Magistra

Magistra is a magazine focusing on Religion

Articles

Vol. 25, No. 1, Summer

Report from the International Dialogue of Buddhist and Christian Nuns
Dialogue and Proclamation was a document issued by the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) in 1991 to celebrate and elaborate on Nostra Aetate, one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council in 1964. Both...
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From Prison and Exile to Anchorhold: Liminality in the Lives of the Anchoress Sisters Loretta and Annora De Briouze
The Noble AnchoressesIn the first half of the thirteenth century there are records of two noble sisters, enclosed as anchoresses in their widowhood. The best recorded of the two is Loretta, countess of Leicester, who was enclosed in an anchorhold associated...
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Embracing a Spirituality of Loss: Clare of Assisi's Roles in the Tradition That Bears Her Name 1
Interpreting a tradition produces conflict and tension. Interpretations, framed with rhetorical power, confirm or contradict assumptions regarding "the founding spirit." A fascinating example is the case of the early Poor Clare tradition that was shaped...
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Elizabeth Seton: American Saint
Elizabeth Seton: American Saint. Catherine O'Donnell. Cornell University Press, 2018. xiv + 508 pp. $36.95 (hardback) ISBN 978-5017-0578-6Catherine O'Donnell has written an exceptional biography of Elizabeth Seton, the work of "a historian's historian."...
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Courting Sanctity: Holy Women and the Capetians
Courting Sanctity: Holy Women and the Capetians. Sean L. Field. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2019. 288 pp. $39.95 (hardback) ISBN 978-1-5017-1374-3.Sean Field has the ability to take such a vast historical topic as the Capetian dynasty and...
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"Ha Schulden Schrapien Euche Dei the Eorthe": Reading Flesh in Ancrene Wisse 1
One of the most compelling works of devotional literature is the thirteenth century manual for anchoresses, the Ancrene Wisse (c. 1225), where a male author, possibly a Dominican or Augustinián friar, instructs his female charges on how to live the anchoritic...
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Angela of Foligno: Her Mystical Experience and Her Influence
In The Essentials of Mysticism, Evelyn Underhill opines, "little attention has been paid to the life and works of Angela of Foligno. Yet, excepting only St. Bonaventura, this woman has probably exerted a more enduring, more far-reaching influence than...
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Studying the Life of Saint Clare of Assisi: A Beginner's Workbook
Studying the Life of Saint Clare of Assisi: A Beginner's Workbook. William R. Hugo, OFM Cap. and Joanne Schatzlein, OSF. Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press, 2019. 318 pp. $24.95 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-56548-691-1.The title may call this a beginner's workbook...
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A Women's History of the Christian Church: Two Thousand Years of Female Leadership
A Women's History of the Christian Church: Two Thousand Years of Female Leadership. Elizabeth Gillan Muir. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019, xii + 415 pp, $34.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-4875-9384-1.This makes an excellent text for undergraduate...
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English Aristocratic Women and the Fabric of Piety, 1450-1550
English Aristocratic Women and the Fabric of Piety, 14501550. Barbara J. Harris. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018), 272 pp., 75.00, ISBN 9789462985988.Barbara J. Harris, professor emeritus of history and women's studies at the University of...
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Cardinal Pierre De Bérulle (1575-1629) and His Use of Feminine Imagery for God
Pierre de Bérulle was taught by the Jesuits and ordained to the priesthood in 1599. He founded the French Oratory in 1611 and is acclaimed the founder of the "French School," having an enormous impact upon seventeenth century French spirituality.1 Pope...
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Vol. 24, No. 2, Winter

Women, Communities of Letters, and Transnational Connections: Lucia De Narni and María De Santo Domingo
Sor María de Santo Domingo was a Castilian tertiary within the Dominican order who came to prominence in Castile at the beginning of the 16th century. Also known as the Beata of Piedrahita [Holy Woman from Piedrahita], Sor María was a visionary, prophetess,...
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Sorry We're Late
Getting the winter issue of this journal out in a timely fashion is always a challenge. My goal is to have the winter issue out as soon as I can after the hoidays and the end of the year. This year, unfortunately, everyting from personal matters, to...
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SAINT GERTRUDE'S POSTULATION FOR DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH (A Preface to the Study Following)
The postulation of St. Gertrude as Doctor of the Chuch is a common project led by the Cistercian Order (O. Cist.), the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), and the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes. This joint goal sprang forth in...
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The Battle for Poverty: Pope Gregory IX against Saint Clare of Assisi
It. Clare of Assisi is a prominent historical figure because of her extreme piety as a follower of St. Francis, but she has recently garnered the attention of medieval historians as a worthy adversary of the papacy in the thirteenth century. The beloved...
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The Herald of God's Loving-Kindness - Book Four
The Herald of God's Loving-Kindness - Book FourThe Herald of God's Loving-Kindness - Book Four. Gertrud the Great of Helfta. Translated and introduced by Alexandra Barratt. Cistercian Publications (Liturgical Press), 2018, 293 pp., $44.95 (paper), ISBN...
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A General Hypothesis on the Process of Composition of Legatus Divinae Pietatis
The discovery of the Leipzig University Library manuscript 8272 calls into question what was hitherto established about the Legatus Divinae Pietatis, since it transmits a text which is not homogeneous with the version of the work known up until now....
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Black Bride of Christ: Chicaba, an African Nun in Eighteenth-Century Spain
Black Bride of Christ: Chicaba, an African Nun in Eighteenth-Century SpainBlack Bride of Christ: Chicaba, an African Nun in Eighteenth-Century Spain. Edited, translated, and with an introduction by Sue E. Houchins and Baltasar Fra-Molinero. Vanderbilt...
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Margery Kempe: The Paradox of the Religious Liberating the Social?
If one were to treat the persona of Margery Kempe with a slightly more tongue-in-cheek attitude, one could undoubtedly feel tempted to call her the religious life's "Wife of Bath." And yet, who was Margery Kempe? One of the very few, and still doubtful,...
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Vol. 24, No. 1, Summer

