Marie-madeleine de Combalet was the favourite niece of Cardinal Armand de Richelieu. She was married briefly in the early 1620s, but her husband was killed at the seige of Montpellier, and she never remarried, preferring to enter a convent. Marie-Madeleine faced a great deal of malicious gossip when Cardinal Richelieu ordered her to leave the convent and come to live with him to manage his household and created her Duchess d'Aiguillon in her own right, but she faced this criticism with the gentle grace that was so characteristic of her. As well as doing an excellent job of managing her Cardinal Uncle's household, she headed her own literary salon in Paris, and she worked with St. Vincent de Paul among the poor. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Hotel-Dieu, the first hospital in the new French colony of Quebec. After Cardinal Richelieu died in 1642, Marie-Madeleine devoted her life to charitable work until she died in 1675.
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