The Audacious Metaphors of Mystical Women: The Model of Caterina da Siena

Religious education for women included spiritual meditation by which it was specifically taught to revive the life and passion of Christ. Caterina da Siena has been a model for many mystical writers.

Avignon vs. Rome: Dante, Petrarch, Catherine of Siena

In the fourteenth century the image of ancient Rome as Babylon was transformed into the positive idea of Rome as both a Christian and a classical ideal.

Wolves in Lamb’s Clothing: Redeeming the Images of Catherine of Siena and Angela of Foligno

Medieval holy women were revered for their power and efforts, by both their communities and the Church. However, what are contemporary women to make of these female saints?

The Transformative Nature of Gender: The Coding of St. Brigit of Kildare through Hagiography

The Transformative Nature of Gender: The Coding of St. Brigit of Kildare through Hagiography Liliane Catherine Marcil-Johnston Master of Arts, The Department of Theology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada December (2012) Abstract This study examines how gender is portrayed in the hagiographic tradition surrounding St. Brigit of Kildare. In particular, it provides an in-depth look […]

An introduction to the investigation into the mental health of female medieval mystics

While the Medieval ascription to madness is known, in the light of recent psychological and medical insights, I will explore alternative explanations for the extreme behaviour of devout women in the Middle Ages.

Embodied Voices: Women’s Food Asceticism and the Negotiation of Identity

In the cloistered halls of medieval nunneries, something strange was happening to women’s bodies. In late 14th-century Europe, reports abounded of religious women who could sustain themselves for years on nothing but the Eucharist – no other food passed their lips.

Mystics, Demoniacs, and the Physiology of Spirit Possession in Medieval Europe

Casting aside even the simple clothes she now wore, Ida wrapped herself in a dirty rag and draped a mat over her shoulders for warmth. Aggressively seeking out the most crowded plazas and market places, she preened and ‘strutted about if mad or a fool, offering a monstrous spectacle of herself to the people.’

Anorexia and the Holiness of Saint Catherine of Siena

Anorexia and other manifestations of the body provided the medieval woman a unique opportunity to affirm the true power of mystico-religious rules.

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