The Wisdom Of The Beguines

Author: Laura Swan
Publisher:
ISBN: 162919008X
Size: 15.98 MB
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The beguines began to form in various parts of Europe over eight hundred years ago. Beguines were laywomen, not nuns, and they did not live in monasteries. They practiced a remarkable way of living independently, and they were never a religious order or a formalized movement. But there were common elements that these medieval women shared across Europe, including their visionary spirituality, their unusual business acumen, and their courageous commitment to the poor and sick. Beguines were essentially self-defined, in opposition to the many attempts to control and define them. They lived by themselves or in communities called beguinages, which could be single homes for just a few women or, as in Brugge, Brussels, and Amsterdam, walled-in rows of houses where hundreds of beguines lived together--a village of women within a medieval town or city. Among the beguines were celebrated spiritual writers and mystics, including Mechthild of Magdeburg, Beatrijs of Nazareth, Hadewijch, and Marguerite Porete--who was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake in Paris in 1310. She was not the only beguine suspected of heresy, and often politics were the driving force behind such charges. The beguines, across the centuries, have left us a great legacy. They invite us to listen to their voices, to seek out their wisdom, to discover them anew.

The Wisdom Of The Beguines

Author: Laura Swan
Publisher: Bluebridge
ISBN: 1933346973
Size: 18.39 MB
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The beguines began to form in various parts of Europe over eight hundred years ago, around the year 1200. Beguines were laywomen, not nuns, and thus did not take solemn vows and did not live in monasteries. The beguines were a phenomenal movement that swept across Europe yet they were never a religious order or a formalized movement. But there were common elements that rendered these women distinctive and familiar, including their common way of life, their unusual business acumen, and their commitment to the poor and marginalized. These women were essentially self-defined, in opposition to the many attempts to control and define them. They lived by themselves or together in so-called beguinages, which could be single houses for as few as a handful of beguines or, as in Brugge and Amsterdam, walled-in rows of houses (enclosing a central court with a chapel) where over a thousand beguines might live—a village of women within a medieval town or city. And each region of Europe has its own beguine stories to tell. Among the beguines were celebrated spiritual writers and mystics, including Mechthild of Magdeburg, Beatrijs of Nazareth, Hadewijch of Brabant, and Marguerite Porete, who was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake in Paris in 1310. She was not the only beguine suspected of heresy, and often politics were the driving force behind such charges. Certain clerics defended beguines against charges of heresy, while other women had to go undercover by joining a Benedictine or Cistercian monastery. Amazingly, many beguine communities survived for a long time despite oppression, wars, the plague, and other human and natural disasters. Beguines lived through—and helped propel—times of great transition and reform. Beguines courageously spoke to power and corruption, never despairing of God’s compassion for humanity. They used their business acumen to establish and support ministries that extended education, health care, and other social services to the vulnerable. And they preached and taught of a loving God who desired a relationship with each individual person while calling to reform those who used God’s name for personal gain. What strength of spirit protected the lives of these women and their beguinages? What can we learn from them? What might they teach us? The beguines have much to say to our world today. This book invites us to listen to their voices, to discover them anew.

Cities Of Ladies

Author: Walter Simons
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812200126
Size: 10.62 MB
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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2002 In the early thirteenth century, semireligious communities of women began to form in the cities and towns of the Low Countries. These beguines, as the women came to be known, led lives of contemplation and prayer and earned their livings as laborers or teachers. In Cities of Ladies, the first history of the beguines to appear in English in fifty years, Walter Simons traces the transformation of informal clusters of single women to large beguinages. These veritable single-sex cities offered lower- and middle-class women an alternative to both marriage and convent life. While the region's expanding urban economies initially valued the communities for their cheap labor supply, severe economic crises by the fourteenth century restricted women's opportunities for work. Church authorities had also grown less tolerant of religious experimentation, hailing as subversive some aspects of beguine mysticism. To Simons, however, such accusations of heresy against the beguines were largely generated from a profound anxiety about their intellectual ambitions and their claims to a chaste life outside the cloister. Under ecclesiastical and economic pressure, beguine communities dwindled in size and influence, surviving only by adopting a posture of restraint and submission to church authorities.

Meister Eckhart And The Beguine Mystics

Author: Bernard McGinn
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781441134585
Size: 16.59 MB
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The great German mystic Meister Eckhart remains one of the most fascinating figures in Western thought. Revived interest in Eckhart's mysticism has been matched, and even surpassed, by the study of the women mystics of the late13th century. This book argues that Eckhart's thought cannot be fully be understood until it is viewed against the background of the breakthroughs made by the women mystics who preceded him.

The Forgotten Desert Mothers

Author: Laura Swan
Publisher: Paulist Press
ISBN: 0809140160
Size: 16.91 MB
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An introduction to the Sayings, Lives, stories & spirituality of women in the post-biblical, early Christian movement.

The Beguines Of Medieval Paris

Author: Tanya Stabler Miller
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812246070
Size: 12.36 MB
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In the thirteenth century, Paris was the largest city in Western Europe, the royal capital of France, and the seat of one of Europe's most important universities. In this vibrant and cosmopolitan city, the beguines, women who wished to devote their lives to Christian ideals without taking formal vows, enjoyed a level of patronage and esteem that was uncommon among like communities elsewhere. Some Parisian beguines owned shops and played a vital role in the city's textile industry and economy. French royals and nobles financially supported the beguinages, and university clerics looked to the beguines for inspiration in their pedagogical endeavors. The Beguines of Medieval Paris examines these religious communities and their direct participation in the city's commercial, intellectual, and religious life. Drawing on an array of sources, including sermons, religious literature, tax rolls, and royal account books, Tanya Stabler Miller contextualizes the history of Parisian beguines within a spectrum of lay religious activity and theological controversy. She examines the impact of women on the construction of medieval clerical identity, the valuation of women's voices and activities, and the surprising ways in which local networks and legal structures permitted women to continue to identify as beguines long after a church council prohibited the beguine status. Based on intensive archival research, The Beguines of Medieval Paris makes an original contribution to the history of female religiosity and labor, university politics and intellectual debates, royal piety, and the central place of Paris in the commerce and culture of medieval Europe.

Seeking Spiritual Intimacy

Author: Glenn E. Myers
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
ISBN: 9780830835515
Size: 14.88 MB
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In Seeking Spiritual Intimacy Glenn Myers introduces us to the Beguines, a network of faith communities in Medieval Europe, where women organized their world around a simple life with Christ at the center. Learn from the insights of wise women of faith who, from their modest homes and communities, revitalized the faith of a continent.