Who designed the habit of the nuns


"... The second request: You would like to set up a rule and send it to us in writing, which is in accordance with the nature of the female sex and describes the establishment and organization of our religious life from the ground up: For we have convinced ourselves that this is not yet from the holy fathers has been carried out ... But those who set up the rules of the monastery have not only been completely silent about women, but they have also made provisions that they must have known that they are by no means suitable for women ... You, Lord, fall the task, as long as you are still alive, to give us a rule that we shall keep for all time. After all, you are next to God the founder of this sanctuary, you were the creator of our community through God, you should now with God be the lawgiver of our order ... speak to us and we will hear you "

Heloïse to Abelard, letter 6

"... I shall set up and send you a certain rule as a rule for your order, so that you have something that you ought to obey even more securely in what is written than in the mere coming of it. So I have resolved to follow, in part, well-established customs , partly to base the testimonies of Holy Scripture and the pillars of reason and to form a whole from them ... For this purpose I want to put together a rule for you from the numerous writings of the holy fathers and from the most established monastery customs. what comes to mind, I want to take the best and, as it were, collect in a bundle everything that I see in accordance with your sacred calling, and not only what has been determined about nuns, but also what has been determined about monks .. I have decided to set out the scriptures that I want to write for your instruction and in which I will describe and firmly define your pious status, as well as the celebration of the divine service First, I will divide it into three sections, which, I believe, contain the main thing for monastic life: one should live celibate and without possessions, study mostly in silence; that is, according to the prescription given by the Lord in the Gospel: girdle your loins, renounce everything, avoid idle words ... "

