Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pierre De Berulle et Les Carmelites De France: La Querelle Du Gouvernement 1583-1629

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pierre De Berulle et Les Carmelites De France: La Querelle Du Gouvernement 1583-1629

Article excerpt

Pierre de Berulle et les Carmelites de France: La querelle du gouvernement 1583-1629. By Stephane-Marie Morgain, O.C.D. (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf. 1995. Pp. 590. 240 E) I suspect that this book tells more than anyone, except a few French Carmelites, wishes to know about the difficulties surrounding the introduction of Discalced Carmelite nuns into France in the early seventeenth century and the long, involved, and often bitter historiographical debate connected with that event.

The book is an evidently unedited S.TD. thesis presented to the University of Fribourg and has many of the faults of that genre, except that it is generally well written. It also has the virtue of being based on a very wide range of sources, many of which have never before been utilized, some of which are published at the end of the book.

Despite the origins of this study, there are rewards awaiting those who persevere through the myriad of minute details, careful refutations of obscure authors who wrote 120 years ago, and assorted snippets of well-known French political and religious history. For those interested in Carmelite history the reward to be gained from reading this book is a sensible conclusion to a long debate about the early days of the reformed order in France. The debate has centered around the extent to which French Carmelite nuns have honored the legacy of St. Teresa of Avila as expressed in her constitution of the reformed Carmelites.

For the larger audience of historians interested in the Catholic Reformation the reward is fourfold. The first reward is a series of multi-dimensional portraits, the smaller of which are presented without much editorial comment, which reveal both the halos and the warts of many French and Spanish participants in the Catholic Reformation during the period 1583-1629. …

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