Send me God: The Lives of Ida the Compassionate of Nivelles, Nun of La Ramee, Arnulf, Lay Brother of Villers, and Abundus, Monk of Villers, by Goswin of Bossut

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In the early thirteenth century the diocese of Liege witnessed an extraordinary religious revival, known to us largely through the abundant corpus of saints' lives from that region. Cistercian monks, nuns, beguines, and recluses formed close-knit networks of spiritual friendship that easily crossed the boundaries of gender, religious status, and even language. Holy women such as Mary of Oignies and Christina the Astonishing were held up by their biographers as models of orthodoxy and miraculous powers. Less ...

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Overview

In the early thirteenth century the diocese of Liege witnessed an extraordinary religious revival, known to us largely through the abundant corpus of saints' lives from that region. Cistercian monks, nuns, beguines, and recluses formed close-knit networks of spiritual friendship that easily crossed the boundaries of gender, religious status, and even language. Holy women such as Mary of Oignies and Christina the Astonishing were held up by their biographers as models of orthodoxy and miraculous powers. Less familiar but no less fascinating are the male saints of the region. In this volume Martinus Cawley, ocso, has translated a trilogy of Cistercian lives composed by the same hagiographer, Goswin, who was a monk and cantor at the celebrated abbey of Villers in Brabant. Although all three of these saints were connected with the same order, their versions of holiness represent a study in contrasts, from the compassionate nun Ida of Nivelles, remarkable for her eucharistic raptures, to the fiercely ascetic lay brother Arnulf, to the gentle monk Abundus, renowned for his deep liturgical and Marian piety. The title Send Me God derives from a revealing catch-phrase that devout men and women used to request prayers from their spiritual friends.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Select bibliography
Map
Preface
Introduction to the lives
Villers : the geography and history of Goswin's world 1
Villers : the literary corpus 4
Goswin of Bossut, cantor of Villers 6
Ida the compassionate of Nivelles 8
Arnulf, lay brother of Villers 12
Abundus, monk of Villers 18
The title, Send me God 20
Translation policy 22
Acknowledgements 24
The life of Ida the compassionate of Nivelles, nun of La Ramee
Prologue 29
1 Ida's parentage, infancy, and childhood 30
2 She enters the order at Kerkom 34
3 The monastery transferred; a clandestine communion 36
4 A financial decision; an early revelation 37
5 Praying for the soul of a sister's father 38
6 Two priests tempted to fornication 39
7 Ida frees a sister from blasphemy 41
8 A deceased nun appears to Ida 42
9 Pleading for a woman; a purgatorial bridge 44
10 A decreased sister foretells Ida's death 45
11 The incestuous man 47
12 Ida's vision of two toads 48
13 Demons in the dormitory and infirmary 49
14 A departed soul freed from three demons 51
15 Ida unmasks an apostate canon regular 52
16 Ida reassures a canon regular about his sins 53
17 A religious woman's three defects 55
18 The book of life, the mountaintop, and hell 56
19 The Christ child seen at Pentecost dinner 58
20 The Eucharist during the Harvest 60
21 The Christ child at the Christmas masses 62
22 A night of story-telling at Liege 64
23 Mary offers her son to Ida 67
24 The Christ child seen catching Ida's tears 68
25 A friend familiar with Mary and with Ida 70
26 A doubting priest comes to belief in Ida 72
27 The priests of Maagdendaal and Thuin 74
28 The seven gifts; the Trinity; Maagdendaal 76
29 Ida's eight topics of contemplation 78
30 Her charity and compassion 83
31 Her humility and obedience 86
32 Her patience 88
33 Her last illness 90
34 Her death 93
35 Posthumous miracles 96
App. I The verses 101
App. II Ida in the dialogues of Caesarius 105
App. III Ida in the life of Beatrice of Nazareth 107
The life of Arnulf, lay brother of Villers
Preface 125
Bk. I Arnulf and his austerities
1 Early life and initial conversatio 129
2 Entering Villers; three penitential ropes 131
3 Rods and broom stems as whips; Arnulf explains his intent 133
4 A cane to beat himself; nettles to roll in 135
5 Garments to sackcloth and a triple chain 136
6 His vest of hedgehog pelts 138
7 His bedding 140
8 His food and drink 142
9 His work, his vigils, his sleep 143
10 His regimes for winter and for summer 145
11 His daily regime in Lent 147
12 His coat of mail 149
Bk. II His virtues and his deeds
1 Arnulf's charity 153
2 Pigs forbidden to grunt, and then given away 155
3 His humility and patience 156
4 His obedience and prayer 159
5 Our Lady reveals to Arnulf her seven heavenly joys 162
6 Jesus offers Arnulf ever loftier visions 164
7 His laughter 166
8 Four encounters with demons 168
9 A monk freed from rupture; 'send me God' 171
10 The Convent of Argensolles founded on Arnulf's advice 172
11 Chiding a recluse for neglecting her protege 174
12 Foretelling the death of a priest's mother 176
13 Reproving a priest's pretence of religiosity 178
14 Helping a novice and two monks in need 180
15 Vision of a monk carried up to heaven 181
16 'Sending God' to a matron in Paris 183
17 Awareness of a grace sent to a devout woman 184
18 Arnulf consulted by two clerics 186
19 Foretelling a possessed girl's liberation 188
20 Six prophetic predictions verified 189
21 His illness and death 193
App. I Verses about Arnulf's Conversatio and his passing 199
App. II Laudatory epitaph for the blessed Arnulf by Franciscus Moschus 203
The life of Abundus, monk of Villers
Prologue 209
1 Abundus's background; etymology of his name 210
2 His schooling 211
3 Early devotional life 212
4 His vocation : Walburgis, Yvette, Conrad 214
5 His novitiate at Villers 215
6 Seven years later : his first mystical experience 216
7 Experience on John the Baptist's day 219
8 The Virgin seen chanting with the monks 221
9 Abundus as trusted courier for the Virgin 223
10 Exchange of kisses with the Virgin 224
11 The Candlemas vision 225
12 Winning his sister to La Ramee 228
13 Assumption day and Jerome's understatement 232
14 The Virgin seen solacing monks at the harvest 234
15 Vision of Bernard of Villers and John of Nivelles 235
16 Deathbed conversion of a nephew 236
17 Freeing a man from fleshly temptation 239
18 Saving the vocation of a tempted novice 240
19 Encouraging the lay brother Baldwin 241
20 Assumption and St. Bernard's Day; death of Gerard 243
App. I An account of Abundus's death 247
App. II The epitaph 249
App. III Abundus's role in the vocation of Gobert of Aspremont 251
App. IV Abundus in the first letter of Thomas the cantor 255
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