While Ancrene Wisse (Guide for Anchoresses) has prompted discussions on the prohibition of touch in anchoritic devotional culture, the critical focus on the didactic literature of the high Middle Ages has left little room for exploring how anchorites used touch to initiate or heighten spiritual experience. This article attempts to address this imbalance through a close reading of Goscelin of Saint-Bertin’s Miracles of St. Edmund (ca. 1100). The text offers an insight into Seitha, a female recluse living in close proximity to the community of monks at Bury St. Edmunds in the 1090s, and her physical contact with St. Edmund’s secondary relics. Sawicka-Sykes argues that while the monks of Bury are punished for their audacious handling of the saint’s incorrupt remains, Seitha is granted privileged access to the saint’s clothing on account of her anchoritic virtues of purity, humility, and servitude.


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pp. 71-85
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