Wishes in the Solstice 2019 (21-12-2019)
I have waited specially this day of the solstice to send to you all, members of the Beguines News Letter, my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a peaceful introduction to 2020. I find this astronomical deadline particularly exciting. Sunday 22 December at 04:19 am UTC the winter solstice is scheduled for our hemisphere (but it is summer solstice for the southern hemisphere). The winter solstice has the peculiarity that, starting from this moment, the light of day begins imperceptibly to increase until its maximum in the summer equinox. This thought that light substitutes more and more the darkness is included in the promise of Christmas: a light is given to us, a sun will rise. Best wishes for a bright Christmas and a shining New Year.
I point out that the Beguinage of the Croix aux boeufs welcomes for Christmas and New Year those who want to spend it with the community. See “Rendez-vous au Béguinage“. They also sent an interesting text on the sometimes misused term of beguinage. Thank you very much.
For contact: email@example.com et http://ecolesagesse.free.fr
Some informations sent by members, thank you to everybody (09-12-2019)
FEVERATI Lucia presented her degree thesis at the Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage of the Church, Pontifical Gregorian University, 2018-2019. The theme, really appealing to us, is: Tra successo e sospetto. Le beghine nell’Europa del duecento e trecento.(Between success and suspicion. The Beguines in Europe, in the 13th and 14th centuries). You can read her work by clicking on her name in blue. Thank you dear Lucia. You have made a valid contribution to research, even quantitative, on the beguinal history.
With a great sigh of relief (I guess), Mattia Zangari concluded his doctoral thesis, now published in printed form and ebook. He also obtained a European “Marie Curie” scholarship. Double congratulations, Mattia. The theme of the thesis is: Tre storie di santità femminile tra parole e immagini. Agiografie, memoriali e fabulae depictae fra Due e Trecento (Three stories of feminine sanctity between words and images. Hagiographies, memorials and fabulae depictae between 13th and 14th centuries).
Roberto Pozzo tells us that the exhibition Le projet CROMIOSS, in which Jacques de Vitry is metionned, can be visited at the Musée d’art ancien in Namur (Belgium), see info on https://www.province.namur.be/index.php?rub=page&page=289
Several people indicated to me the round table “Paris, 1310: les béguines, une communauté de femmes subversives et féministes“, dedicated to the memory of Aline Kiner, author of The Night of the Beguines. To view it: https://www.franceculture.fr/conferences/ecole-nationale-des-chartes/paris-les-beguines-une-communaute-de-femmes-subversives-et-feministes?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebookfbclid=IwAR1HTXOQXJwNzBm3yQmwsXKQnB2b9qNMat3veRfNsxtXj4uohXomKOgBu8g#Echobox=1563438159
Dorothée Janssen has reacted to my last message, by writing the following, which she took from Wikipedia: “Donald Attwater (English Catholic author, 1892-1977) dismisses what he calls the “legend” of Saint Catherine, arguing for the lack of any “positive evidence that she even existed outside the mind of some Greek writer who first composed what he intended to be simply an edifyng romance. Harold Davis writes that an accurate research has failed to identify Catherine with any historical character”.
Let us remember that hagiographies are not biographies and that a legend has a different status thant an hitorical fact. Thanks to Dorothée for inspiring this cautious precision.
Beguines in Maine (USA) (11-09-2019)
Sr Courtney Haase wrote to me about the very original experience she promotes in Skowhegan, in the rural Maine, the most northeastern state of the United States. As we read in the web site “Companions of Claire ” is an experimental community”, an emerging Franciscan community for the mature women in the Beguine tradition. “We wish to create an experimental community following the Primitive Rule of St. Clare, involving older women in the Beguine tradition, Our focus group will be women over 62 either those who have left religious life ans wish to reenter, or those who wish to give the rest of their life to God“.
