Medieval Empowerment: Female Mystics in the Middle Ages
Presenter: *Kate Wintrol
Although Christian tradition assigned sharply defined roles to women, the medieval nun often attained a high level of achievement and authority. Within the convent, women had the opportunity to learn Latin, to study both classical and religious literature, perform administrative duties, and lead a valued life of prayer. The monastic environment also nurtured the writings of female mystics. Throughout the Middle Ages, several visionary women transgressed gender boundaries. In this talk, I will analyze the life and writings of such medieval mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, and Julian of Norwich and address the factors that enabled female mystics to succeed in such a restricted environment.