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Medieval Women Monastics

This study presents in English the rich monastic legacy of religious women by gathering the life stories of outstanding medieval women monastics. Written by 18 contemporary Benedictine women authors from 13 religious communities in the United States, England and Australia, this work tells of the surprisingly varied accomplishments of medieval foresisters. Originating with Scholastica of Nursia (6th century) and concluding with Gertrude More of Cambrai (17th century), this book present accounts of the multi-talented nuns and canonnesses who helped Christianize Europe across 12 centuries. The focus in this volume is primarily on the Anglo-Saxon, Austrian and Germanic monastic women. Each chapter provides a brief biographical interpretation of a particular woman monastic, a synopsis of her spirituality, and a summary of her significance for the contemporary Church, society and the world. The women monastics include: St Scholastica of Nursia, St Hilda of Whitby, St Fredeswide of Oxford, St Erentrude of Nonnberg, St Walburga of Eichstett, St Leoba of Bischofsheim, St Thecla of Kitzingen, St Irmengard of Chiemsee, Hrotsvit of Ganderscheim, the Holy Hildegard of Bingen, St Elisabeth of Schnau, Herrad of Hohenbourg, St Lutgard of Aywires, Mechtild of Magdeburg, St Mechtild of Hackeborn, St Gertrud the Great of Helfta and Gertrude More of Cambrai.
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If the authors had done no more than make their subjects better known, they would have put us all in their debt. But they have brought to their study a lived understanding of what it means to be a woman of the Church following the Rule of St. Benedict. In doing so, they have given us an insight into the perennial creativeness of the Benedictine way and a deeper sense of its rich spiritual heritage.Abbess Joanna Jamieson, O.S.B., Stanbrook Abbey A labor of love and respect.WATERwheel In our own times when women have made such strides toward assuming a rightful autonomy as well as leadership within the Church, Christian women Protestant as well as Roman Catholic are hungering to discover whether there were other women at all like themselves through the centuries. This book, describing as it does the lives, yearning for God, strength of character and accomplishments of many great Benedictine women from the sixth to the seventeenth centuries will satisfy some of that hunger.Roberta C. Bondi, Candler School of Theology

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