‘C'est à vous, Madame, à qui je parle.’ So wrote the distinguished church statesman and reforming bishop of the Meaux diocese to Marguerite d'Angoulême, duchess of Alençon (later queen of Navarre), powerful sister of the Renaissance monarch François I, on 22 December 1521. The personal and emphatic form of address employed here by Guillaume Briçonnet arose from his concern that Marguerite should grasp firmly a neglected aspect of Christian doctrine: the role of the Spirit in the life of each believer as well as within the Ecclesia. By grace, came the episcopal injunction, Marguerite must recognise ‘le vray feu qui s'est logé, long temps a [i.e. il y a longtemps déja] dans vostre cceur’;and by this same grace French Christendom must acknowledge its state of desolation. An analysis of the 1521–4 exchange of letters between the duchess of Alençon and the bishop of Meaux reveals both the extent of Briçonnet's distress at what he saw as basic weaknesses in the French Church and his spiritual counsel aimed at rectifying a situation he held to be desperate.