Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629) has received scant attention from scholars in the English-speaking world. When he does enter the spotlight, it tends to be as originator of the ‘French School of Spirituality’. One could easily fancy him rapt in the hush of an ivory tower, whereas in fact Bérulle was constantly on the move, scouring Spain for nuns to export the Teresian Carmel, visiting the Roman Curia as an envoy of Louis XIII, or overseeing projects of ecclesiastical reform all over France. This study demonstrates the fundamental coherence of Bérulle’s varied accomplishments. Whether in speculative theology or public life, he presupposed the principle of ‘servitude’. This notion, repulsive to many, occasioned fierce controversy, yet Bérulle remained attached to it. It articulated the core of his theological anthropology as a simultaneous image for the unfreedom of the Old Adam enslaved by sin and for the emancipation of the New Adam living in redemptive bondage to Jesus. Accumulated layers of meaning led to the development of ‘servitude’ as a principle of action. Thus it migrated from the theological sphere into that of politics. Erik Varden traces the itinerary of this singular metaphor, casting new light on the career of a man who did much to form the sensibility of the grand siècle.