News Letter 2018

10/2018 Beguinal wishes 2018 (21-12-2018)

Today, receiving greetings from Breda’s Beguinage, I finally found the image that would have accompanied mine too for you. On the contrary, they are two images, recomposed in one: the Beguinage of Breda with the luminous Christmas tree and the decorations of light and on the right the stamps used for shipping. Very special stamps because they depict the beguinage of Breda thus bringing its image into the world. Congratulation to the Breda beguinage for this joyfull surprise. Together with their wishes I also join mine for a year of justice, peace and sorority.

9/2018 Marguerite Porete again (21-11-2018)

A new French book on Marguerite has just appeared: : Le livre de la femme qui brûle. Marguerite Porete (The book of the woman who burns. Marguerite Porete). Knowing the author I do not doubt that it will be a small masterpiece The author, Jean-Yves Leloup, is a writer, philosopher, theologian and orthodox priest. He has published many books and has given innovative translations and interpretations of the Gospel, the Epistles and the Apocalypse of John, as well as the Gospels considered apocryphal (Philip, Mary, Thomas). This book was reported to me from Quebec by my friend Jacques who writes: “I have recently read the book by Jean Yves Leloup : Le livre de la femme qui brûle. Marguerite Porete. He comments on some of her deepest words. The book is an ode to the woman, to the love of the Gift, to God beyond God. Jean Yves says: “I have harvested here only a few sparks, embers of this burning bush. So we will not find in this book an exhaustive study or summary of her work. I only collect what was enough to relieve the cold of my soul. ”
Thank you very much, dear Jacques, for this reading which will warm ours souls too.

8/2018 Nel giardino delle beghine – In the beguines’ garden (5-11-2018)
by Martina Bugada

We were about seventy people, far more than those expected by the organizers. We were reunited on Saturday, October 27th in Mantua, via Dugoni, n. 12, and also its new headquarters freely offered by the congregation of the nuns “Little Daughters of Holy Crowned Mary “. A spin off generated by the Sororità and grafted onto a still existing female religious tradition, but aware of the need to enlarge its enclosure. This new association wants to be a meeting place and support for all women, of all creeds and cultures, who acts in defense and promotion of women. The primary instrument will be human relations, as a prerequisite for the construction of a humanity of justice, even of gender, and of sorority, thus promoting a new female symbolic order as well. Importantly, the movement of the beguines is the identifying reference to grow and focus on the paradigms of a new humanity. This is a very important recognition for the beguines, these women so often still ignored today, devalued and even derided. As a final synthesis, here the comment by Delfina “What a joy to see the birth of spaces of female freedom!”

Next activity in Mantua, in via Dugoni 12, on November 25th at 3:30 pm for a meeting with Silvana Panciera on the theme “Getting to know the Beguinal movement in Europe

7/2018 Beginenreise 2018 in Switzerland, 29 April to 3 May (15-09-2018)

I promised you a report about the Beguinenreise 2018, study travel organized by the indefatigable Brita Lieb for knowing the beguinal movement in Switzerland. I had the honor, the only non-German participant, to travel with about thirty wonderful women, most of whom considering themselves as beguines. Brita and Angelika even wore the mantle typical of the beguines and Anna was moved to tears when she was talking about these “historical mothers”. Unfortunately, despite the very kind Gabi was permanently supporting me for the translation in English, I captured only a small part of the information provided during the visits and presentations. So I had to leverage during the time spent together on all the resources of body language. Really not easy for me! At the end of my 2 days with them, I parted from the formidable group saying that maybe I had lost some information, but certainly not the spirit of friendship that I shared with them. Thanks, therefore, to all of you, dear friends of the Beguinenreise 2018, really a only-women travel as even the bus driver was a woman.
For those who were not there, here is the interesting paper Beguines in Switzerland  presented by Brita Lieb during the trip and translated into English by Gabi Bierkl. And also Beguines and Beghards  by Martina Wehrli-Johns found in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland. Enjoy the reading.

6/2018 UNESCO & Beguinages (30-08-2018)

On 2 December 1998, UNESCO included thirteen Flemish beguinages – Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Ghent, Hoogstraten, Kortrijk, Leuven, Lier, Mechelen, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Truiden, Tongeren and Turnhout – on its list of world heritage. Turnhout and Leuven joined their forces and together with other partners worked out a program to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this recognition. The starting of the celebration was given in Leuven at the beginning of August with the opening of the travelling exhibition ‘Begijnhoven. Age-old. Contemporary ‘in the University Library at Ladeuzeplein. In December, there will be an important conference over the beguinal spirituality in which our “beguine” friend Rita Fenendael will take part as a speaker.
For the entire program : https://begijnhofmuseum.turnhout.be/feestprogramma-20-jaar-unesco-werelderfgoed

5/2018 Apolline Vranken (13-07-2018)

