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Marie-Catherine de Béthisy de Mézières, Abbess of Parthemont

(b. 1743, France, Europe – d. 1794, Penthemont Abbey, Paris, France )

Gender: F

Marie-Catherine de Béthisy de Mézières was the Abbess of Parthemont in Paris from 1743-1790. (It is also known as Penthemont, Pentemont, Panthemont or Pantemont). The convent became famous for educating high-born women, including the daughters of Protestants: during his time as ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson sent his daughters Martha and Mary there. Conditions were Spartan and rules were strict. The abbey also provided apartments for women seeking independence from families or difficult marriages; one guest was Joséphine de Beauharnais, future wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress of France, during her separation from her first husband. The convent was suppressed during the French Revolution and the building became a military barracks. William Pulteney sent his daughter Henrietta Laura Pulteney to Parthemont after the death of her mother. She was escorted to Paris by Elizabeth Carter (see letters from Carter to Montagu of 23rd October 1782, 22nd September 1783 and 1st October 1784).

Also known as:

  • Marie-Catherine de Bethisy de Mezieres
  • Abbess of Parthemont




Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.