Traditionally, the Cistercian Order has not been seen as being particularly involved in the cult of saints. Moreover, the post-1300 history of the Cistercian order and individual monasteries are far less explored than the early centuries of their development. Even if the paradigm of late medieval “decline” of traditional monasticism is no longer prevalent, no new interpretational model has developed to encompass monastic experience that was very different in the 15th and early-16th century from that in the 12th century, and yet it was just as “authentically Cistercian”.
The cult of saints was an important facet of late medieval Cistercian monasticism on different levels: as a part of the intercessory mission to the laity and as a part of growing and sustaining identity of individual communities and connections to their mother houses.
Far from being marginal in the history of late medieval orders, the study of the Cistercian involvement in the cult of saints helps us to understand the dynamics of late medieval reforms of the “traditional” monastic orders and their place in the world.
Emilia Jamroziak is Professor of Medieval Religious History at the University of Leeds. Her research interests focus on the interactions between religious institutions, especially Cistercian monasteries and the laity from the twelfth to the early sixteenth century – in Britain, Central Europe, and the Baltic. In 2015-16 she holds the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers at the Technische Universität Dresden working on the project Der Kult der « Gründerväter » in spätmittelalterlichen Klöstern und Betterlorden.
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