Queer Eye for God: Reading Margery Kempe as Female Masculine
In the fifteenth century, Margery Kempe laments "Than was sche glad, for sche had leve to kyssyn the seke women" (I. 74. 4190).1 Critics have long associated queerness with Margery Kempe not just concerning her sexuality but her general performance in...
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Woman, Resurrected: The Lives and Deaths of Christina the Astonishing in the Oxford, Bodleian Library Ms Douce 114
The hagiographical account of Christina the Astonishing (1150-1224) was written by Thomas of Cantimpré ca. 1232, some seven years after her death. In the second quarter of the fifteenth century, her story resurfaced in England as part of what is currently...
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Orationes Devotae: Another "Vox Benedictina"
Among the thousands of manuscripts belonging to the Huntington Library1 there is one catalogued under the simple title of Prayerbook.2 The title of this article, Orationes Devotae, derives from the opening heading on the first page3 of the manuscript....
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Read Her like a Book: Female Patronage as Imitatio Mariae 1
In the frontispiece of one of her Gospel Books, Judith of Flanders (d. 1094) is depicted - or chose to have herself depicted - in close, even intimate, conversation with Jesus Christ (fig. 1).2The two stand side by side, in threequarter profile, compatibly...
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Clare of Assisi and the Thirteenth-Century Church: Religious Women, Rules, and Resistance
Clare of Assisi and the Thirteenth-Century Church: Religious Women, Rules, and Resistance. Catherine M. Mooney. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, 291 pp., $65, ISBN 9780-8122-4817-3.Catherine Mooney has done us a great favor. While researching...
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IN MEMORY OF Margot King
This journal would not exist if it had not been for Margot King, whose passion for the spiritual legacy of holy women opened a whole new world of publishing. In the early 1980s, a friend told me of a new journal, Vox Benedictina, which was devoted to...
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Medieval Liège at the Crossroads of Europe: Monastic Society and Culture, 1000-1300
Medieval Liege at the Crossroads of Europe: Monastic Society and Culture, 1000-1300. Edited by Steven Vanderputten, Tjamke Snijders, and Jay Diehl. Tumhout: Brepols, 2017. 377 pp., $123.45, ISBN 978-2-503-54540-0.This is a fine collection of articles...
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A Deep Abiding Love: Pondering Life's Depth with Julian of Norwich\A Revelation of Love: In the 16 Showings of Julian of Norwich for Everyone\An Explorer's Guide to Julian of Norwich
A Deep Abiding Love: Pondering Life's Depth with Julian of Norwich. Jennifer Lynn Christ. New London, Conn.: TwentyThird Publications, 2017, 128 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-62785315-6.A Revelation of Love: In the 16 Showings of Julian of Norwich for Everyone....
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Vol. 23, No. 2, Winter

The Sinus of the Father (Jn 1:18) as the Womb of God in the Latin Tradition
From at least the very beginning of the third century, Greek Fathers of the Church interpreted John 1:18 to refer to the womb of God.1 John 1:18 reads: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom (kolpos) of the Father, he has made him...
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Radical Empathy: Compassion as a Spiritual Practice in the Works of Angela of Foligno
In Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, there is a heartbreaking scene in which Titus sees his daughter Lavinia after she has been raped and mutilated. Her hands and tongue have been cut off so that she cannot disclose the identity of the perpetrators. Titus...
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At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-Day Saint Women
At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-Day Saint Women. Edited by Jennifer Reader and Kate Holbrook. Salt Lake City: The Church Historian's Press, 2017, 452 pp., $29.99. ISBN 978-1-62972-282-5.Given some of the stereotypes and lack of knowledge...
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Marguerite Porete's Mirrour of Simple Soules in Late Medieval England
In late medieval England, there were numerous vernacular texts written or read about mystical experience, some by women. This includes native texts written in England as well as texts originally written in foreign languages that were translated into...
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The Mary Daly Reader
The Mary Daly Reader. Mary Daly, edited by Jennifer Rycenga and Linda Bamfaldi. New York University Press, 464 pp, $35. ISBN 978-1-4798-7776-8.Whether or not one agrees with what she has to say or how she says it, it is generally acknowledged that Mary...
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"ÞE Speche of God": A Re-Assessment of the Double-Voicedness of Mystic Speech in the Book of Margery Kempe 1
Sarah Beckwith, in her influential 1992 article, "Problems of Authority in Late Medieval Mysticism," says that the problem with mystic speech is its monologic epistemology. The speech of God seems simply to be echoed by the mystic who loses his or her...
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Vol. 23, No. 1, Summer

