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contemplative life. The observance of religious duties was highly demanding and took its toll even on the most zealous women; physical health and fitness were amongst the considerations which decided upon the suitability of a candidate. Selection was of the highest importance, and although this was true of all convents, it was felt even more keenly in English houses, since postulants undertook a perilous and expensive voyage and exposed their families to great risks in order to travel to the Continent. Given the particular conditions of English Catholicism and the exile of

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
Coupland and postmodern spirituality

the once hoped-for future of the human race has arrived’. ‘It is not a new age because the ages have come to an end, and now everything that once was is to be recuperated and used – as we like – in our fashioning.’2 ‘You are the first generation raised without religion’ 131 The confessional, first-person accounts of spiritual lack in Life After God should not be read as straightforward autobiographical narratives. However, Coupland has acknowledged that his own childhood was similarly free of specific religious values. ‘Imagine the year is 1970 and you are eight

in Douglas Coupland

’s mission’ to morally purify society as invitations to public life. The tensions between a conservative religious morality and the use of religious thought to justify a feminine public sphere suggests the need to include Christian women in an understanding of ‘first-wave’ feminism. Sue Morgan’s analysis of Ellice Hopkins offers the term ‘religio-feminism’ to argue that Christian feminists must be analysed in context of their faith.3 Similarly, Lesley A. Orr MacDonald has argued that evangelical notions of the individual’s duty to work for the salvation of others and of

in The feminine public sphere

jealously complained of the evident appeal of the friars. 6 Fraternities, too, added to the texture of urban religious life, and further accentuated the scope for the agency and variety of lay religion. 7 Urban wills are eloquent of a creative range of both devotional and fraternal ties, forged over a lifetime as so many means to address the challenges of life in the late medieval town [ 105 ]. The collective memberships of

in Towns in medieval England

descriptors. 1 Indeed, the tendency to focus on the intricacies of this period in a person’s life, particularly in relation to sexual and religious development, is itself one that will be historicised here. The experiences of an eight-year-old Catholic girl were, of course, very different from those of an eighteen-year-old, but the interviewees tended to remember their sexual development in a way that drew

in The Pope and the pill

spiritual capital of their urban subjects: the same accounts reveal offerings to churches and relics in every town that Charles visited. The involvement of Burgundian rulers in the religious life of their towns was regular, frequent and varied. How this involvement is best characterised may be debated. 2 At one level it seems

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530

antiradical discourse in the period. There are hints of Independent connections, but also of a willingness to associate with Catholics, which would be unusual in a puritan milieu. Some of his closest associates – including Henry Marten and Henry Neville – were noted for their apparent irreverence and their distrust of religious enthusiasm, and Burnet saw Wildman as a deist, although such views may have developed later in life.26 Lilburne seems at first sight the most orthodox puritan of the Leveller leaders, with an early commitment to Calvinist theology and the separation

in The Levellers
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Ben Jonson’s admiration for Southwell’s ‘burning Babe’

terminology was unable to contain the variety, range, and depth of shades of religious conformity or otherwise in late Elizabethan England, and Southwell’s life was entirely bound up in that deadly tangle. The Jesuits were foot-soldiers for the Pope, but in England they were primarily concerned with those who were slipping away from religious observance of any sort, regarding these, whether

in Robert Southwell
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nevertheless remains within the sphere of private religion. Generally speaking, there was no official need to record the extent of individual commitment to a spiritual life which remained within the world. The wide variety of religious commitments which were available generally required an individual to set him or herself aside from ‘normality’, either through

in Catholic England

to leave and take up a life of the wandering preacher.7 In this case, although the people begin to come to the hermit, the hermits remove themselves from the people, and again, like the desert fathers, only attend to the community on their own terms. In Wayward Monks and the Religious Revolution of the Eleventh Century, Phyllis Jestice notes that escape from the distractions of secular life is much easier for a hermit to achieve than a recluse because a hermit can get up and go to a more remote area if he is troubled too much by visitors, returning again to tend to

in Roadworks