Abelard to Heloïse, letter 8

The rulebook of Basil the Great, 330-379, had already provided for a model of a double monastery. Caesarius of Arles, 470-542, drafted a rule for virgins during the Merovingian era, which he introduced in the Sainte-Marie monastery in Arles, which he founded. She was understanding and mild. Since the 6th century, all monastic life has been under the rule of Benedict of Nursia. In the 7th century there are also double monasteries in Gaul, which arose as a result of the reform work of Colomban and his Irish monks - with relatively strict rules, similar to the rule for the monastery issued by Donatus, the Bishop of Beçançon, in the 7th century his mother Flavia provided a severe punishment system for nuns in the event of violations of the monastery rules. The Notre-Dame monastery in Remiremont on the Moselle, founded around 626, was the scene of a satirical and amorous nuns' council and was headed by an abbot and an abbess. The double monastery of Chelles near Paris, on the other hand, was headed by an abbess. But already in the 9th century these structures were dissolved again. At the time of Heloïsa and Abelard, the old rules were forgotten, and Heloïsa could rightly say that there was no enforceable rule for women's convents. The 12th century, however, was marked by a strong renewal of the monastery idea and there was already a real model for a double monastery in central France: The Fontevraud women's monastery founded by the traveling preacher Robert de Arbrissel, which accepted numerous women in need of protection, but also men. This later famous monastery was under the direction of an abbess. However, Robert himself did not have a consistent concept for the double monastery, and a rule that emerged shortly before his death in 1116 was short and sweet: all women's churches were to be dedicated to the Mother of God, all men's churches to the apostle John. It was not until about twenty years later that Abelard drafted a detailed monastery rule, secured by exegesis and in harmony with reason and ethics, for the Paraclete Convent, also based on the model of a double monastery. "So he became the first, but also the only theoretician of double monastery life" (St. Hilpisch). However, like so many other things, his ideas remained utopian. The rule was created during the lonely and desperate years in Saint-Gildas, and it was created at the express request of Heloïsas, who thus gave Abelard, who had failed in real monastery life, a new meaning, comfort and a new task in a uniquely empathic way. Through this work, the stranded man was able to sublimate his loneliness, his feelings of guilt towards Heloïsa and his failure towards the monks of Saint-Gildas, and he did this in a highly creative and forward-looking way: He created the vision of a religious community that was devoted to God and people, in which he saw for pious women and men of all classes, but also for himself and for his former wife, a safe and meaningful coexistence and for one another. Modifying the Benedictine rules, he sensitively responded to the special needs of women. In addition, he passed on numerous findings that had emerged from the unfortunate development of renowned convents such as Fontevraud or Cluny, e. B. the infiltration by the high nobility, the choice of a too large convent strength, flow into his explanations. The Paraklet monastery was in a special way Abelard and Heloïsa's personal project; but the hopes of a life close to his wife - the marriage was not considered dissolved for either of them when they entered an order - did not come true for Peter Abelard. Driven by the resentment of his opponents, he had to leave the Paraclete again after a first phase of personal support ... Later Heloïsa tried to implement Abelard's ideas when drafting the actual rule of the Paraclete nuns - at least that is what the suggests Traditional text of the Institutiones Nostrae, which probably dates back to the early phase of the Paraclete, although it was obviously later modified and supplemented by a very strict set of rules.
  • Abelard uses the method of eclecticism in the exegetical justification of his monastic rule. The choice of appropriate scriptures is primarily based on reason. The connection between religiosity and logic characterizes the whole writing. There is almost no room for mysticism.
  • Abelard criticizes the great religious movements of his time by rejecting - without naming them - the ostentatiousness and partial secularization as well as political influence as in the case of the Cluniac Order. B. with Bernhard von Clairvaux. The larger an order, the less it can go back to its real purpose; He rejects feudal structures, but also church decorations and other display of splendor.
  • The real purpose lies in the cultivation of the old monastic virtues, in the preservation of poverty, chastity and silence, in charity towards the outside, but humility and moderation towards the inside and in the intensive preoccupation with God, the Holy Scriptures, with spiritual and religious studies .
  • At Heloïsa's request, Abelard deals with the special situation of women and tries - with special consideration of the female physique and psyche, but true to the scriptures - to formulate rules that can be understood and lived by women. With this, he modified the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was actually written for men, and initiated a kind of women's theology for the first time in church history.
  • Since he sees heavy physical work and external affairs better in the hands of men, he designs a special model of a double monastery, with an abbot as the chief director. In doing so, however, he only formally submits to the traditional understanding of the order. A closer analysis of the regulations reveals that Abelard strives for equality and a balance of forces between the male and female members of the order. For example, he formulates some protective provisions to protect the physical integrity and chastity of the nuns. He grants the abbess of the women's convention extensive veto and authority over the monks, including the abbot. He sees the task of the monks less in leading the women's convent than in supporting them to the best of their ability. His goal is therefore evidence, not dominance. Due to the negative experiences of Fontevraud after the death of the founding couple - Robert von Arbrissel and Hersendis of Champagne - and other Kovente, however, he rejects an abbess as head of the men's convent. This can be clearly seen, even if the convention on the Loire expressis verbis is not mentioned.
