10 July 2018

Eve Lavalliere (1866-1929)

For years, Eve Lavalliere was the toast of Parisian society, a famous beauty and the most popular actress on the French stage. While performing for royalty across Europe, she enjoyed the favors of numerous lovers. “I had everything the world could offer,” she noted, everything I could desire. Nevertheless, I regarded myself as the unhappiest of souls.” Unhappiness ran deep in life. Her abominable childhood had ended the day her father, in a drunken rage, shot her mother and then killed himself. Her later fame and wealth could not fill the void.

And yet Eve’s life took a dramatic turn 1917 when a priest gave her a biography of Mary Magdalen and challenged her to read it. At first defiantly, and then with tears of remorse, she read the book, and when she had finished she resolved to make her peace with God.

“My resolution is made. From now on, only Jesus has a right to my life, for He alone gave me happiness and peace.”

Abandoning her glittering life, Eve first sought to enter religious life, but she was rejected by a number of convents on account of her notoriety. Instead, she became a Third Order Franciscan. For several years, until ill health overtook her, she volunteered with a lay-missionary nursing order in Tunisia. She spent her last year alone, penniless, and in great suffering. Yet she insisted she was the “happiest person in the world.” In her notebook she wrote,

“I thank You, O my God, that You have given me shelter beneath your roof. Abandonment, love, trust – such is my motto.”

She died on July 10, 1929.

You May Also Like