Nuns behaving badly

Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of music, magic, art, and arson in the convents of Italy University of Chicago Press 2010

Witchcraft. Arson. Going AWOL. Some nuns in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries strayed far from the paradigms of monastic life.

Cloistered in convents, subjected to stifling hierarchy, repressed, and occasionally persecuted by their male superiors, these women circumvented authority in sometimes extraordinary ways. But tales of their transgressions have long been buried in the Vatican Secret Archive. That is, until now.

In Nuns Behaving Badly, Craig A. Monson resurrects forgotten tales and restores to life the long-silent voices of these cloistered heroines.

Here we meet nuns who dared speak out about physical assault and sexual impropriety (some real, some imagined). Others were only guilty of misjudgment or defacing valuable artwork that offended their sensibilities.

But what unites the women and their stories is the challenges they faced: these were women trying to find their way within the Catholicism of their day and through the strict limits it imposed on them.

FULL REVIEW Nuns Behaving Badly (University of Chicago Press)

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