  • In all decisive religious questions and conflicts, he emphasizes the primacy of personal conscience - entirely in line with the ethics of opinion that he and Heloïsa also formulated elsewhere. The higher one is in the hierarchy of the monastery, the more he has to allow himself to be guided by a right conscience, to be distinguished by justice, forbearance, gentleness, charity, and exemplary behavior.
  • The rule is there for the people, not the other way around. It is therefore characterized by great mildness; He avoids unnecessary harshness, especially with the formal regulations. He affirms the primacy of reason in food, clothing, distribution of tasks, decisions, etc. He rejects things that run counter to human nature - in line with ancient natural philosophy, such as excessive fasting, self-mortification, etc.
  • The dietary regulations are shaped by ancient dietetics and the theory of juices; they thus correspond to a valid scientific standard that went beyond the knowledge of folk medicine at the time, as it was propagated, for example, by the medical schools in Salerno or Montpellier. Even today, Abelard's rules are almost without exception valid. The golden way lies in the middle. Abelard rejects extremes of any kind. In contrast to the general Benedictine rule, he does not prohibit the consumption of meat. In assuming an increased alcohol tolerance in women, however, he is wrong from today's point of view - influenced by the then valid, but in this point erroneous humoral pathology of a Galen.
  • All in all, Abelard is not looking for a break, but only an up-to-date interpretation and, if necessary, a gender-specific modification of the Benedictine rule. He thus upholds the claims of orthodoxy as best he can.
We observe something similar in the fathers of some monasteries: they boast of their numerous convents, only look to the fact that they have many but not good sons, and consider themselves something special when they are the greatest of many. They pull people into their dwellings, promise them good days, because they should announce a hard life for them, and because they accept everyone unchecked and without distinction, they lose their people again through rubbish ... Therefore, everyone should be careful the multitude of subordinates rejoices that, according to the Lord's word, there are not few chosen among them and that while he is increasing his flock immensely, he does not lack the strength to supervise them ... Yes, the abbots and rulers of the monasteries do too in an obtrusive way to the secular princes and their courts and already find their way in carnal life better than in monastic life. Chasing after human favor with all arts, they understand better how to negotiate with people than to talk to God ... Even the author of the monastery rule himself, St. Benedictus, has carefully observed this and clearly shown it through word and deed, as it is his wish that the abbots are permanently present in their monastery and carefully watch over their flock ... That is why we do not want to gather too large a community whose needs give us the opportunity, indeed compel us to go out: otherwise we would win others and even suffer damage in the process, like the lead that has to be consumed so that the silver remains in the crucible ... That is why we are not a little astonished at the whispering of the adversary in the monasteries that saw to it that no studies were carried out to understand the scriptures, but only to sing and pronounce the words, but not to give instructions for understanding them: as if the bleating of the sheep is more of a groove zen than grazing. For the understanding of the Holy Scriptures is the food and spiritual refreshment of the soul ... An omission in this regard is particularly difficult to credit monks who strive for perfection, because they can have the instruction more easily, since a multitude of holy books at their command and they enjoy enough time and peace. That old man in the book The Life of the Ancestors rightly rebukes those who praise the multitude of writers but find no time to read ... But now those who are brought up in monasteries remain so simple-minded that they are content with the empty one Sound of words, not worrying about understanding the Scriptures and not wanting to learn something for the heart, but just want to practice the tongue ... So neither is a soul pure that does not ruminate the divine commandments by thinking about them as much as it can , and uses her discernment to obey her so that she does not merely outwardly good, but actually good, i.e. H. acts with the right mind. Certainly it is the work of the old cunning tempter that almost all of the monasteries of today, while in ancient times they were founded in seclusion to escape people, later, when the glow of piety grew cold, people were drawn in, servants and maidservants gathered together and erected large structures in the place dedicated to solitude; so they have returned to the world themselves or rather have brought the world into their own (unnamed, but well meant: Cluny and Fontevraud). Entangled in the greatest wretchedness and bound to both worldly and spiritual violence, they have both the monk's name and way of life; H. of the hermit, lost while they wanted to live idly and from the work of others. They are often even beset by such hardship that while they try to protect their wards and their property, they often forfeit their own property and the monasteries themselves are burned when the neighboring houses are frequently burned. And yet they put no reins on their arrogance ... Such people cannot withstand the restrictions within the monastery district, but rather in twos and threes, sometimes alone, they roam villages, castles and cities, living without observing a rule of the order: They are much worse than the men of the world, the more they betray their vows. For your weakness, however, loneliness is so necessary because here we are less exposed to the attacks of carnal temptations and our senses are given less opportunity to draw us down to the material. That is why St. Anthony also says: "Those who live in solitude and lead a contemplative life are spared three kinds of struggles, the one with the hearing, the one with the tongue and the one with the eyes, and only one fight remains for them to survive: the wth the heart."

