Carthusians, Women, and Marginal Groups

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Not all the new orders engaged in the large-scale manual labor that the Cistercians did. Some, such as the Carthusians, chose work that could be performed within a monastery. That an order such as the Carthusians, so admired for its contemplative life, should contain a theology of work at its core is strong testimony to the centrality of work in the renewal as a whole. All orders that emanated from the movement nourished a positive attitude toward work, be they active or contemplative. The Carthusians, for example, included laybrothers in their community, produced a sizeable number of manuscripts in each Charterhouse, and had a theology of work with a developed concept of utility. Prior Guigo II tells us how manual labor even gave birth to his spirituality: “One day I was busy working with my hands, and all at once four stages in spiritual exercise came into my mind.”1


Manual Labor Tender Body Spiritual Exercise Medieval Society Contemplative Life 
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© Patricia Ranft 2006

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