Women Mystics in Medieval Europe

Women Mystics in Medieval Europe

Women Mystics in Medieval Europe

Women Mystics in Medieval Europe

Excerpt

It is not an easy task to show briefly the link that exists between the Benedictine Abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, still of the early medieval period, and the Beguines of less than a century later: Hadewijch of Antwerp, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete of Hainaut, as well as the Cistercian Prioress, Beatrice of Nazareth, brought up by the Beguines and partaking of their spirituality. The profound bond uniting them is well reflected in certain texts of those times, as for example this testimony of 1158 concerning Hildegard and her contemporary, Elizabeth of Schönau, also of the Benedictine order:

In these days God made manifest His power through the frail sex, in these handmaidens whom He filled with the prophetic spirit.

When, after these great nuns whose action still remains isolated, we turn our attention to the Beguine movement at the height of its fervor, halfway through the thirteenth century, we find a significant reference to these women in Tochter von Syon, the important poetical work of the Franciscan Lamprecht von Regensburg, written about 1250:

And so, in our days
In Brabant and the land of Bayern . . .

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