By providing a reasonably effective cure for this plague, let us at least keep our tongues in check and observe complete silence in the following places and at the following times: at worship, in the monastery, in the dormitory, in the refectory, while eating, in the kitchen and especially after Compline. If it is necessary, we want to use signs instead of the words in the places mentioned and at the prescribed times ... For from this source arise slander, controversy, vilification, yes sometimes gatherings and conspiracies, which shake the building of religion, yes over throw the pile.

When choosing the location for a monastery, as far as this can be done, the advice of St. Benedict should be followed: Within the monastic district, everything that is absolutely necessary for a monastery should be decided: namely garden, well, mill, Bakery with an oven and space where the sisters can do their daily business so that there is no reason to wander outside. The buildings clearly show whether they are larger or more beautiful than their purpose requires, or whether we, adorning them with works of sculpture and painting, build royal palaces instead of huts of poverty ... That is why we must ensure that that we set a certain limit for our house and our property and that we do not desire anything that is not necessary, accept it when it is offered, or retain it when it has been taken over.Because everything that goes beyond the actual need we only possess like a robbery and are guilty of the deaths of as many poor as we could have received with our abundance. So every year after the fruits have been harvested, the need for the year must be estimated; what is left should be given to the poor, or rather given back. The decoration of the house of God should contain the necessary, not the superfluous, be more clean than precious. Nothing in it should be made of gold or silver, save a silver chalice or several if necessary. Embellishments made of silk should only be attached to the stoles and armbands. No sculptures should be in the house of God. Only a wooden cross should be erected on the altar, on which - nothing should prevent it - the image of the Savior can be painted if one wants. But other sculptures should remain alien to the altars. The monastery should be satisfied with two bells. A vessel with holy water is to be placed outside the entrance to the oratory so that those who enter early and those who go out after the service can consecrate themselves with it. None of the nuns should be absent from the hearing; rather: as soon as the bell is given, they should put everything else aside and hurry to the service, but in a modest way. No other book may be tolerated in the choir than that which is currently necessary for the respective worship service ... The psalms should be spoken loudly and clearly, the psalmody or the singing should be so moderate that even those who have a weak voice, can arise. In the church nothing should be read or sung that is not taken from the Holy Scriptures themselves, i.e. from the New or Old Testament, both of which are to be divided into reading sections so that they are read out once every year in the church. Treatises or sermons by the Doctors of the Church or other edifying writings are read out at the table or in the chapter; but reading should also be permitted to everyone else wherever it is necessary. But no sister should allow herself to read or sing something that she has not taken notice of beforehand. If someone in the oratory brings something unsuitable to the meeting, ask for forgiveness in the presence of all the sisters ... Following this wise arrangement, we want the women's convents to be subordinate to men’s monasteries at all times, so that the brothers take care of the sisters and both have a common paternal head, on whose foresight both monasteries are dependent ... It is therefore necessary that the women’s monasteries become monasteries Stand side and that the external affairs of women are taken care of by men who are bound by the same vow ... Such a fraternal spiritual community is so pleasant before God and men, because both sexes, insofar as they dedicate themselves to monastic life, comes towards you. The monks should take in men, the nuns women, and so the latter will be able to take care of every soul that is concerned about its own salvation. And if someone wants to dedicate himself to monastic life at the same time as his wife or mother or sister or daughter or one of the foster family members, he will find full consolation here. Both monasteries should be connected to each other in all the greater love and care for each other, the more the inmates are bound by a certain closeness or relationship ... Everything that is available in terms of supplies, clothing, and money should be with to be laid down and kept for the servants of Christ, and of what remains for the sisters to be communicated to the brothers. What is to be fetched outside should be procured by the brothers, and the sisters are only to do what women can appropriately do inside the monastery: making clothes for the brothers or cleaning them, preparing bread, delivering them to be baked, and again what is baked to receive. They are also responsible for the dairy industry as well as the breeding of chickens and geese, everything that more suitable women than men can do. This is how it should be kept in the monasteries: a worthy sister should have the superintendent of the others; in their opinion and as they see fit, the others should do everything; no one should dare to cause her difficulties or to grumble against her orders. Because no human community, not even the small cooperative of even a family, can exist intact if one does not strictly stick to unity and the regiment is not in the hands of one person ... which she may choose at her own discretion. These should exercise their office to the extent that it has been entrusted to them by the superior, and be, as it were, the leaders and advisers in the army of the Lord ... I think that seven sisters are necessary among you for the entire administration of the monastery and sufficient: namely a porter, a cellar master, a clothes keeper, a cantor, a sacristan, finally a deaconess, or, as they are now called, an abbess. This deaconess occupies the position of the general to whom everything obeys in this spiritual camp ... So, with all seriousness, one has to see that in the election and ordination of the deaconess above all the advice of the apostle is followed and a sister is elected, who should be superior to the others through their way of life and through their knowledge; through its age it should promise maturity of morals; through obedience she is said to have acquired the right to command; She is said to have got to know the rule not only from hearsay, but from practice, and firmly memorized it. If she is not educated, she may know: she is not there for philosophical negotiations and dialectical exercises, but rather she is supposed to deal with the art of living according to the rules and with the practice of good works ... But the abbess considers it to be If it is necessary to turn to Scripture for a more thorough knowledge of this or that object, it may, without blushing, ask learned people about it, learn something new and thereby not neglect the information that science gives, but carefully appropriate it ... So the abbess, like a careful, tireless general, should now be here, now there, and keep her bed in order and inspect it, so that carelessness does not open an entrance to "who walks around like a roaring lion looking for whom." he devours ... "The sister who heads the others may always consider that she has taken responsibility for the body and soul of her own ... For such a thing To control corruption as far as we can, we forbid the abbess to live better and more leisurely than her subordinates. She should not have separate rooms either while eating or sleeping, but should do everything together with the herd entrusted to her and, by being always present, take care of her all the better. We know well that St. Benedict, in his care for pilgrims and guests, allowed the abbot to sit with them at a special table. At that time this was determined in good faith, but later changed for the benefit of the monasteries so that the abbot should not leave the convent, but that a reliable caretaker should take care of the pilgrims. A violation can easily occur during the meal, and it is precisely on this occasion that particular attention must be paid to order. It also happens that, under the pretext of hospitality, you treat yourself to something