Women in Monastic Settings….

I love this article. I think it introduces important issues about monasticism, personal property, female mysticism, and architectural space and how it structures worship. Morgan will have much more to say on this subject, but here are my 2 cents.

1. Does the Janus-like characterization of the cloister as both prison and paradisus seem odd to you?

2. What is the function of the emporium in a monastic church?

3. How did the spiritual practices of females help blur the line between public and private worship?

4. “Architecture played a role in enforcing women’s access to the altar and in shaping their experience of the Mass.” Discuss.

5. How was the Andachtsbild incorporated into the female worship service?


4 responses

  1. 1)It does not seem odd to me because it grants the escape from the patriarchal world but it is very restricting also. So i think it is like both heaven and hell at the same time.

  2. I though in the conclusion of the article, when Hamburger discusses how much of the “popular” traditions from the later Middle Ages started with women in convents or at least they picked up on them was an interesting remark. I think the convent is a strange paradoxic way was liberating for women and also a prison. Many women did not have the choice to go, some had The Calling from God to go and others went to remove themselves from the process. Hamburger mentions one woman Agnes of Prague, who entered the convent after being, “a pawn in the political maneuvers of her father until her taking the veil” (p 116). It was also the case that women rarely had the opportunities to be artists or patrons unless the connection was to a convent or other religious order. The architecture of the buildings themselves were able to limit the access of women to the outside world, which changed according to location, patron and time period, thought it is a misconception to assume that women in convents were completely blocked from the outside world. The reforms in the convent at Ebstorf’s reform in the late 15th century may suggest that further enclosure was more valued at that time more so than in the Middle Ages.

  3. I am also fascinated by the paradox created by the structure of a convent. While women are locked away, and are literally barred from the outside world, they are more free to pursue education, religion, and the arts than women that are outside of the convent. The most interesting aspect of this to me is how the architecture of the convent kept the nuns from the alter even though they were locked inside the convent to serve God. It seems counter-intuitive to me that women would be segregated from the centerpiece of the mass.

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