Apolline Vranken is not a beguine, but a young student very interested in the beguinal world to the point of having chosen it as the theme of her Master 2 thesis in architecture at the Université Libre in Brussels. She contacted me in April 2017 about this project, we had exchanges and since then she is also a member of our newsletter Beguines.
Thanks to my friend Colette, I learned that Apolline’s thesis whose title is “Des béguinages à l’architecture féministe. Comment interroger et subvertir les rapports de genre matérialisés dans habitat? »(From the beguinages to the feminist architecture. How to interrogate and subvert the gender relations materialized in the inhabited area?» received the Université des Femmes award. Since 1996, this price rewards annually two works at the end of the cycle that have developed a field “Women” with the approach of feminist analysis. Our warmest congratulations to Apolline. Thanks for sending the link for consulting her thesis. Good holidays well deserved to her and to everybody of us.

4/2018 Marie d’Oignies (22-06-2018)

Before that Gregory IX in 1228 forbade the preaching by the laity, some men and women of particular charisma and authority were granted the faculty of preaching, the so-called mandatum predicandi. The book “Anche i laici possono predicare?” (Even the laity can preach?) (E. Bianchi, C.U.Cortoni, F. Mandreoli, R.Saccenti, Edizioni Qiqajon, Comunità di Bose, 2017, p.10) counts among the women who enjoyed this recognition, in addition to the famous Hildegard of Bingen , also the beguine Marie d’Oignies (1177-1213). In the  Beguines Gallery we have remembered this extraordinary Blessed who lived in Belgium where her cult and her relics are preserved. In particular, we would like to remember her on 23 June, the day of her death at the age of 36. Let us remember Marie for her love towards the suffering in Willambroux ‘s leper colony and for her regenerative influence. Thanks to it, she involved her husband Jean in the commitment of a marital sanctity and changed the life of Jaques de Vitry who, to follow her, left a brilliant career as a professor in Paris. To him, great admirer of the beguines, we owe the “Life of Marie d’Oignies“(1216). Around Marie, the first historically ascertained beguinal community arose.

3/2018 Angelina da Montegiove (7-05-2018)
Anna Clotilde Filannino in front of the
painting of Angelina da Montegiove

Many people think that in Italy a Beguinal movement never existed. Luckily we can contradict them and affirm that it was quite numerous and rather diversified, with different names (humiliate, bizzoche, pinzochere …) depending on the regions in Italy. Mario Sensi writes : “It was a varied movement … who intends to study the phenomenon comes across a gallery of irregular forms of religious life … with a mixture of aspirations for the contemplative life and reasons, socio-religious and economic, that had prevented some women from entering a monastery “(Mario Sensi,” Mulieres in Ecclesia “. Storie di monache e bizzoche, Centro Italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo, Spoleto, Spoleto, 2010, Tomo first and second p.68)
Thanks to the collaboration of Sr Anna Clotilde Filannino, profound scholar and intimate expert of Blessed Angelina da Montegiove of the Earls of Marsciano (1357-1435), herself founder of the congregation to which also Anna Clotilde belongs, we can read  about an exemplary case of the Italian beguinal world. In the Who’s who of Beguines, if you select the blue name of Blessed Angelina you can read the full version of the contribution by her spiritual daughter Anna Clotilde. I sincerely thank her for sending it. Angelina da Montegiove, the last of four children of Earl Giacomo da Binolo and Alessandra Salimbeni, an orphan at a very tender age, was married in 1383 to Giovanni da Termis. Remained a widow after only a few years, she distributed all her property to the poor and later founded a “opened monastery” in Foligno, very similar to a Beguinal community that could maintain its style for a long time despite clerical pressures.

2/2018 Beginen-Reise 2018 (18-04-2018)
Brita Lieb

The “Beguines journey” that Brita Lieb and DACHVERBAND  DER  BEGINEN organize every year will have this year Switzerland as a destination. Why Switzerland? “Because Switzerland has had since 1998 an excellent research on the history of the Beguinal movement and because the presence of the Beguines was particularly important”, we read in the letter of invitation to partecipate. For example, in Basel in the mid-fourteenth century there were as many as 22 Beguines houses.
So, from April 29 to May 3, a large group of women will travel between Basel, Zurich, St. Gallen, Fribourg and the Lake Constance area, learning a lot about the “White Sisters”, about the sisters of the forest, about the “dance of death”, but also about the expulsion, sometimes very traumatic, suffered by the Beguines of Switzerland.
Having the privilege of participating in a part of this journey, I hope to be able to feed back to you who would have liked to join, but this time it will not be possible, because of the limited number of participants.

1/2018 “La nuit des béguines”, a new book (09-01-2018)

My dear friend Michel Wolff informs us that Aline Kiner wrote a novel ” La nuit des béguines” (The Beguines night) published by Liana Levi editor. This texte is very important because it describes the life of the beguines in the Paris beguinage at the XIVth century. I am only sending the information as received and invite someone who will read it to kindly send us a review.  Here one : La nuit des béguines