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Superior WomenMedieval Female Authority in Poitiers' Abbey of Sainte-Croix$
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Jennifer C. Edwards

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198837923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198837923.001.0001

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Processions and Privileges

Processions and Privileges

(p.201) 6 Processions and Privileges
Superior Women

Jennifer C. Edwards

Oxford University Press

In the fifteenth century the abbess fought to maintain her superiority over the canons of Sainte-Radegonde when citizens were crafting a new identity for Poitiers. The flashpoints for this contest were the town’s public processions during Rogation Days and the nuns’ demand to have control over Sainte-Radegonde. While the canons drew upon rhetorical strategies that denied female competence, the abbess drew on theories championing women’s political abilities and demanded the canons serve in public displays according to her strict requirements. The king and his seneschal supported the nun’s position, suggesting that office trumped gender, and the female sex of the abbess did not diminish her claims to hold authority. Chapter 6 emphasizes the importance of material objects such as Radegund’s relics, the relic of the True Cross, and banners recalling her sanctity in the public performance of civic and ecclesiastical identity during town processions.

Keywords:   abbey of Sainte-Croix, Poitiers, procession, dispute, church of Sainte-Radegonde, Rogation Day, banner, nuns

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