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med-charity-lnks – 12/10/04


A set of web links to information on medieval charity by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.


NOTE: See also the files: indulgences-msg, monks-msg, nuns-msg, largess-ideas-msg, 12C-Margins-bib, per-lepers-msg, St-Hildegard-msg.





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).


Thank you,

    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


Endless Hills



'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.






(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.


Sisters Between

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.[1] 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?"


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org