Medieval Europe

Religious Nuns in Medieval Europe

image of Abbess Carrying CrosierThe 19th century British poet Wordsworth referred to a pastoral, country scene as being "quiet as a nun." He (like many of his early 19th century contemporaries) pictured a pious, black-cowled nun, praying with down-turned eyes. In the mid-20th century, this quiet image was challenged by nuns in the United States who dressed in modern clothes, joined protest marches in the streets, and lobbied for more rights within the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

To answer those critical of modern nuns for breaking with tradition, church women could say that they were following nuns traditions of activism. The history of women as religious nuns in the Roman Catholic Church has been one filled with activity and controversy.

Copyright © The Clio Project 2005

PDF icon Full Lesson

Photo Credit:
Page from a manuscript of La Sainte Abbay—The British Library, London. Abbess Carrying Crosier.

Syndicate content