1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Woman-saints in the West? August 7, 2008

image by axinia

We always think of a saint as a man – at least that is the first thought that normally comes to our mind. Have there never been holy women? Or if there are – why are they so unknown?

I found some intresting insight into that topic:

“In addition to the(Knights)Templars and the enlightenment of a saint such as Bernard of Clairvaux, the Middle Ages saw the blossoming of mysticism amongst woman saints. Although their spiritual greatness was marginalized in western culture, this movement grew to an extent unprecedented in western history. These saints, who came from monasteries and convents from all over Europe reawakened the flame of Eternal Love and abandoned the fruitless intellect of the church theologians.

Amongst them there were Clara of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hildegard of Binden, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Marguerite Porette, Julian of Norwich and many others. Through their piety and their contemplative meditations, some of them rediscovered the maternal aspect of the Divine.”  From the book “The search for the Divine Mother” by Gwenael Verez.


11 Responses to “Woman-saints in the West?”

  1. John Noyce Says:

    The woman saints of medieval Europe were not only in monasteries and convents.
    The Beguines of north-eastern France, and what is now Belgium and the Netherlands, also need to to be remembered. They lived outside of monasteries and convents, and therefore outside of patriarchal Church control. Marguerite Porette and Hadewijch were both Beguines.

  2. Very interesting post, Axinia. Were the women saints marginalised only because the male-dominated Churches had a huge influence on everything in life during the Middle Ages in Europe?

  3. axinia Says:

    @John Noyce: great input, thanks!

    I did not know what Beguines means, but I found it out: “Beghards and Beguines were Roman Catholic lay religious communities active in the 13th and 14th century, living in a loose semi-monastic community but without formal vows. They were influenced by Albigensian teachings and by the Brethren of the Free Spirit, which flourished in and near Cologne around the same time but was condemned as heretical.”

    @An alien Earthling:

    I guess an Indian would never understand the extent of the Church`s impact on the life in the West (it is vast and – often -devastating)…It is was also difficult to realise for me as Russian. Unfortunately, the influence is still very high – even in the democratic countries. Like in Austria every citizen has to pay taxes to the Catholic Church – even today!! – from 100 till 200 Euros per year´(depending on the income).

  4. Axinia, I’ve heard that the taxes in the E.U. are quite high, but why does one have to pay taxes to the Catholic Church? I thought the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved long, long ago! I don’t understand why a non-Catholic Austrian or a non-religious Austrian has to pay taxes to the Catholic Church 😕

  5. axinia Says:

    If you are non-Catholic, and an Austrian citizen, you surely don`t pay – but you have to officially get out of the Curch. Most of the Austrian confess being Catholics, but in fact they do not practice it all. And still they pay taxes!!! (that seem funny to me).

    IN Austira, the Church is NOT separated from the state, intrestingly the agreemend was arranged by the Hilter (!) in 1938 and they still stick to it. Catholic Church is still very, very powerfull here, and owns lots of property, etc…That is not my favourite subject, but i know people who know quite a lot of horrid facts about this institution.

  6. It’s not my favourite subject either and not just with the Catholic Church. I dislike all organised religions and keep my distance from them as they do not permit free thought. Anything that forbids free thought is incompatible with me 😐

  7. axinia Says:

    rebel you 🙂

  8. swaps Says:

    “Like in Austria every citizen has to pay taxes to the Catholic Church”

    I CANNOT believe it.

    you have to, my friend! 😦 As I explaind, not really EVERY one, but everyone who has not stepped out of the Catholic Curch -and that is the majority. axinia

    Btw, India too had female saints.
    I can think of…
    One, Meera Bai considered herself the consort of Lord Krishna! She sang bhajans in His praise. (I always thought she was the first feminist).

    There was another, Akka Mahadevi. A brave unconventional woman, a poetess, a social reformer (O! how badly India needed it – still does). You know, she didn’t wear any article of clothing and covered herself with only her knee-long tresses!!

  9. axinia Says:

    Oh, I am sure there have been much more women-saits in India, onaly beause the female Deities have also being worshiped in India, anlike in otehr countires. And that is inspiring 🙂 May be I will post alter soemthing on that, I have seen many names…

  10. radha Says:

    In EU the so called christian calendar celebrates plenty of women saints, some nominated by the book from G. Verez. …..and noticing these comments above, what one should do in Eu to step out of the Church and not pay the taxes? there must be a declaration form? oh my, we are so much a passed world yet!

  11. axinia Says:

    Radha, even if these saints are celebratied, normaly nobody knows about them much – and actually not even intrested..

    As for the Church in Austria – yes, you can write a letter of designation, then they will try to convince you again, and finally, if you dont give up, they will let you go… Recently, in conncetion with the children sexual abuse by some Austrian priests many people left the Catholic Church in disgust.

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