Wandering Women and Holy Matrons: Women as Pilgrims in the Later Middle Ages
By Leigh Ann Craig
This book explores women’s experiences of pilgrimage in Latin Christendom between 1300 and 1500 C.E. Later medieval authors harbored grave doubts about women’s mobility; literary images of mobile women commonly accused them of lust, pride, greed, and deceit. Yet real women commonly engaged in pilgrimage in a variety of forms, both physical and spiritual, voluntary and compulsory, and to locations nearby and distant. Acting within both practical and social constraints, such women helped to construct more positive interpretations of their desire to travel and of their experiences as pilgrims. Regardless of how their travel was interpreted, those women who succeeded in becoming pilgrims offer us a rare glimpse of ordinary women taking on extraordinary religious and social authority.