Royal women, the Franciscan order, and ecclesiastical authority in late-medieval Bohemia and the Polish duchies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

In this chapter, I complicate the image of women religious as either authoritative and agentive or submissive and oppressed, with reference to the relationships between royal women, the papacy, and the Franciscan order in Bohemia and the Polish duchies. Using the thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century evidence for these relationships, I argue that situating discussion of women’s spiritual authority within the confessor-penitent dynamic and increased role of the papacy in the lives of women religious post Lateran IV allows us to see women exercise spiritual authority even as they perform submission to male superiors. In doing so, I also begin to draw out where the women under examination may have unconsciously reinforced mechanisms for their own oppression through participating in performances of submission that were central to their own spiritual vocation. Finally, in the context of histories of the Franciscan order(s), I use this discussion to query the entrenched myth of defiance of papal authority as a quality inherent to an ‘authentic’ Franciscan identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthority and Power in the Medieval Church, c. 1000-1500
EditorsThomas W. Smith
ISBN (Electronic)9782503585307
ISBN (Print)9782503585291
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2020

Publication series

NameEuropa Sacra: Religion, Society, and Identity

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Franciscan order
  • Clare of Assisi
  • Agnes of Bohemia
  • Anna of Silesia
  • Fourth Lateran Council
  • confession
  • patriarchal authority
  • women’s history
  • East-Central Europe


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