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BOOK REVIEWS755 287-525) appended to the narrative is devoted to summaries (Regesten) of 434 documents concerning Konrad. The author rounds out his study with transcriptions of unpublished documents concerning Konrad (for the most part issued by him), a short discussion of the diplomatic of his documents (together with photographs of six representative pieces), a table of incipits ofhis legatine diplomas, an index of places and persons, and detachable fold-out genealogical tables indicating Konrad's relationship to those families and individuals who figured in his activities. Neininger's final appraisal rings true:while Konrad ofUrach was by no means an epochal figure of medieval history, a study of his life yields instructive glimpses of the various historical forces that enlivened the secular and ecclesiastical politics of his day. Robert C. Figueira Lander University L'Ordre de Saint [sic!] Claire à Bordeaux avant la Révolution (1239-1580). By Hugues Dedieu, O.F.M. [Editiones Archivum Franciscanum Historicum.] (Grottaferrata [Roma] : Collegio S. Bonaventura. 1996. Pp. 180. Paperback.) In a period in which the lives of women religious who are historical prototypes are being diligently researched, the history of the Clares of Bordeaux would appear to be a real discovery. It is, but in a vein far different from what one might expect, and therefore all the more interesting. Instead of being presented with a hagiographical ideal of the first fervor of a community imbued with the love of poverty, prayer, and community life, we are confronted with a rather cautionary tale. No preaching is necessary. The facts tell it as it is. Brother Hugues Dedieu gave himself the triple goal of presenting a historical synthesis of the monastery ofthe Clares of Bordeaux, together with data about its earliest occupants, and a careful detailing of its temporal possessions. It was a monastery, probably never larger than twenty nuns, and dating to the very time of St. Clare of Assist herself (1239). At the time of their arrival in the medieval city, the Damianites were just one of many, many religious houses, closely crowded together, and were popularly known as "les Menudes." For a while, they followed the Benedictine Rule, and eventually the Rule promulgated by Pope Urban IV (1263)· The nuns seem to have had no idea whatsoever of their foundress' desperate attempts to obtain "the privilege of poverty," not to mention her ideal of enclosure and love of the sacraments. These nuns had their possessions and also seem to have had little idea of enclosure . It certainly was no"ideal" for them. The story of the demise ofthe community in utter poverty, even disgrace, is not very edifying. The spiritual life was not nourished by any strong sacramental life, not to mention spiritual guidance under the aegis of the Conventual Friars or Cordeliers to whom they were sub- 756BOOK REVIEWS ject. Sociologically, there was a fairly large aristocratic recruitment, and the families of the abbesses intervened at will. Though their property list was much more extensive than one might expect, the paradox was that the nuns had grave financial problems for reasons of war, bad management, and tenant neglect . As a consequence, these concerns overly preoccupied the superiors to the detriment of healthy religious life. The community, deeply in need of reform , and long on the decline, underwent its death throes in the sixteenth century . When this spiritually and materially deficient community was offered hospitality by a generous community ofAnnonciade nuns, the latter had ample reason to regret their goodness. It did not help that a scandal with one of the abbesses erupted, when it became known that she had five or six children. The account ofa Canonical Visitation by the Provincial of the Franciscans in 1575 is especially interesting: the nuns are considered to be in a state of "real dissolution and public scandal, worthy of a strict prison and very rigorous penitence." In its whole history there is not one nun who stood out for her reputation for some sanctity. Three and a half centuries of existence terminated the decline. The death date of the last religious is unknown. Dedieu concludes that "Clares and Annonciades of Bordeaux did not seem to be aware of the spiritual riches infused into...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 755-756
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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