The secular concerns of contemplatives
in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
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If they are not creatures of the world, cloistered nuns must still survive in the world. The English Benedictines relied on the support of the most important and infuential Catholic families of England, to which many of them belonged. Moreover, to ensure their subsistence, convents had to establish local networks in the cities where they settled. They enlisted the help of agents, both exiles and local, ecclesiastical and lay, to whom they entrusted the tasks they could not carry out themselves, especially regarding their assets and finances. This chapter uses the account books, chronicles and correspondence of the Sisters to develop a clearer picture of the practices of cloistered life in exile, and of its complex management.


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