Cistercian Nuns in Northen Italy. Variety of Foundations and Construction of an Identity

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The article concentrates on two problematical reference points, that is, 1) the moment of foundation or incorporation of the groups of nuns into the Cistercian order and 2) the gradual construction of a community identity. The female monasteries that were part of the Cistercian order from its foundation were a rather small number compared to the total. Instead many incorporations into the order involved semi-religious communities, often already consolidated. Therefore we are faced with experiences that are often very distant from the Cistercian world, endowed with a high degree of instability, and whose institutional development was almost always guided by contingent causes that were not only religious, but also economic, political, and social. Entry among the Cistercians was not a point of arrival for the nuns, as much as a starting point for the gradual formation of a Cistercian community identity. An important role in this process belongs to the hagiographic texts. The Life of the Piacentine abbess Franca di Vitalta, who lived between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, is considered in particular.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteWomen in the Medieval Monastic World
EditorJanet Burton, Karen Stoeber
Numero di pagine22
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • Cistercensi
  • Cremona
  • Monache
  • Papato
  • Pavia
  • Piacenza


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