Send me God

The Lives of Ida the Compassionate of Nivelles, Nun of La Ramée, Arnulf, Lay Brother of Villers, and Abundus, Monk of Villers, by Goswin of Bossut

by M. Cawley

Series: Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts

In the early thirteenth century the diocese of Liège witnessed an extraordinary religious revival, known to us largely through the abundant corpus of saints' lives from that region. Cistercian monks, nuns, beguines, and recluses formed close-knit networks of spiritual friendship that easily crossed the boundaries of gender, religious status, and even language. Holy women such as Mary of Oignies and Christina the Astonishing were held up by their biographers as models of orthodoxy and miraculous powers. Less familiar but no less fascinating are the male saints of the region. In this volume Martinus Cawley, ocso, has translated a trilogy of Cistercian lives composed by the same hagiographer, Goswin, who was a monk and cantor at the celebrated abbey of Villers in Brabant. Although all three of these saints were connected with the same order, their versions of holiness represent a study in contrasts, from the compassionate nun Ida of Nivelles, remarkable for her eucharistic raptures, to the fiercely ascetic lay brother Arnulf, to the gentle monk Abundus, renowned for his deep liturgical and Marian piety. The title Send Me God derives from a revealing catch-phrase that devout men and women used to request prayers from their spiritual friends.