Who we are

In the Beguinage of Dendermonde (Termonde)

Hello. My name is Silvana Panciera and with the help of my friend Philippe Hensmans I decided to create this web site in order to share the fruits of my many years of research on the beguinal movement. This is a “open free” information, but thank you to quote the source.

My interest in the Beguines began in the exhibition The Closed Garden of the Soul (Brussels, 1994), which dealt with various forms of female spirituality. On a panel of the exhibition I read: “Would the beguinal movement perhaps be the first feminist movement? “. This question was the starting point of a research that has continued since then, which for two years has led me to visit what remains today of all the Belgian beguinages and which has pushed me more and more to want to make known and rehabilitate this feminine history. A form of posthumous justice towards the great protagonists, women fought, repressed, ignored, ignored and sometimes even derided.
Here are the steps.

In 2009, Fidélité Editions published the book Les béguines, which was very successful and was printed again in 2012.

In 2010, the four languages DVD (EN-FR-IT-NL), All om all. Discovering the Beguinal Movement in Europe, which is also found on Youtube.

In 2011 Gabrielli published the Italian version of the book, Le Beghine. Una storia di donne per la libertà, with the preface by Marco Vannini.
Since 2013, two other translations appeared in English and German. The first The Beguines is available as an ebook. The German edition Die beginen (Ed.Octopus) is released in paper version in April 2014.

 

In 2015, in collaboration with the iconographer Martina Bugada, I published Tre Voci per l’amore (Three Voices for Love), where the icons and an anthology of texts were found of three famous Beguines: Mechthild di Magdeburg, Hadewijch and Marguerite Porete.

2021 marks an important step in the dissemination of my research. After years of new discoveries and important insights collected from uninterrupted studies, I was able to rework the entire text of my book and offer a new edition, this time also in Spanish.
This was made thanks to the collaboration of Sandra Almeyda. The Spanish edition “Las beguinas. Mujeres por la libertad ”, available in ebook format, will be the first of the four new editions.

The English version will follow, thanks to the admirable voluntary contribution of Graham Keen who translated the text into his mother language. The new English edition is also available in ebook format and replaced the one from 2013.

 

Revised by Monique Van Lancker, the text will then be published by ALMORA in the new French edition with the title “Les beguine. Une communauté de femmes libres “, which can be purchased as an ebook or printed on the publisher’s website.

The new Italian edition is planned for the beginning of 2022.

Since 2014, I have circulated the Beguines Newsletter , information about the beguinal movement of yesterday and today.

 

Antwerpen Beguinage
Statue of Beguine

Since 2016, I have prepared and constantly  update this website. It is an homage to the thousands of women who, from the end of the twelfth century to the end of the twentieth century, have lived an existential adventure that was opposed by many, ignored by too many, and even derided by some. The Beguines would instead have much to teach to us men and women of the twenty first century about deep love and sainthood in freedom.