Sr Courtney spent 16 years as a Poor Claire, then she took distance from the institution and was very involved in the rural projects until to be nominated as an Ashoka Fellow candidate for innovation in agriculture. She initiated and ran for 11 years the non-profit Small Dairy Project, to help small farmers become licence dairies. Now, with Companions of Claire project, she offers a possibility for women in vocational need. In fact, separate from the convent there is a one room cabine as a hermitage where anyone can stay for a week.
Adress : Franciscan Convent of Peace and Good – 627 Middle Rd. – Skowhegan, ME 04976, https://www.companionsofclare.org
Contact : Sr. Courtney Haase <firstname.lastname@example.org> or phone ++ 1- 207-431-2664
Hadewijch songs (17-7-2019)
“Minnelieder einer Nonne” (Love songs of a nun). Thus the German philologist Franz Joseph Mone defined the 45 songs he had discovered in 1838 in the current Royal Library of Belgium. When he discovers these texts, no author’s name accompanies them. Only a small note on the sidelines of the manuscripts will allow 20 years later to unravel the mystery. But who is this Hadewijch, by some experts identified with the Brussels beguine Bloemardinne? We will have to wait for the studies of the Jesuit Joseph Van Mierlo for a little better understanding of her and for the research, since 1992, of the Dutch musicologist Louis Peter Grijp to associate 19 of her strophic poems with the music that accompanied them.
It is in this mystery that the precious album edited by Albin Michel (book and CD) suggests to plunge us; in “this corpus of spiritual love songs a “unicum” throughout the Western Middle Ages” as written by Mendelein Bara ocs, in the article in Italian language available at this link: http://beguines.info/wp-content/ uploads / 2017/08 / Hadewijch-by-Wendelien.pdf
Happy reading, good listening and joyful holidays.
A future beguinage in Halle (Belgium) (o9-06-2019)
It is trough the press that we learned about the project of a future beguinage in Halle, a city of nearly 35,000 inhabitants located in Flanders, about thirty km south of Brussels. Halle is well known in Belgium for its shrine dedicated to the Black Madonna and for the annual pilgrimage on May the first.
The project of a future beguinage is born in the heart of the Monastery of the Sacramentine Sisters, which even has a website: https://monasteriumhallefr.wordpress.com/overons
Founded in the 17th century by the Dominican father Antoine Lequieu, the Order of the Holy Sacrament was approved in 1693. This religious family is dedicated to perpetual adoration, also during the night, to reaffirm the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and “to remedy the growing disinterest among believers“.
The community of Sacramentines of Halle has gradually decreased and today it has only three nuns, interspersed with 30 years of age difference: Sister Imelda (90 years), Angela (60 years) and Marie Madeleine (30 years). To meet the requirements of their continuity and their presence in the community of the faithfuls who attend their church, they envisage the creation of an ex-novo beguinage, starting from the bricks. The amateurs who would be interested and would like to make contact (preferably in Dutch) can write to email@example.com
We wish good luck to these enterprising religious, perhaps also future beguines.
Historical rehabilitation (13-05-2019)
Thanks to the informations available with Internet, I stumbled upon the photo on the left: it is a commemorative plate that the Municipal Administration of Nave placed in June 2018 on the birth place of Benvegnuda Pincinella (+1518). The plate reads: “In memory of Benvegnuda Pincinella, a medical herbalist , in the 500th anniversary of her burning at the stake. Here she lived and provided relief. The Municipal Administration against prejudice, discrimination, injustice“. What a thrill to find about only forty kilometers from where I live (Gargnano and Nave are both localities in the province of Brescia) this plate. Nave, a community of about 11,000 inhabitants, felt the duty to rehabilitate one of those “witches” against whom, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries, public and religious powers raged. I really want to go in person to put a flower in memory of Benvegnuda and to compliment the Mayor and his Administration. But even more I would like to address with you a request to Anne Idalgo, mayor of Paris, so that such a plate is placed in the Place of the Hôtel de Ville to remember the unjust burning to which Marguerite Porete was condemned for writing a book dictated by freedom of Love. Who among you could help me in this initiative, by contacting the Mayor of Paris or by indicating to me an association that could do it? Thank you and we hope that Marguerite can also have her right rehabilitation in the place of that despicable execution.
