    52 Sur ce sujet du fĂ©minin, elle Ă©crit dans un commentaire de « L’éternel fĂ©minin » : « Que sont les unions terrestres en regard de celle en laquelle l’Eternel trouve son infinie bĂ©atitude ! Le Fils de Dieu qui, dans l’Eucharistie, nous donne sa divinitĂ©, est au sens absolu, « le pain en qui se trouvent toutes les dĂ©lectations ».   DĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 1982, elle a publiĂ© les « Lettres Ă  Jeanne Mortier » aux Editions Seuil, parues en 1982.

    53 Titre d’un essai du P Teilhard.

    54 Des extraits des lettres Ă©crites par Pierre Teilhard (1926-1952) Ă  Rhoda De Terra ont Ă©tĂ© publiĂ©s sous le titre « Accomplir l’homme » (l’autre correspondante du livre Ă©tant Ida Treat) chez Grasset, 1968.

    55 IsolĂ© en Chine, alors qu’il est en train de rĂ©diger le « PhĂ©nomĂšne humain », il parle Ă  Lucile de « nos Ɠufs » car il a besoin d’échanger, de confronter ses intuitions et ses idĂ©es avec elle. Il lui Ă©crit le 9 mars 1934 : « vous m’apportez ce dont j’ai besoin pour continuer le travail qui est devant moi : un flot de vie ». (PTC Lucile Swan. Correspondance p 41 Lessius. 2009.), Ă  rapprocher de cette phrase rĂ©digĂ©e en 1950 : « l’hommage gĂ©nĂ©ral, quasi-adorant, montant du trĂ©fonds de mon ĂȘtre, vers celles dont la chaleur et le charme ont passĂ©, goutte Ă  goutte, dans le sang de mes idĂ©es les plus chĂšres  » (T XIII « Le CƓur de la matiĂšre » p 72 Seuil. 1976).

    56« Lettres Ă  Maryse Choisy Â»; citĂ© par Ina Bergeron ; bulletin T. de Chardin n°22 ; DĂ©c 1996.

    57 Il lui arrive de terminer son courrier Ă  Pierre Leroy par : « trĂšs affectueusement Â».

    58 Nous trouvons aussi comme expressions communes dans sa correspondance : « je regarde vers l’ouest Â» (c’est-Ă -dire vers sa correspondante), « Vos lettres me sont une grande joie Â», Â« notre prĂ©cieuse rencontre Â» ou « je vous imagine à
(tel endroit) Â».

    59 Il faut garder Ă  l’esprit la formation spirituelle de P.T. aux exercices spirituels de St Ignace notamment Ă  la maniĂšre de faire une bonne et sainte Ă©lection.” Que chacun, en effet, se persuade qu’il progressera dans ses efforts spirituels Ă  proportion de ce qu’il sera dĂ©pouillĂ© de l’amour de lui-mĂȘme et de l’attachement Ă  son avantage personnel” (189) Exercices spirituels de Saint Ignace de Loyola; p. 104;  Seuil 1982.

    60 « Il avait une qualitĂ© rare chez les hommes de sa valeur : il savait Ă©couter les autres et paraĂźtre s’intĂ©resser Ă  leurs propos ; quand ceux-ci Ă©taient trop fantaisistes, il se contentait de sourire » PĂšre Leroy : « PTC tel que je l’a connu » p 33. Plon 1958.

    61 T IX « Quelques rĂ©flexions sur la conversion du monde Â» 1936. Â» p 166. Seuil. 1965.

    62 « Quelques exercices spirituels Â» (21) p 59 Seuil 1982. La version de 1548 est : Â« Par lesquels l’homme est conduit Ă  pouvoir se vaincre lui-mĂȘme et Ă  fixer son mode de vie par une dĂ©termination libre d’attachement nuisible Â»

    63 Cf aussi : [C’est] « en s’associant convenablement avec tous les autres que l’individu peut espĂ©rer atteindre la plĂ©nitude de sa personne »[1].   T V « L’Avenir de l’Homme » p 248 Seuil. 1959.

    64 CatéchÚse du mercredi matin (second récit de la Création, second chapitre de la GenÚse) Rome.

    65 PTC « Journal Â» 31 octobre 1950. InĂ©dit.

    66 PĂšre Gustave Martelet. Postface de la Correspondance de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin et Lucile Swan p. 425, Lessius 2009.

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