The Celestine Monks of France, c. 1350-1450

The Celestine Monks of France, c. 1350-1450

Observant Reform in an Age of Schism, Council and War

The Celestine monks of France represent one of the least studied monastic reform movements of the late Middle Ages, and yet also one of the most culturally impactful. Their order - an austere Italian Benedictine reform of the late thirteenth century, which came be known after the papal name of their founder, Celestine V (St Peter of Murrone) - arrived in France in 1300. After a period of marginal growth, they flourished in the region from the mid-fourteenth century, founding thirteen new houses over the next hundred years, taking their total to seventeen by 1450. Not only did the French Celestines expand, they gained a distinctive character that separated them from their Italian brothers. More urban, better connected with both aristocratic and bourgeois society, and yet still rigorous and reformist, they characterised themselves as the 'Observant' wing of their order, having gained self-government for their provincial congregation in 1380 following the arrival of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417). But, as Robert L.J. Shaw argues, their importance runs beyond monastic reform: the late medieval French Celestines are a mirror of the political, intellectual, and Christian reform culture of their age. Within a France torn by war and a Church divided by schism, the French Celestines represented hope for renewal, influencing royal presentation, lay religion, and some of the leading French intellectuals of the period, including Jean Gerson.
  • Cover
  • Contents
    • Abbreviations
    • Acknowledgements
    • Introduction: The Celestine monks of France and the rise of ‘Observant’ reform
    • Part I The French Celestines in their world
      • 1. The Vita of Jean Bassand (c.1360–1445)
      • 2. The French Celestine constitutions and their heritage
        • Statute and spirituality in later medieval monastic reform
      • 3. The challenges and adaptation of regular observance
    • Part II The world of the French Celestines
      • 4. Foundations, benefactions and material maintenance
      • 5. The cultural outreach of the French Celestines
    • Epilogue and conclusion
    • Appendix 1
    • Appendix 2
    • Appendix 3
    • Index
  • Maps and Figures
    • Locations of Celestine houses
    • Fig. 1 The Celestine constitutions: the renunciation of St Peter Celestine and introduction.
    • Fig. 2 Entrance to the church at the Celestine house of Paris, including the statues of Charles V, Jeanne de Bourbon and St Peter Celestine.



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