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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Isabel of France

Date of birth unknown; d. 1270, Longchamps, France

Isabel was born to King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She refused to marry, despite offers that would place her in high political power, and instead founded a convent of Poor Clares, for which she wrote the code of conduct. Known as the Abbey at Longchamps, it was sanctioned in 1259. Isabel never entered the convent as a nun, but lived nearby and followed its rules of asceticism on her own. The cult of Saint Isabel received papal approval in 1521.