In 1669, Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-78), the internationally famous Dutch Calvinist intellectual and artist joined the sectarian household ofJean de Labadie (1610-74), a defrocked French Jesuit priest. Both are striking examples of alterity, she as an erudite woman who defended her right to be so, and he in his charismatic otherness that seemed to differ radically from hers. Scholars have recently explained her joining the sect in several ways: the attraction of a community offering leadership roles to women; a call to martyrdom; a desire for the enjoyment of God through self-denial; and the attempt to negotiate a different public self. I suggest that four other factors, hitherto unexplored, also played a role. These factors will enable us to better understand how an extraordinarily learned woman could have abandoned her privileged status and fame to seek what she called "the one thing needful."