good rather than your guests. This makes everyone who is not there feel hurt and grumble because of their deep suspicions. The less the abbot's way of life is known to his own, the less his reputation is. Any kind of deprivation, on the other hand, seems more bearable to everyone when everything is equally important, and primarily the superiors ... Since the superiors need sobriety above all else, they themselves have to live the more frugally, since they also have to live to take care of others. For the gift of God, i. H. the honor given to them, not to go about in arrogance ... That too must be avoided that the herd is in danger through the absence of the shepherds and that, while the superiors wander around outside, breeding inside comes to a standstill. We therefore determine that the abbess should look after the spiritual rather than the physical needs of her sisters and should not leave the monastery for external reasons ... The sexton, who is also treasurer, is in charge of the entire church; she keeps the keys that belong to him and everything that is necessary for worship. She has to receive gifts that are offered to the monastery and to take care of everything that is to be done or restored in the church, as well as for the entire decoration. In addition, she is responsible for the hosts, for the vessels and beakers that belong on the altar and in general for its decoration; also for the relics, for the incense, for the candles, for the hour hand and for the striking of the various bells. The wafers should possibly be prepared by the virgins themselves and the flour for it should be cleaned, and they should also keep the altar cloths clean. But neither the sexton nor any of the nuns should touch the relics or the altar vessels or altar ceilings if they are not given to them for purification. For this purpose one should call monks or lay brothers and wait for their arrival. If necessary, under the supervision of the sacristan, a number of her number should be called to this business who are worthy of touching the vessels. Have the sister open the cupboards and have the monks take the vessels out and put them back in. The sister who has this oversight of the sanctuary must be particularly distinguished by the purity of her way of life. In body and soul she should, as far as possible, be impeccable and of proven abstinence and chastity. She also has to be well versed in calculating the church feast days according to the course of the moon, so that the feast times are precisely observed in the worship service. The lead singer oversees the entire choir; she is responsible for the worship service and is in charge of the training when the others sing, read notes, write and dictate. She also supervises the bookcases, hands over books from them and arranges them and takes care of them, even taking care of copying and decorating the books herself. She tells how to sit in the choir and distributes the seats; it determines those who have to read or sing, and has to make a list of the sections to be read weekly in the chapter. That is why she must be well versed in writing and, above all, knowledgeable about music. Also, next to the abbess, she should take care of the monastic discipline in general, and if this is otherwise used, she should take her place. The nurse will serve the sick and should protect them from guilty of sin as well as physical distress ... It is necessary that an ambulance be set up to come to help whenever it is needed, and the house must with everything for Ill need to be provided. Medicines should also be taken care of if necessary, depending on local possibilities. That will be easier if the nurse understands something about medicine. The blood withdrawal procedure is also up to them. She has to be experienced in bloodletting so that one does not have to allow a man to enter the women because of it. The nurse is also responsible for observing the canonical hours and for communion with the sick; on Sunday at least they should communicate after each previous confession and penance, as far as possible. The clothes manager has to take care of all items of clothing, both in terms of footwear and other items. She has to arrange for the sheep to be sheared and to receive the leather for the shoes. She will look after and store linen or wool and take care of all the weaving. She provides all the sisters with thread, needle and scissors. She has to supervise the dormitory and make the beds. She is also responsible for the tablecloths, towels and all the rest of the laundry as well as for cutting, sewing, washing ... She should have the tools she needs for her work, and she should have each of the sisters with those for provide them with appropriate work. Because even the novice should take care of them until they are accepted into the order. The cellar master has to take care of everything that belongs to the area of ​​livelihood: she has the supervision over the cellar, the refectory, the kitchen, the mill, the bakery with the oven, over the tree and the vegetable garden and over the whole Agriculture, including beekeeping, large and small livestock and the necessary poultry. What you need to eat is fetched from her. Above all, she shouldn't skimp, but should be generous and willing to deliver what is needed. The office of doorkeeper or porter - which is the same - includes the reception of guests. It has to register all newcomers and lead them wherever one may go; she is responsible for the care of the hospitality. She must be mature in age and understanding so that she can answer questions and judge how and who is to be accepted and who is not. It should be, as it were, the Lord's forecourt, from which a shine falls on the whole monastery, because with it one receives the first impression. Accordingly, she was friendly in her words, mild in her address. She should also seek to edify those whom she has to reject through the way in which she explains her reasons in love ... She should also look more often after the poor, and the better she recognizes whether something is food or something for them Clothing is to be assigned, she will assign it. If she or one of the other sisters needs help or relief in their administration, the abbess should assign assistants to them. If possible, these should be taken from the lay sisters, so that none of the nuns are absent from the service or from the chapter and refectory ... The porter should have her cell next to the front door, where she or her deputy should be available at all times for those arriving. But in the meantime they should not be idle, and the more they should exercise silence, the less their talkativeness can remain hidden from those who are outside. It is the job of the porter not only to turn away the men, for whom it is proper, but to keep all rumors away, so that they are not brought to the convention haphazardly, and she must be held accountable for every excess that takes place in it has taken place. If she hears something that is important to know, she must inform the abbess in silence, and the abbess may then, if it seems worth the effort, discuss it ... As soon as there is a knock at the gate or a call is made outside the sister, who is at the gate, asking the newcomers who they are or what they want, and if necessary, open the gate and let the strangers in ... The welcomed women and the men who were let in because of something special the porter should wait in her cell until they are received by the abbess or by the sisters, if necessary and advisable. But poor people who need to wash their feet should this service of hospitality be performed with care by the abbess herself or by the sisters ... All sisters entrusted with offices who do not deal with the sciences should be made acquainted with these duties, with the exception of the cantor and those sisters who prove to be suitable for the study so that they can devote themselves more freely to the sciences. At midnight, according to the prophet's instructions, one rises to the nocturnal vigils. It is therefore necessary to go to sleep so early that the tender nature can endure these night vigils and the day's work can begin at sunrise, as St. Benedict prescribes. After the vigils one should go to rest again until the sign to Matutin sounds. Sleep should not be denied to the tender nature during the rest of the night. Because sleep above all refreshes the tired body, makes it fit for work again and keeps it sober and alert. But whoever needs meditation on the Psalms or any lessons, as St. Benedict also mentions, should do so in such a way that he does not disturb the rest in their sleep ...

