The central argument of this book is this: the way in which women religious are treated by and in the church is a product of history; their unique insight into their own way of life by monastic women is largely ignored, as it has always been, and therefore they are not treated by ecclesiastical authorities as if they can organise their own lives in the same way as monastic men. Historically, women in nearly all traditional societies have been oppressed and exploited by men.
Consequently, even within Christianity, women have endured centuries of male domination and an ensuing lack of self-esteem because of the blame attached to them for their assumed complicity in ‘the sin of Eve’. Within monasticism, this has reinforced a negative, world-denying spirituality which has owed much to Gnostic dualism, seeing ‘the world’ and the body as bad, while ‘the spirit’ was seen as good.
About the Author
Patricia Rumsey is a Poor Clare nun with an MA and a PhD in Theology from the University of Wales, Lampeter, UK. She has written and published on liturgy and early Irish monasticism and has lectured in England, Ireland and Scandinavia.