The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture
The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez. University of North Carolina Press, 256 pp, $27.50. ISBN 978-1-4696-2741-0Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez demonstrates a sophisticated command of the history...
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The 'Wuba of the Father (Jn 1:18) as the Womb of God in the Syriac Tradition
This article is a companion to an article in the previous issue of this journal. That paper demonstrated how, in the Greek tradition, the word kolpos in John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom (kolpos) of the Father, he...
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"Clamor Validus": The Virgin's Voice in Hrotsvit's Drama
When a pagan virgin faced a tyrant's interrogation about the Pythagorean secret, she bit off her own tongue to avoid revealing it and breaking the Pythagorean rites, according to an anecdote related in St. Ambrose's tract on virginity. Despite her preservation...
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Medieval Cantors and Their Craft. Music, Liturgy and the Shaping of History, 800-1500
Medieval Cantors and Their Craft. Music, Liturgy and the Shaping of History, 800-1500. Edited by Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis, A.B. Kraebel and Margot E. Fassler. York Medieval Press, 2017, 370 pp. $90. ISBN 978-1-903153673.While this skillfully edited collection...
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The Heart of St. Zélie Martin, Mother of the Little Flower
On October 18, 2015, Pope Francis, in raising Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin to the altar, formally canonized the first married couple in the Church's history.1 Although quite a bit may be learned about Mr. Martin firsthand from Thérese's autobiography,...
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Her Body Is the Temple of the Holy Ghost: Why Margery Kempe Is a Better "Virgin" 1
The concept of virginity in the Catholic Church is a complicated premise. The idea that virginity is ideal applies to both men and women but is more forcibly enforced upon those of the "fairer sex." Apparently, women, by some inherently flawed design,...
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"Secundo la Nostra Antica Observantia": The Commentary to a 15th Century Feminized Rule of St. Benedict and the Appropriation of the Written Word
In early Renaissance female monasteries, manuscripts were tools for instruction, inspiration, and moral and spiritual edification. The female religious were instructed on how to live in a monastic community, as well as how to conform to the ideal identity...
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Vol. 23, No. 2, Winter

Mannock Strickland (1683-1744), Agent to English Convents in Flanders: Letters and Accounts from Exile
Mannock Strickland (1683-1744), Agent to English Convents in Flanders: Letters and Accounts from Exile. Edited by Richard G. Williams. The Catholic Record Society (by Boydell & Brewer) 2016. 341 pp., $90, ISBN 978-0-902832-30-5.Mannock Strickland...
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Sub Tuum Præsidium: A Reflection on the Protection of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God
Sub Tuum Praesidium is considered one of the oldest Marian hymns, found written on an Egyptian papyrus [P Rylands 470] dated AD 250-280.1??? Tuv at)v evoKÅayayxviavGreek Text'Yjto rqv cn'lv evcraXayxvíav, Karatpeúyopev, ©??????. Taç qqrov IKsaiaç, qq...
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Vol. 22, No. 1, Summer

A Roman Triptych of Holy Women
A triptych, as the word tells us, is a work of art divided into three sections. Most commonly, and especially since the European Middle Ages, a triptych is made of three religious panel paintings arranged on an altar. I am borrowing this beautiful and...
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Vol. 20, No. 2, Winter

Deconstructing Dualisms: The Unifying Nature of Emotional and Physical Suffering in Angela of Foligno's Memorial
Sasha SnowdenGraduate Theological UnionBerkeley, CaliforniaAngela of Foligno's confessor describes Angela's experience of suffering as total. Not a single part of Angela's body was saved from suffering, and her soul experienced nothing but pain and isolation...
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A Space of Convergence: Hildegard of Bingen's Multivalent Understanding of the Body
In this way human beings carry everything because the entire creation is within them1In Causes and Cures, Hildegard characterized the human being as a container within which all of creation was held together. All of the elements that humans carried within...
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Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter

Are Buddhist Nuns Men at Heart?
When he was asked whether women could join his community of monastics, the Buddha said:To go forth from home under the rule of the Dharma...is not suitable for women. There should be no ordination or nunhood. And why? If women go forth from the household...
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