Matins should be celebrated at the first light of day, and the sign for it should sound at sunrise itself, when it can be seen. When it is done, return to the dormitory. In summer, when the night is short and the morning long, we do not forbid the sisters to get some sleep before the prim until the signal sounds and they are awakened ...This morning rest should therefore be permitted from Easter to the autumn equinox, from where the night begins to overtake the day.

After leaving the dormitory, the sisters should wash themselves, take their books and sit in the cloister, reading or singing, until the first bell rings. After the prim one goes to the chapter house; there everyone sits down, and after the date has been announced, a passage from the story of the martyrs is read aloud. This can be followed by an edifying discussion or a section of the rule read out and explained. Finally, things should be dealt with here, something that should be criticized or rearranged.

When the sisters have left the chapter house, they should carry out the prescribed work and be occupied with reading or singing or with manual labor up to the third.

After the third, mass should be read, for which a monk priest is assigned to the weekly service. If there are enough people, he should bring a deacon and sub-deacon with him to administer him or to exercise his office himself. Their entry and exit should take place in such a way that they do not meet with the sisters. If several are necessary, care must be taken to ensure that, if it is possible, the monks are never withdrawn from their own convent during worship because of the masses in the nunnery.

Even after mass, the sisters should return to work up to the sext; In general, they should never be idle, but each should work what they can and must.

After the sixth one should go to dinner, unless it is a fast day. In this case one should wait until the ninth before eating, in the great Lent until Vespers. At no time should reading be omitted in the Convention. If the abbess wants to stop, she say: It is enough. And immediately everyone should rise to prayers of thanks.

In summer one should rest in the dormitory after dinner until the ninth, and go back to work after the ninth until Vespers. Immediately after Vespers, supper or fasting is eaten, depending on the time. On Saturdays, before the evening snack, there is a cleaning, consisting of washing the feet and hands. In doing this, the abbess should work in association with the sisters who do the weekly duty in the kitchen.

After supper you go straight to Compline; then go to rest.

