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Meet the 1700s black nun who was of French royalty

February 03, 2019 at 11:00 am | History

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

February 03, 2019 at 11:00 am | History

The story of Louise Marie Thérèse,  a black nun who lived in France from 
1664 to 1732 comes with several theories that have left many to conclude that she is a fictional character whose story has been wrongly added to history. However, several sources have indicated that the nun did exist despite less information about her early life.

Lousie Marie Thérèse became a nun in 1695 at the time when slavery was still very much in existence, making her story a very rare one and the possibilities of her royal lineage equally true. After living all her life in the convent where she was sent as a baby, she became known as Mauresse de Moret which translates into the Moorish nun of Moret or the Black Nun of Moret after becoming a Benedictine nun.

According to a talk given by Dr Diala Touré, an internationally recognized art expert, Louise Marie Thérèse was the illicit child of Marie Theresa of Spain who became the Queen of France after marrying King Louis XIV. For several years, Queen Marie Theresa dealt with the king’s womanising until she became extremely fond of and close to a palace servant called Nabo who was referred to as a beast for his dark skin and dwarfness

Sources indicate that Nabo was an African brought to the palace as a gift from Dahomey in West Africa which is now the Republic of Benin. The supposed illicit child was born in 1644 which is the same birth year of Louise Marie Thérèse who was supposedly taken to a convent to be raised in secret. 

According to an article by the Telegraph, the story behind the birth of Louise Marie Therese was hidden with a lighter story which reports the Queen giving birth to a baby who died minutes after birth and its skin darkened due to lack of oxygen.

A portrait of the nun Louise Marie Thérèse, the Black Nun of Moret is 
in the Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève in Paris and is believed to have been painted, by the same painter who did popular paintings of King Louis XIV, around 1680, a few years after she became a nun. 

While the story of Queen Marie Theresa is the most popular, other sources raise the idea that Louise Marie Thérèse is, in fact, the daughter of King Louis XIV who is said to have had several affairs and had Louise Marie 
Thérèse with an African servant after which the baby wat taken to the convent.

Louise Marie Thérèse, the Black Nun of Moret’s name is a combination of both Queen Marie Theresa and King Louis XIV and this gives more proof that she is of royal lineage.

Louise Marie Thérèse, the Black Nun of Moret’s name is mentioned in memoirs including that of the famous writer and philosopher Voltaire whose works were once prohibited by the Catholic church. All these memoirs mention the possibility of the nun being of royal lineage from either the Queen or the King.


Louise Marie Thérèse, the Black Nun of Moret

Several sources suggest that Louise Marie Thérèse spoke with and called Louis of France, the first son of King Louis XIV, her brother anytime the prince visited the church.

There is also proof of her royal connection in a letter sent on 13 June 1685 indicating that by orders of the King, the black nun of Moret was to be paid 300 pounds as her pension by the clergy provided by the king.

Louise Marie Thérèse spent all her life in the church and died in 1732. More research is being done to get to the bottom of this mysterious black nun but from all provided indications as of now, her royalty status is more accurate than not. 

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