IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 523: Getting in, Getting along, Getting on: Daily Life in a Cistercian Abbey

Tuesday 14 July 2009, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Terryl N. Kinder, _Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses_, Pontigny
Moderator/Chair:Terryl N. Kinder, _Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses_, Pontigny
Paper 523-aA Lucky Escape?: Transition from Other Orders in the Letters of Nicholas of Clairvaux
(Language: English)
Lena Wahlgren-Smith, Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Culture, University of Southampton
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Latin, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 523-bBetween Individuality and Community: Monastic Careers in the Cistercian Order
(Language: English)
Emilia Jamroziak, Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte (FOVOG), Technische Universität Dresden / Institute for Medieval Studies / School of History, University of Leeds
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Monasticism, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 523-cHailes Abbey, 1469-1539: The Evidence from the Cartulary (Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust MS DR 18/31/5)
(Language: English)
David N. Bell, Department of Religious Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Index terms: Archives and Sources, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Monasticism, Religious Life
Abstract

Paper-a: In this paper I will look at the question of transitus to Clairvaux from other Orders. The letter collection of Nicholas of Clairvaux contains several instances where the desire for a monk to change to a stricter order comes into conflict with the vow of obedience, as the abbot of the first order is unwilling to give his permission. Nicholas’ advice for such occasions is on the face of it highly irregular, as is his account of his own transitus. It is difficult to understand how its author could have thought it appropriate to publish these letters and circulate them in the monastery. However, reading these letters in the context of saints’ biographies puts a different perspective on Nicholas’ attempts to break loose and to encourage others to do the same. I will suggest that Nicholas sees himself in the role of the young saint who has to break away from his worldly family in order to achieve sainthood. The abbot and community of Montieramy are cast in the role of the family standing in the way of salvation. This explains why Nicholas, so far from trying to hide the peculiar transactions surrounding his own and his friends’ transition, is anxious to include them in the letter collection whose main narrative is that of his conversion to the Cistercian religio.
Paper-b: One of the areas of Cistercian studies which appears rather neglected is the issue of monastic careers within the order. In particular the ‘career progressions’ of monks, their movements between houses of their own filiations and beyond, are important as they allow us to questions a wide spectrum of issues. The movements of monastic personnel, particularly of office holders, helped to maintain filial connections across borders, to transmit information and ideas, and to keep particular traditions alive. Much of the evidence for the role of the monastic career is indirect and I am going to show in this paper how it can be utilised for better understanding of the internal workings of the order. The paper will be based on a wide range of examples from across Europe.
Paper-c: Scholarly attention was first drawn to this cartulary of Hailes in 1999, but little attention has been paid to it, and, to date, no account (either published or unpublished) of its contents is available. This paper will examine the cartulary in detail, provide a summary of what it contains, and show how it is an important witness to the everyday concerns and activities of the abbey in the last decades of its existence. The last entry in the volume is dated 1 September 1539, some four months before the house was surrendered on 24 December of the same year.