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By Force and FearTaking and Breaking Monastic Vows in Early Modern Europe$
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Anne Jacobson Schutte

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449772

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449772.001.0001

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War and Coerced Monachization

War and Coerced Monachization

(p.213) Chapter 8 War and Coerced Monachization
By Force and Fear

Anne Jacobson Schutte

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the impact of war on forced monachization. From 1668 to 1763, armed conflict involving European states was a frequent occurrence. Even when it was not, troops stationed near potential hot spots stood by in readiness for the next outbreak. War had consequences for both female and male religious life. The disruptions it caused could be used as a pretext to force a young woman into the convent, ostensibly for her own protection. For both women and men, ongoing or impending hostilities could complicate efforts to gain release. War also had a more direct impact on male adolescents. Elders presented many with two alternatives: either entering the monastery or being sold into service as a common soldier or sailor. Most young men, fearing death in battle or realizing that they were physically unfit to serve in an army or navy, reluctantly entered religious life. A few who found monastic life intolerable subsequently ran away to become soldiers. These men later returned and tried to regularize their status by petitioning for nullification of their vows.

Keywords:   forced monachization, war, armed conflict, men, woman, monastic life

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