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Bernard O’Donoghue

numinous was always immanent, ready to appear. This spirituality, which is a matter of impulse, rather than being founded on an explicit system of dogma, is of course nothing new in poetry, Irish or otherwise. T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which are arguably the greatest English religious poems of their century, are concerned with the numinous impulse rather than with an achieved set of beliefs. They end with the great passage drawing on the late medieval mystic Julian of Norwich: And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well Catholic-Christian identity

in Irish Catholic identities
Laurence Lux-Sterritt

an experience common to all mystics. English Benedictine mystics partook of a long-standing heritage and recounted similar sensations, using images comparable to those of the mystics whose works they read. As indicated by Augustine Baker’s and Gertrude More’s lists of recommended books, Benedictines – at Cambrai at least – were familiar with Gregory of Nyssa, Blosius, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugh and Rich of St Victor, St Bonaventure, Tauler, Ruysbroeck, Eckart, Suso, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, St John of the Cross, St

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
Laurence Lux-Sterritt

emphasise inner prayer. Baker’s teachings were based upon the writings of late medieval mystics whose works he copied and translated for his nuns, including, as we have just seen, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing and Walter Hilton, but also Blosius, Harphius, John Ruysbroeck, Henry Suso or John Tauler.43 The nuns copied Julian of Norwich’s Showings of Love and had knowledge of Julian’s unique brand of immediate female spirituality.44 Baker’s cultural and religious heritage did not endorse the method of the Ignatian exercises, and, rather, sought a prayer of silence

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
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Oliver P. Rafferty

and benediction could exert such a powerful and moving impact on modern Irish writing. For his part Bernard O’Donoghue in Chapter 20 illustrates the fact that the idea of the transcendent, the relationship between the world of time and eternity, between the numinous and the immanent is a central 16 Irish Catholic identities theme in the poetry of many contemporary Irish writers. Drawing on traditions as old as the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich, but reflected in the work of modern poets such as T. S. Eliot, religious images and ideas are all pervasive in the

in Irish Catholic identities
Laurence Lux-Sterritt

’s writings, and in doing so she passed on his teachings and his revival of mystical writers such as the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Blosius, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich or John Tauler, to name but a few. Constable felt an obligation to provide her compatriots, both religious and secular, with copies of these seminal texts, and with an institutional memory. In her own compositions, such as her ‘Gemitus peccatorum’ or ‘Advises for confessors & spiritual directors’ and ‘Speculum Superiorum’, she displayed a vast and unusual range of knowledge, quoting indifferently

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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Pastoral care in the parish church
Laura Varnam

While the sinful behaviour of the laity does pollute the sanctity of the church, I argue that the cleansing that takes place as a result makes more than a ‘positive contribution to atonement’; it is, paradoxically, a necessity for the sanctity of the church to remain a visible, tangible presence. To return again to Mircea Eliade’s argument, sanctity must be made manifest and that manifestation is effected here by narratives of pollution and disorder.64 Such narratives demonstrate that sin is, to borrow Julian of Norwich’s term, ‘behovabil’ (beneficial or necessary

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
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In search of pre-Reformation English spirituality
R. N. Swanson

, beyond the basics, and setting aside oddities like Julian of Norwich and certain female ‘Lollards’, 28 it is inescapably the case that most evidence for the deliberate instruction of the laity is provided by works written by men; here precisely because of the priestly function of most authors. To that extent, we are also confronted by a structure which was, unashamedly, patriarchal in its concern to

in Catholic England
R. N. Swanson

initiate the process of the soul’s release from Purgatory. Here, to transfer from the text to reality, is a deathbed similar to that from which Julian of Norwich revived to embark on her own spiritual quest. 18 Death, however, is a highly subjective experience; and modern reactions to this tract demonstrate the problems of

in Catholic England