Susannah Crowder
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Negotiated devotions and performed histories
Laywomen in monastic spaces
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Two male monasteries – and their roles in the religious observances of laywomen – illuminate another facet of the relationship among gender, devotion, and performance in Metz. This chapter first revisits the Celestine community, deepening the findings of the third chapter by examining the institution that housed the family chapel of the Gronnaix and the burial place of Catherine Baudoche. Its spaces reveal a culture of performance that was grounded in women’s material contributions and spiritual needs; contemporary institutional histories construct a performance “edifice” that depicts the partnership of laywomen and the Celestine brothers. A second Messine religious community documents an alternative perspective on the role of women in long-term history-making and performance practice. Through liturgical performance, the monastery of St-Arnoul had claimed a past that tied Carolingian-era imperial identity to female sanctity and patronage. Catherine Gronnaix’s foundation of masses at St-Arnoul took place during the decline of this institutional narrative, however, when the preservation and appropriation of older traditions of female performance had lost appeal. In distinct eras, the cloistered spaces of St-Martin and St-Arnoul – both permeated by the presence and remains of laywomen and their devotions – sheltered collaborative performances that intertwined monastic and familial aspirations.

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Performing women

Gender, self, and representation in late medieval Metz


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