If the sisters want to communicate, an elderly priest should be chosen to give them communion after mass; but before that, the deacon and sub-deacon should withdraw in order to remove any cause for contestation. All nuns should communicate at least three times a year, at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, as the fathers ordered for the laity as well. For these communions they should prepare themselves in such a way that all three days beforehand undergo confession and corresponding penance, and in all humility and fear they purify themselves for three days with fasting with bread and water and with constant prayer ... So that what is necessary is sufficient, one does not seek the superfluous. Something that can be bought cheaply and is easy to carry without causing offense will be recommended. The apostle only forbids harming one's own conscience or that of another's conscience with food, since he knows that it is not eating in itself that is a sin, but desire ... Nor should we torment ourselves excessively with mortification so that we can not either succumb completely, or lose our wages by murmuring, or boast of our excellence ... All zeal in this regard should be guided by prudent discernment, the mother of all virtues. It should assign to everyone the burden that he can carry according to his own ability, not rape nature, but conform to it, not forbid the satisfaction of hunger, but keep away indulgence in abundance. In this way vice is exterminated and nature is not injured ... So no food pollutes the soul, only the desire for forbidden food. For just as the body can only be polluted by bodily filth, so the soul can only be polluted by spiritual filth. And nothing is to be feared in everything that the body does, if only the spirit does not allow itself to be led into consent ... But because the connection between soul and body to a person is so very close, we have to be careful that not the Let your soul be carried away by the lust of the flesh and that the flesh, if you give in to it too much, will not resist the spirit in arrogance and thus become master of what should be subject. We will avoid this if we allow everything that is necessary, but, as has already been said, keep away all excess and allow the weaker sex to use all food in moderation, but not in excess ... So we shouldn't also allow women freedom in things that up to now have never been forbidden to them at all? But which of all human foods is so dangerous, so harmful and so unsuitable for our profession and pious contemplation as wine? In necessary cases ... the consumption of wine is not forbidden ... nobody, with the exception of the sick, should touch wine or other spirits ... Nevertheless, according to the testimony of those who have written about physics, it is certain that wine is the Women could be far less harmed than men ... If we could only be content with drinking to the quenching of our thirst and not allow ourselves to be so easily tempted to exceed the right amount ... So the wine, as I said , makes loose people and is therefore the enemy of good discipline and silence, women should either abstain completely for God's sake ... or they should mix it with water, which is good for thirst as well as for health and how it is loses its harmful effects. I believe that this will be achieved if one part of water is mixed with three parts of wine ... Let us consider it safer if we do not prohibit consumption to the point of saturation, so that the ban does not endanger us. For, as we have said repeatedly, it is not saturation that is sin, but excesses. Nor is there any objection to the fact that spiced wines are prepared for the sick and that they receive unmixed wine. But in the convent such should never be drunk, but only by the sick ... We strictly forbid bread being made from pure wheat flour; rather, at least a third of the coarser flour should always be mixed with it. Also, one should not eat bread while it is still warm, but only that which is at least a day old. The abbess should take care of the rest of the food in such a way that she meets the needs of the weaker sex with what is cheap and easy to get. So by taking into account both the wealth and nature of people, we do not prohibit anything from food, only excess in everything. We reduce the consumption of meat and other foodstuffs to such a level that the nuns' abstinence, although everything is allowed, is more effective than that of the monks, for whom some things are forbidden. And so we want the enjoyment of meat to be limited in such a way that it should not be eaten more than once a day; Nor should one and the same person receive several meat dishes, vegetables should not be added, and their meat should not be allowed to be eaten more than three times a week, namely on the first, third and fifth days of the week, albeit high feasts on the other days fall. Because the higher a festival is, the more it should be celebrated through pious abstinence ... If there is no meat, we allow two dishes of any vegetable, and fish can also be added. Precious spices should not be added, but the sisters should be satisfied with the produce of the land they inhabit. Fruits should only be eaten at the main meal ... If one of the sisters wants to chastise her body with sparse food, she should only take it out with express permission, and this must by no means be denied her if her resolution is not out of recklessness, but seems to have sprung from real seriousness and her health is able to endure it. But no one should be allowed to neglect their duties towards the convention for this purpose or to spend a day entirely without food. On Fridays, the sisters should never eat meat, but content themselves with the food of Lent and in this way, through abstinence, take part in the suffering of their bridegroom who suffered that day. As for the periods of fasting, the general ecclesiastical order may suffice for the sisters; in this play we do not want to burden them more heavily than the believing laypeople are burdened, and we do not take it upon ourselves to ask more of their weakness than of the manliness of men. But we believe that from the autumn equinox to Easter, because of the shortness of the days, one meal a day will suffice. We prescribe this because of the short duration of the day, not to induce fasting, and we make no distinction between the different types of food. A bad habit that prevails in many monasteries is not only to be kept away, but to be abhorred, namely that one cleans and wipes hands and knives on the leftover pieces of bread that belong to the poor and, to protect the tablecloths, the bread of the poor, or rather the bread of those who count themselves among the poor. The pageantry of clothes, which Scripture rejects everywhere, should be avoided at all costs ... Your jewelry should not be external, braided with hair and put on gold or put on clothes, but the hidden person of the heart, immovable with a gentle and quiet spirit, that is delicious before God ... No material is more suitable than black for the solemn costume of penance, and no fur clothes the brides of Christ better than that of the lambs: Thus, by their garb, they show that they are the lamb, that of the virgins is engaged, has dressed or should wear. The veils should not be made of silk, but of a dyed linen fabric. Two types of veil can be distinguished: one for virgins who have already been consecrated by the bishop, the other for those who are not yet. The veils of the consecrated virgins should be marked with the cross. This sign is intended to mean that they, with their unaffected bodies, also belong entirely to Christ, and just as they differ from the others through their consecration, so their garments should also bear a special sign, which should frighten off the believers when they desire to inflame them. The virgin should wear a sign of virgin purity, sewn of white thread, on the vertex of her head, but she should not pretend to wear it until she has been consecrated by the bishop: no other veil should wear this mark. The sisters should wear clean shirts on their bare bodies and sleep in them too ... We seem to be satisfied with a shirt, a fur, a robe and, when the cold becomes very sharp, a coat over it. The sisters can also use this as a blanket while sleeping. Because of the annoyance of the vermin and because of the difficulty of cleaning, all of these items of clothing should be doubled ... The length of the clothes should not extend beyond the heel so that no dust is blown up. The sleeves should not be longer than the arm and hand combined. The legs and feet should be protected with shoes and stockings, and the sisters should never go barefoot, not even under the kinship of piety ... The sisters should wear a white bandage on their heads and a black veil over them, and where necessary is, on the tonsure a hat made of lambskin. Also, given their weak nature, we do not want to prohibit the use of soft mattresses and sheets. But each should sleep and eat for themselves. Nobody should complain when clothes or other things that have been left to her are assigned to a sister who needs them more ... All that is needed for the beds is a mattress, cushion, pillow, blanket and sheet. Only women are allowed inside the monastery; the men are to be referred to the monks; no one may be admitted on any pretext unless the abbess has been consulted beforehand and given orders. Women, on the other hand, should have no further admission ... If a strange nun is present at the table as a guest, she should feel hospitable love and be given an extra bowl. If she wants, she can tell others about it. The guests should take a seat at the larger table, even if there