It is especially in Germany that the beginal renewal seems to live a real spring. In many cities archival documents have been brought to light, referring to ancient settlements, and in 30 localities there are modern concrete initiatives. Sometimes a new beginage are built, like the 19 reviewed below, sometimes there are groups of women who feel united without sharing daily life. Spirituality, when mentioned, is now ecumenical Christianity and often the feminist thought is affirmed.
It all seems to have begun in 1985 when Gertrud Hoffmann, a widow of Catholic tradition, because she couldn’t find traces of beguines in archives and libraries, stimulated the rediscovery of this submerged story. She herself founded a beginage in Essen where she welcomed homeless persons.
Since then, a Foundation was created in 2003 http://www.beginenstiftung.de
and a Federation in 2004
of which Brita Lieb is the current coordinator.
Every year the Federation organizes the Beginenenreise, a study journey of the Beguinal movement. Here are the programs of the years 2018 (Beguines in Switzerland) and 2019 (Beginenreise 2019) and a short Beginenreise 2019 report by Sigrun Dieberg.
Always in Germany, we remember the feminist association BEGINE – Treffpunkt und Kultur für Frauen e. V., that for more than 25 years has been operating in Berlin a cultural commitment and emancipation of women. Although not showing a spiritual inspiration, this cultural center wanted to root into the memory of the beginual movement. The same inspiration is found in the important project the Beginenhof in Berlin, that presents a feminist matrix without explicit spiritual references.
The Beginenhot Tännich in Thuringia, directed by women with experience in feminism and economics, wants to promote women’s entrepreneurship and their public presence. In this farm are living women of all ages, with or without children. It was founded by the daughter of Liselotte Polh-Henn (1908-2000) to honor her mother’s political commitement for women. Each year, on November 3th, the date of Liselotte’s funerals and the execution of Olympe de Gouges in 1793, this initiative is celebrated and the confirmation to the project is annually renewed.
This project unfortunately seems to have been interrupted in 2005.
Modern beguinages in Germany at January 2015
* Ostfriesland / Emsland
* Schwerte I e II
* Tübingen I e II
Milena Garavaglia, Cohousing al femminile, Abitare nei beghinaggi moderni, e-book, Amazon, 2017
Béguines modernes en Allemagne, interviewes of I.Rudder and Béatrice Bea, by Bernard Litzier, Radio Suisse Romande “Les beguines, priantes et indépendantes- gennaio 2012
Cited website and https://begine.wordpress.com/