I will add this to my list of must reads.
In medieval Europe, religious devotion provided an alternate narrative for women’s lives in a male-dominated culture. Defiant women who stood up for themselves in the face of rape, incest, and murder were hailed as virgin martyrs. Religious vocations, such as becoming a nun or a beguine, provided a viable and esteemed alternative to forced marriage.
Even women who were married with children could escape their domestic entanglements and conjugal duties by taking an oath of celibacy as 15th century English mystic Margery Kempe did, leaving behind her husband and 14 children to go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and Jerusalem. Her Book of Margery Kempe, the tale of her travels, reads like a kind of late medieval Eat, Pray, Love and is the first autobiography written in the English language.
Though it might seem surprising to us today, women of the European Middle Ages possessed more…
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