are more, and the abbess should serve them and then eat afterwards with the sisters who served at the table ... Whatever illness demands in terms of food, baths or other things Things that should be made available to her without further ado. Because here the well-known saying applies: "There is no law for the sick." Meat should not be withheld from them, unless on Friday, on the main festival vigils, on the Quatember and Easter fasts ... If the condition of a sick person has become hopeless, two priests of the prescribed age should be taken out of the monastery for their execution and get a deacon. They are to bring the consecrated oil with them and perform the ordinance in the presence of the assembled sisters, but separated from them by a special wall. One should do the same with communion when it has become necessary. The hospital must therefore be designed in such a way that the monks can comfortably enter and exit these activities without seeing and being seen by the convent of the sisters ... Visiting the sick, and Christ in them, to take care of their needs, both spiritually and physically ... If a sick person comes to an end and the agony begins, the sister who is serving should immediately clatter Hurry to the convent and announce the death of the sister by the noise she makes with her, and the whole convention, at whatever hour of the day or night, should hurry to the dying woman, except when church duties prevent it. As medicine for those who need it, herbs or roots or fruits or other remedies can be applied at any time ... The corpse of the deceased should be taken by the sisters as soon as possible be dressed in a simple but clean shirt and put on shoes. Then one should put him on a stretcher and cover his head with a veil. The clothes should be sewn together firmly and attached to the body in such a way that there is no room left. The body is to be carried to the church by the sisters and, when the time comes, to be buried by the monks. Meanwhile, the sisters are asked to sing psalms and devote themselves to prayers in the oratory. At her funeral, the abbess should only have one thing ahead of the rest, that her body should be wrapped in a hair shirt and that she should be sewn into it like a sack. Each sister is free to express her opinion if they consult together. But the decision of the abbess is to be irrevocably adhered to, in whose decision - whatever may seem right to everyone - everything is, yes, she should fall into error herself, what is far, and decide what is less expedient ... It is better for us, right to do than to do what is right, and one should not weigh what happens, but how and in what spirit something is done. Anything that happens in obedience is good, if it doesn't look good at all. The superiors must therefore be obeyed in all matters, even if this would turn out to be the greatest damage, if only the soul is not exposed to any danger as a result ... The superior should take care to arrange his orders sensibly, because the subordinates simply have to obey and as they have vowed, act not according to their own will, but according to that of their superiors. In general, we forbid that habit should ever take precedence over reason, and that something should be excused by saying that it was habit. It should not be recorded because something is traditional, but because it is good, and the better an arrangement is, the more readily it should be accepted ... It is certainly true that reason and truth are to be placed above traditional. All that is precious is rare, and that which is in abundance is depreciated. Nobody should follow the larger party in the council, but the better one. One should not look to the age of a person, but to his wisdom; not good agreement, but truth should be sought ... Whenever a consultation is necessary, it should not be postponed. When urgent matters are to be discussed, the Convention should be convened; when discussing less important matters, it is sufficient for the abbess to call a few older sisters to her home. By the way, you have to know that neither a monastery nor any house at all can simply be called disordered if something disorderly happens in it, but only if such incidents are not carefully rectified ... Such severity should be used in the punishment The rule is that those who have seen something in another that can be made good and hides it should be subject to a more severe chastisement than those who have committed it. Therefore no one should neglect to report his own offenses as well as those of others. The sister who anticipates others by showing off herself ... should get away with a lighter sentence if she abandons her mistake. No one should excuse the other unless the abbess asks if she is unaware of the true facts. Nobody should dare to hit a sister because of any indebtedness, except who is instructed to do so by the abbess. And I believe that the rule of the order is observed more strictly in the nunneries if they allow themselves to be guided by the foresight of spiritual men and if one and the same shepherd is installed for sheep and rams, so that he who commands men also over women command and the apostolic ordinance remain ... But we want the superior of the monks, who is called abbot, to supervise the nuns in such a way that he is God's brides in them - and he is God's servant - to see his mistresses, over whom he should not be in command, but only to benefit them ... The abbot, or whoever else is in charge, should not, bypassing the abbess, give the nuns instructions on their moral behavior. Nor should he talk to the abbess too often and not in private, but in the presence of two or three sisters; his visit should be seldom and the conversation short ... He should discuss all her needs with the deaconess and, without having consulted her, determine anything about the servants of Christ and their affairs, nor should he prescribe anything to any of them and talk to no one except through them. Whenever the abbess calls him, he should not delay coming and should do what the abbess herself or her subordinates need without hesitation and as best he can. If he is called by the abbess, he should only speak to her publicly and in the presence of experienced people, not come too close to her and not hold her out with a long speech ... The abbot himself should, if he has been appointed, in The presence of the bishop and the sisters swear that he will be a faithful steward to them in the Lord and will carefully guard their bodies from all defilement of the flesh. And if, what is far, the bishop should convict him of neglect of duty, he should depose him like a perjurer ... We only place the women's convents under the supervision of monks and stipulate that a particularly tried and tested man should be chosen from the monks, whose care should be to monitor their goods in the country or in the city, to set up the necessary workshops and to take care of the other needs of the monastery, so that the servants of Christ, occupied solely with the salvation of their soul, exclusively serve the Live to the Lord and be incumbent on their works Also, whoever is proposed by his abbot should be confirmed by the judgment of his bishop. The nuns, however, are supposed to make the necessary clothes for the monks, whose protection they expect, for which they in turn should enjoy the fruits of their labor and the support of their care ... Far be it from us to want what to say It would already be a sin for the monks to come into intimate contact with the virgins of Christ, but rather they should live separated and separated from them according to the provisions of the rules and regulations ... But if the monastery has a mission to perform, monks like it or get their lay brothers. Because men should always take care of the needs of women ... As the circumstances demand it, we determine that monks and lay brothers, in the manner of the apostles and deacons, take care of those errands in the women's monasteries that are necessary for external life. The monks are mainly needed for the masses, the lay brothers for the other work ... But the restriction should apply to the monks that they should not have access to the anteroom of the monastery away from their private area ... When taking their vows, all brothers should also swear to the sisters that they will not allow them to be harassed in any way and that they will do their utmost for their physical chastity ... No man should have access to the sisters without express permission of the superior, and everything that is sent to them by the sisters must be transmitted and received by the superior. A sister should never cross the enclosure of the monastery, but all external affairs should, as I said, be taken care of by the brothers - let the strong do the hard work in the sweat of their brow. Also, none of the brothers should enter the enclosure of the monastery, because they have express permission from the abbot and the deaconess if an urgent, honorable matter requires this. If someone dares to violate this commandment, he should be expelled from the monastery without delay. But so that the men, who are stronger than women, do not pretend to molest them in any way, we determine that they are not allowed to take anything against the will of the abbess, but that they too should be aware of her advice in everything. All men and women should take the pledge of obedience before the abbess! Peace and harmony will be kept the more firmly and better kept, the less one allows the stronger sex. And the strong will be all the less reluctant to obey the weak, the less they have to fear their violence and the more certain it is that he will be exalted who humbles himself before God below.