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(bāgēnz`), 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 BeghardsBeghards
, religious associations of men in Europe, organized similarly to the Beguines. They resembled a Franciscan group, with whom they were later often confused. Of unknown origin, they first appeared at Louvain in 1220 and soon spread throughout the Netherlands and into
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, 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).


12th-century French mendicant order. [Fr. Hist.: Espy, 98–99]
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.
Beguines lived through--and helped propel--times of great transition and reform.
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.
Simons notes that the Beguines constituted the only movement in medieval monastic history "created by women and for women--and not affiliated with, or supervised by, a male order" (143).
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.
The latter was then to resurface in different spiritual ramifications on the margin of the Church, to which (among others) the name of beguines was given, which can also mean `Al-bigen-sians'.
She spent most of her life in a community of Beguines in Osterwyk and enjoyed the reputation of a holy woman and spiritual teacher.
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.
Contractor address : Immeuble Le Cervier B 12 avenue de Beguines
Holy virgins, beguines, widows, matrons, and anchoresses undertook various sorts of religious vocations outside the cloister, participating in spiritual networks in the distinctive urban conditions of the twelfth to thirteenth centuries.
Bumham's study of a condemned group of French beguines associated with the Franciscans, who were gathering at night to talk about God.
The Beguines were a sect of devout women in Belgium, Holland, Germany, and France who lived a loosely structured religious life, often occupying entire neighborhoods where more than 1,500 women lived.