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2012 | 60 | 2 | 226-247

Article title

Droga do domu Pana. Śmierć i pogrzeb w zakonie klarysek (teoria i praktyka XIII-XVII w.

Title variants

EN
THE WAY TO THE LORD. ON DEATH AND FUNERAL IN THE ORDER OF ST CLARE (THEORY AND PRACTICE FROM THE 13TH TO THE 17TH C.)

Languages of publication

PL

Abstracts

EN
The aim of the article is to collect information on the last moments of life, rituals, gestures and customs connected with “going to the Lord”, and the funeral, in the order of St Claire in the light of mediaeval and early-modern sources, as well as to compare those data with data on other orders. As St Clare nunneries in Poland have not been archaeologically explored so far, the data collected here can provide a starting point for further interdisciplinary research. As in other orders, a dying Clarisse was attended by appointed nuns or the whole congregation keeping vigil and praying. She also received Communion and the Anointing of the Sick. St Clare at her deathbed asked for Franciscan brothers to be summoned. A dead nun had her eyes and mouth closed, then the body was washed and incensed and finally dressed in the garments in which it was to be buried. The body was then carried in procession and placed on a bier in the church choir. In two rules of the order – Clare’s of 1253 and Pope Urban IV’s of 1263 – it was stressed that with the approval of the prioress a Franciscan monk should administer the sacraments to a dying Clarisse, he should also say mass for her, participate in preparing the grave and conduct the funeral. If it was necessary to dig, open or close a grave, the rule allowed two trusted monks to assist. Prioresses were buried in medio ecclesiae, while other nuns in a less exposed part of the convent church or in a cemetery within the enclosure. The beginning of the funeral was signalled with bells ringing. The Franciscan constitutions from 1577, based on the decisions of the Council of Trent, introduced stricter rules concerning the enclosure. According to them, all the actions necessary to bury a Clarisse within the enclosure should be performed by nuns with the help of two workers appointed by the bishop. If a nun was to be buried outside the enclosure, for instance in a non-enclosed part of the church, nuns were to carry her body to the grating, where the chaplain awaited, and they returned to the cloister choir to pray. No mediaeval necrologies of St Clare nunneries in Poland have survived, therefore prosopographical research for the period before the Council of Trent is difficult. Some Libri Mortuorum of Polish Clarisses are available starting with the 16th c., but they have been kept systematically only since the end of the 17th c. The data in those documents, unlike in mediaeval necrologies, are not limited to the date of death – they include information on the time spent by the nun in convent, her duties, talents and character, and sometimes even on her looks.

Year

Volume

60

Issue

2

Pages

226-247

Physical description

Contributors

  • Ośrodek Historii Kultury Materialnej, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Al. Solidarności 105, 00-140 Warszawa

References

Document Type

Publication order reference

Identifiers

YADDA identifier

bwmeta1.element.cejsh-1f73c206-a1bb-4074-814b-95f8f679b7f1
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