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La vie consacrée des femmes et l’ascétisme domestique : normes, liturgies, pratiques (fin IVe-début XIIe siècle)

Abstract : This article provides a general overview of female house ascetics from the end of the 4th to the beginning of the 12th century, a long-established practice that has been canonically admitted and instituted liturgically since late Antiquity, but that historiography, polarized by the cenobitic life forms, has left in the shadows. It shows, from the example of the Jerome’s Circle of the widows, virgins and chaste couples of Rome and its environs, that there is a great deal of porosity between the different forms of consecrated life and that women's conversions are never isolated, but affects many members of a family and a household, affecting both women and men. The conciliar documentation, the hagiographic narratives and the charters attest the recurrence of the consecrated life of the women carried out in the world, in their own home, but also in symbiosis and in the service of the masculine communities. They allow to observe the setting up of two levels of distiction of the consecrated women. The first is relative to their social status, virgins or widows. The second concerns the type of commitment to ascetic life, that is, women who have simply publicly declared their intention to remain chaste and those for whom this has been sanctioned in a liturgical ceremony. The ceremony of "consecration-blessing" is analogous to that of marriage, velatio nuptialis. As evidenced by the various sacramentaries and pontificals, it is centered first on the handing over of the veil and then increased by the change of clothes, with differences that singularly distinguish the virgins of the widows, but also the women who are taken back to a monastery from those living in their own home, as in the Romano-Germanic Pontifical, towards the end of the tenth century.
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Contributor : Eliana Magnani <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 7:34:47 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:22 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 8:13:50 PM


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Eliana Magnani. La vie consacrée des femmes et l’ascétisme domestique : normes, liturgies, pratiques (fin IVe-début XIIe siècle). Revue Mabillon, revue internationale d'histoire et de littérature religieuses, Abbaye Saint-Martin ; A. Picard et fils ; Brepols, 2018, n.s. t. 29 (= t. 90), pp.5-25. ⟨halshs-02101537⟩



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