med-charity-lnks – 12/10/04
A set of web links to information on medieval charity by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: aoife at scatoday.net
Subject: [Aoife-Links] Begin the Beguine: Medieval Charity Began at Home
Date: December 6, 2004 8:03:37 PM CST
To: aoife-links at scatoday.net
Greetings, my faithful readers.
This week's Links List was inspired by those persistent bell-ringers now
appearing at a mall near you--you know the ones who are hoping to raise
money for a certain charity. Those persistent and nagging bells started me
thinking about charity in general, and Medieval Charity in particular. While
that topic is covered, here, I'd like to share an idea with you before you
jump right in the list. The last Link on this list is for a program called
Silent Knight. And while the phenomenon is interesting and worthy of your
attention, I thought that perhaps we didn't need to buy into a whole program
to be a Silent Knight. In fact, we don't really need to be members of the
Chivalry at all to be Silent Knights. It takes very little to help someone
in need, and the encouragement of others in doing something positive and
anonymous is a worthy and noble cause. So please join me in pledging to be a
Silent Knight this holiday season to someone in need, whether it's picking
the name of an indigent child off the tree at the mall, to provide them
with a holiday present, or whether it's providing a hamper of food for the
home-bound, or if it's providing a list of paid chores for the kids down the
street so they can afford to buy Mom a present this year. I challenge you to
be a Silent Knight, and to find ways to help others to do so. The Chivalric
Ideals of charity and humility are, after all, a large part of what this
Modern Medieval Society is supposed to be about.
Cheers, and Happy Hanukah
Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
'Hofjes' remnants of medieval charity
Dutch society provided for needy and aged over the centuries
by Tjeerd Hulstra
(Site Excerpt) Hofjes were first built in the 14th century. The oldest
remaining one from this era is the 'Bakenes-serkamer' in Haarlem, which
dates from 1395 and was built in memory of Dirk van Bakenes. Even then
hofjes were not totally new. Both the name and the site plan were borrowed
from the beguinages, which were first introduced to the Low Countries in the
12th century. Beguines - the Dutch word is begijntjes - were spinsters or
widows who lived together. Their way of life was much like that of nuns.
CHARITY AND WELFARE:
HOSPITALS AND THE POOR IN MEDIEVAL CATALONIA
JAMES WILLIAM BRODMAN
(Site Excerpt) The beginning point for all studies of medieval hospitals,
institutional medical care, and relief starts with the notion of poverty, a
complex theme as it pertains to the Middle Ages. For some poverty was an
affliction; for others, it was a source of virtue. Poverty was never seen
purely in economic terms, but rather viewed as a form of degradation that
rendered the individual vulnerable or dependent. Thus the sources speak of
the poor man, the poor knight, and the poor cleric.
Conviviality and charity in medieval and early modern England - response to
Judith M. Bennett, Past and Present, no. 134, February 1992 by Maria Moisa
(Site Excerpt) In `Conviviality and Charity in Medieval and Early Modern
England',(1) Judith M. Bennett has examined the practice of the `help-ale'
(a drinking party for the organizer's benefit) and concluded that it was a
form of charity and poor relief which `celebrated the cohesiveness of the
communities'. Such charitable aid was given to the poor but honest, a
category which included officers and minstrels, as well as the life-cycle
poor, but not `vagrants, beggars and idlers'.
The Medieval Paupers
(Site Excerpt) About 20% of the medieval population were destitute and
homeless, wandering the roads of Europe looking for work or for charity, and
climbing beneath a roadside hedge to die. Although they were ubiquitous,
they have been neglected by historians because of the lack of sources
discussing them directly. One exception was the starving beggars who
followed "King" Tafur on the First Crusade.
Beguines and Beghards
(Site Excerpt) The etymology of the names Beghard and Beguine can only be
conjectured. Most likely they are derived from the old Flemish word beghen,
in the sense of "to pray", not "to beg", for neither of these communities
were at any time mendicant orders; maybe from Bega, the patron saint of
Nivelles, where, according to a doubtful tradition the first Beguinage was
established; maybe, again, from Lambert le B¸gue, a priest of Li¸ge who died
in 1180, after having expended a fortune in founding in his native town a
cloister and church for the widows and orphans of crusaders.
(Site Excerpt) The logic of indulgences is hard for moderns to understand,
but in reality they make a great deal of sense. The whole concept of an
indulgence is based on the medieval Catholic doctrine that sinners must not
only repent of sins that they've committed, they must also confess these
sins and pay some sort of retribution. You see, the problem with repentance
and confession is that the only evidence you have of repentance is the
sinner's claim to be repentant.
Medieval hospitals of Bath
(Site Excerpt) The major source of charity in the Middle Ages was the
Church. Matthew chapter 25 tells us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and
take in the stranger. And that is what medieval hospitals were for. Today we
would probably call them hostels for the homeless, who might or might not be
disabled. Other hospitals took in the stranger - they were hostels for
pilgrims and other wayfarers. The leperhouses had their own rationale -
segregation of the leper.
Gender and the Medieval Beguines by Abby Stoner
(Site Excerpt) The Beguines of northern Europe have been called the first
women's movement in Christian history. This group of religiously
dedicated laywomen, who took no permanent vows, followed no prescribed rule,
supported themselves by manual labor, interacted with the "world," and
remained celibate, flourished in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries--a
time when the Church had defined two legitimate roles for pious women:
cloistered nun and keeper at home.
The Silent Knight Program (an anonymous MODERN program to assist others
based upon the principles of Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of
Jerusalem ((Knights Templer)))
(Site Excerpt) Perhaps you can become a SILENT KNIGHT. If you have the
desire, passion, caring soul, respect and dignity of character represented
by this story, you too can make a difference. Read this book and ask
yourself, "WHY NOT?"