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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 the life of the Church by their respective foundresses, Clare ofAssist and Jeanne de France." Understatement indeed! There was a later attempt to re-establish a Clare monastery in Bordeaux: The Sisters ofTalence, coming in 1930, unable to maintain the monastery, withdrew to Pessac in 1980. Dedieu provides the reader with ample archival sources. One appendix gives a chronological repertory of the monastery personnel: On the very first abbess: Salimbene's Chronicles tell us that she was mean, stupid, avaricious , hard and without charity for the sisters under her supervision. She was the niece of Pope Innocent IV, which should count for something. Other appendices give plans ofthe monastery,maps ofits placement in Bordeaux, layout of the monastery properties, a little Gascon vocabulary to aid the reader. But one is left wondering about those women who spent their lives in that religiously impoverished atmosphere. This is a valuable contribution to religious history, though its lack of narrative style could be off-putting to a less than determined reader. Sister Helen Rolfson, O.S.E Stfohn's University Collegeville, Minnesota The Ladies of Zamora. By Peter Linehan. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. 1997. Pp. xvi, 192. $35.00.) Set in the second half of the thirteenth century, this narrative of conflict between the newly established mendicant Order of Preachers and the bishop of Zamora eventually caused repercussions in the wider ecclesiastical world and BOOK REVIEWS757 led to the downfall of the Dominican Master General. The tale begins when two aristocratic ladies established a convent of nuns following the rule of St. Augustine as adapted by the Friars Preacher. Initially their relations with Bishop Suero of Zamora, who was one of the most experienced curial hands in the court of Alfonso X of Castile-León, were harmonious enough. In 1279, however, Bishop Suero felt obliged to conduct an inquiry concerning reports that Dominican friars were visiting the convent all too frequently and for other than spiritual purposes. The text of his inquiry (included with a translation in the appendix) forms the nucleus of this book. Put on their oath, more than thirty nuns pointed the finger at one another, speaking of the disruption of conventual life, failure to observe the rule and to obey the prioress, the arrogance of some who disdained to eat with or to associate with others, the reception of love letters from clerical lovers, and the scandalous behavior of sisters who fornicated with visiting friars. The convent was torn apart by hostility between those who preferred to remain obedient to the bishop and those who claimed the privileges given to the Order of Preachers. The matter might have remained an internal affair within the diocese of Zamora,but word ofthis disgraceful conduct reached the Roman Curia. In 1281 Maria Martinez, the prioress...


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