• Bonnie Effros
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Some time in the second half of the sixth century, a married woman named Monegund living in Chartres gave birth to two daughters. After she lost both to untimely illnesses, she found no consolation for her grief and thus decided to devote the rest of her days to God. She courageously left her husband and built a cell in Chartres in order to model her life after that of the female desert saints. Allowing herself contact with the world solely through a small window, Monegund humbled herself by becoming entirely dependent on the good will of a local servant girl. The latter brought her flour and water so that she could bake the small loaves that formed the mainstay of her diet. Despite such meager resources, Monegund always managed to leave some of her bread for the poor. Yet, Monegund was tested more than once in her resolve to lead such an ascetic existence; on one occasion, her servant decided not to come for ten days in a row. Halfway through this predicament, the recluse ran out of food and water. Her prayers were answered by God, who supplied snow through the window of her cell so that she might make bread from her remaining flour and nourish herself for some additional time.1


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Notes to the Epilogue

  1. 1.
    Gregory of Tours, Liber vitae patrum 19.1, edited by Bruno Krusch, in MGH: SRM 1.2 (Hanover: Impensis bibliopolii Hahniani, 1885), pp. 286–287.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Raymond Van Dam, Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 101–102.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gregory of Tours, Liber vitae patrum 19.3, edited by Krusch, in MGH:SRM 1.2, pp. 288–289.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Venantius Fortunatus, De vita sanctae Radegundis 1.17, 1.20, 1.24, edited by Bruno Krusch, in MGH: SRM 2, new edition (Hanover: Impensis bibliopolii Hahniani, 1956), pp. 370–372Google Scholar
  5. Judith George, Venantius Fortunatus: A Latin Poet in Merovingian Gaul (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 161–168.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    John Kitchen, Saints’ Lives and the Rhetoric of Gender: Male and Female in Merovingian Hagiography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 101–109.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Gregory of Tours, Liber in gloria confessorum 24, edited by Bruno Krusch, in MGH: SRM 1.2, pp. 313–314.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Bruno Krusch, ed., Vita Rusticulae sive Marciae abbatissae Arelatensis 16, 19, 26, 27, in MGH: SRM 4 (Hanover: Impensis bibliopolii Hahniani, 1902), pp. 346–347, 350–351.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Conrad Leyser, Authority and Asceticism from Augustine to Gregory the Great (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 88–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Bonnie Effros 2002

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  • Bonnie Effros

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