Sanctity and Motherhood: Essays on Holy Mothers in the Middle Agesby Anneke Mulder-Bakker (Editor), Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker (Other)
Increasingly, recent scholarship has focused on those married women and mothers in the Middle Ages who achieved holiness. The Merovingian Waldetrudis and Rictrudis; Ida, mother of the crusader king Godfrey of Bouillon; Elisabeth of Hungary and Bridget of Sweden are among them. Unlike Mary and her mother, Saint Anne (mother saints, whose sanctity was based on motherhood) these female parents were honored despite rather than because of their children. They were holy mothers, whose status as spouses and mothers gave them a public voice and opened for them the road to sanctification. They successfully combined marriage and motherhood with a religious life and functioned as holy women in their community. Despite increasing respect, tension between the roles of saint and wife persisted. Saintly women were not expected to be happily married: the ancient prejudice against sexual passion and physical ease mitigated the enjoyment of married life.
The book's original essays focus on Northern Europe, where the cult of Saint Anne reached its climax around 1500. It does not explore Church doctrine and theology, as other studies do, but examines the religious experience of historical holy mothers and saints and how these women were perceived by their communities and their biographers.
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