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Beguines (bāgēnzˈ), religious associations of women in Europe, established in the 12th cent. The members, who took no vows and were not subject to the rules of any order, were usually housed in individual cottages and devoted themselves to charitable works; their community was called a beguinage. Until the 14th cent., numerous women of high social standing went into the communities. From Belgium and the Netherlands the movement extended across France and Germany. During the earlier years, their services to society brought the Beguines favor and protection from secular and church authorities; but in the 13th and 14th cent. accusations of heresies and immorality among them as well as among the Beghards, the corresponding bands of men, led to the scattering of the members. The character of the surviving communities eventually changed, in some localities taking the form of almshouses for needy spinsters.


See study by E. W. McDonnell (1954, repr. 1969).

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12th-century French mendicant order. [Fr. Hist.: Espy, 98–99]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In general, the book tackles the problem of terminology: various words were used to name beguines and beghards, which have misled both contemporaries and later scholars.
Critique: "The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement" by Laura Swan (a member and former prioress of St.
Swan brings the reader out of the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands), most closely associated with beguines, to France (Colette of Corbie), to Italy (Frances of Rome), to Spain (Maria Garcia), and across Europe as women, particularly between the 13th and 16th centuries, sought a way to live consecrated lives outside cloister.
In particular, I was drawn to "Samba II" (great melody, interesting texture changes, fast rhythmic appeal); "Beguine" (an improvisational adventure, accelerandi and quarter note triplets); "Mambo" (an easier fast piece with a catchy hook); and "Samba III" (the collection's finale, worthy of its placement.)
Cities of Ladies: Beguine Communities in the Medieval Low Countries, 1200-1565.
Beguines appeared originally in the cities of the Low Countries at the beginning of the thirteenth century, as women moved to town in large numbers to work in the cloth industry or as servants or nurses or even teachers--a number of public schools were established in the cities, serving girls as well as boys and needing teachers of both sexes.
Here, through careful quantitative and demographic analyses of diplomatic materials culled from about forty archives of the southern Low Countries, Simons painstakingly reconstructs the social history of the beguines. He uses evidence from documents of practice such as wills, obituary books, hearth censuses, cartularies, and guild records to show when formal beguinages were founded, whether they were of the convent or court type, how many beguines inhabited these communities, how beguines were employed in the community and urban workforce, and, perhaps most revealingly, the socioeconomic status of both founders and members of beguine institutions.
Amaurians, beguines and the Brethren of the Free Spirit
At age 20 Mallet-Joris won unanimous critical approval with her novel Le Rempart des beguines (1951; U.S.
In the five extant letters to her fellow Beguines, Maria emerges as an active and forceful personality.
While still in her teens, Mallet - Joris wrote Le Rempart des Beguines (1950; translated as The Illusionist, 1952), the story of a girl of fifteen who becomes the lesbian lover of her father's mistress.