A Beguine in Australia (03-05-2019)
It was a real surprise to receive the beautiful message from Lee-Ann Wein from such a distant country like Australia . Lee-Ann, on May 31, 2018, feast of the Visitation, made her choice of beguinal life in the Benedictine Abbey of Jamberloo, a village of just under 2000 inhabitants in New South Wales, south of Sydney. Lee-Ann calls herself a Beguine, a choice she has matured over a period of five years. She makes candles, wears a dress made of natural canvas, lives in a small hermitage in the Abbey’s property, and has chosen a life style of contemplation, simplicity with a particular attention to prayer for people who are victims of sexual abuse and for the dignity of every woman. Among her community services is the accompaniment of funerals.
Lee-Ann would be very interested in an exchange of mails. To those wishing to write to her, this is the address: Lee-Ann Wein <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
I also hope to be able to meet her as soon as possible, when I get the chance. Dear Lee-Ann, welcome with us.
“La croix aux bœufs” (06-04-2019)
Thanks to Lina Kortobi, I recently discovered the beguinage La Croix aux boeufs which is located in St Martin du Lac (Burgundy-Franche Comté). It is a beguinage based on a strong Christian spiritual inspiration, with initially an apostolic and monastic community. Oblates and couples are also part of it without living under the same roof. Because the initial community have lived in Belgium for 5 years, they well knew the beguines and wanted to be inspired by them. With their high vocation of proclaiming the God’s word and thanks to their school of evangelization, “the Community offers retreats, seminars, teachings and training, in various forms according to the places, the needs, the groups and the persons requesting; during the day, in the evening or at the weekend, they organize occasional gatherings (summer campus) or undertake itinerant missions “. In short, a very apostolic vocation.
The first motivation of those who would like to be part of this project must be the spiritual pursuit, but the three vows – poverty, chastity, obedience – are not required to be admitted to the Beguinage. Many other information can be found on their website.
This is a determined and well-defined experience that enriches the multiform array of modern expressions inspired by the beguinal movement. For contacts: Béguinage, Communauté apostolique et monastique
71110 St Martin du lac
06 66 73 08 96 ou 09 78 23 31 86
The Beguines of Medieval Paris (28-03-2019)
You will see directly how her writing is engaging and documented. Not for nothing The Beguines of Medieval Paris was a reference text for the book La nuit des béguines (see News Letter n.1/2018 ) by the late Aline Kiner.
Tanya Stabler Miller’s book describes the beguinal communities in the Paris of the 13th and 14th centuries, at the time it was the largest city in Western Europe due to its intellectual and economic appeal. Paris: “vibrant and cosmopolitan” as defined by the author.
8 March & Beguines (12-03-2019)
Among the many expressions surfaced on the occasion of March 8 Women’s Day, it was a real surprise to find an article on the beguinal movement in a Spanish on line magazine. Muchas gracias to Vicente and Maria Luisa for letting me know about to me. Even if you do not read Spanish, just click out of curiosity on the website https://cantabrialiberal.com/opinion/un-movimiento-femenino-de-la-edad-media-por-juan-goti-ordenana,482662.html and you will see the article by professor Juan Goti Ordeñana of the University of Valladolid who regularly writes in the Cantabria Liberal magazine.
The importance of this text, even with its minor inaccuracies, is that it presents the beguines’ movement as a manifestation of freedom and autonomy of women. It underlines their influence on the people, as perhaps even superior to the preaching of the monks and secular clergy. (“su influencia religiosa en el pueblo, que la predicación de los monjes de los monasterios y el clero secular de las parroquias“). The most surprising thing is that the beguines have been remembered from Spain by a man on March the 8th. Another mimosa has bloomed.