Heloise , abbess of the Paraclete, born probably in Paris in 1101, died at the convent of the Paraclete, Champagne, May 16, 1164. Of her parentage nothing is certainly known. In 1116 she was living with her uncle Fulbert, canon of Notre Dame, on the island of the Cite in Paris. At this time Pierre Abelard was at the height of his renown as a teacher, and Fulbert invited him to complete the education of his niece. The teacher and pupil fell in love with each other, and Abelard was compelled to conceal their guilt by conducting his pupil to the home of his parents in Brittany, where she became the mother of a son, who was christened Pierre Astrolabe. (See Abelard.) To appease Fulbert, they were married, and at once separated; but to avoid hindering Abelard's ecclesiastical advancement, Heloise denied the marriage, and was then obliged to fly from her enraged uncle. Abelard placed her in the convent of Argenteuil, where she took the vows, and soon became abbess. Here she remained for nine or ten years, until a decree of the king, confirmed by the pope, alienated the property of this among other convents, and compelled the nuns to find a retreat elsewhere.
The vacant oratory of the Paraclete in Champagne was formally made over to them by Abelard, at that time abbot of a monastery in Brittany, and Heloise became the first of a long line of noble abbesses. Some years later a papal bull confirmed the gift. The rule adopted by the new convent was that of St. Benedict; but Abelard became the spiritual adviser and the father confessor of his friend, and added some statutes of his own to the ancient rule. Only one personal interview was held; but a correspondence arose which was continued for several years. Abelard died in 1142. Heloise lived 22 years longer, devoting herself wholly to the enlargement and the discipline of her religious house. She was universally regarded as a saint, and gifts of every kind were brought to her convent. Her remains, after many removals, have rested since 1817 with those of her husband in the cemetery of Pere la Chaise in Paris. The letters of Heloise and Abelard have been many times published. The most complete edition of the originals is by Victor Cousin (4to, Paris, 1849). They form a unique monument of the middle ages, and the internal evidence of their authenticity is so strong as to set aside the supposition of their forgery.
The letters of Heloise especially are called by Hal-lam " the first book that gives any pleasure in reading produced in Europe for 600 years, since Boethius's 'Consolations.' " - Besides the works mentioned under Abelard, see L'His-toire d' Heloise et d' Abelard, by Marc de Mon-tifaud (Paris, 1873).