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Authority, gender, and monastic piety: controversies at the English Benedictine convent in Brussels, 1620–1623

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2016

Jaime Goodrich
Associate Professor, Department of English, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA. Email:
E-mail address:


This essay illuminates a little-known chapter in the history of English Catholicism by examining the controversies among the English Benedictine convent at Brussels between 1620 and 1623. The disputes began as a simple clash of personalities between Abbess Mary Percy and the house’s ordinary confessor Robert Chambers, and they culminated in allegations by pro-Jesuit nuns and confessors that Francis Ward, a second ordinary confessor, was attempting to seduce one of his penitents. These early clashes illustrate the cultural and gender politics of the Continental convents established for Englishwomen during the seventeenth century. By nature a female-oriented institution, the cloister encouraged women to attain monastic versions of stereotypical feminine virtues. Gender consequently provided a convenient means of understanding, evaluating, and politicizing monastic piety. As this paper will show, individuals who held little to no official power at Brussels used gender stereotypes to legitimize their interventions in the convent’s affairs. Nuns, confessors, and anonymous outsiders attempted to diminish the spiritual authority of Percy and Ward by raising the spectre of traditionally feminine vices. Within the woman-centred space of the Brussels convent, gender thus became an essential means of claiming moral authority and addressing larger concerns over monastic order and spiritual direction. 1

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Many thanks to my research assistants Kimberly Majeske and Ginny Owens for their invaluable help in cataloguing material from the Archdiocesan Archives of Mechelen-Brussels.


2 Toby Matthew, A Relation of the Holy, and Happy Life, and Death, of the Lady Lucie Knatchbull, Douai Abbey, Box O IV 1, 86v–87r. For a slightly different modernized edition, see Matthew, Tobie, The Life of Lady Lucy Knatchbull, ed. David Knowles (London: Sheed and Ward, 1931), 8384 Google Scholar.

3 ‘Abbess Neville’s Annals of Five Communities of English Benedictine Nuns in Flanders 1598–1687’, ed. M. J. Rumsey, in Miscellanea V (London: Catholic Record Society, 1909), 10. For biographical information on Norton, see McCoog, Thomas M., English and Welsh Jesuits, 1555–1650, 2 vols (Southampton: Catholic Record Society, 1995)Google Scholar, 2:254.

4 For the conflicts at the English College, see Pritchard, Arnold, Catholic Loyalism in Elizabethan England (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1979), 102119 Google Scholar. For the Douai College controversy, see Guilday, Peter, The English Catholic Refugees on the Continent 1558–1795, vol. 1, The English Colleges and Convents in the Catholic Low Countries 1558–1795 (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1914), 85120 Google Scholar; The Douai College Diaries Third, Fourth, and Fifth, ed. Edwin H. Burton and Thomas L. Williams (London: Catholic Record Society, 1911), xiv–xx; and Dodd’s Church History of England, ed. M. A. Tierney, 5 vols (London, 1839–1843), 5:33–82 and Appendix.

5 In her account of monastic gossip at Brussels, Claire Walker has already offered a short history of the Ward controversy: ‘Securing Souls or Telling Tales? The Politics of Cloistered Life in an English Convent’, in Female Monasticism in Early Modern Europe: An Interdisciplinary View, ed. Cordula van Wyhe (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008), 227–44 at 235–36.

6 On Ghent’s royalist associations, see Bowden, Caroline, ‘The Abbess and Mrs. Brown: Lady Mary Knatchbull and Royalist Politics in Flanders in the Late 1650s’, Recusant History 24 (1999): 288308 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For the later conflicts at Brussels, see Walker, Claire, Gender and Politics in Early Modern Europe: English Convents in France and the Low Countries (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 138142 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Arblaster, Paul, ‘The Infanta and the English Benedictine Nuns: Mary Percy’s Memories in 1634’, Recusant History 23 (1997): 508527 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Guilday, English Catholic Refugees, 257–65.

7 For discussions of authority and gender within English convents, see Gertz, Genelle, ‘Barbara Constable’s Advice for Confessors and the Tradition of Medieval Holy Women’, in The English Convents in Exile, 1600–1800: Communities, Culture and History, eds. Caroline Bowden and James E. Kelly (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013), 123138 Google Scholar; Lay, Jenna, ‘An English Nun’s Authority: Early Modern Spiritual Controversy and the Manuscripts of Barbara Constable’, in Gender, Catholicism, and Spirituality: Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200–1900, eds. Laurence Lux-Sterritt and Carmen Mangion (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 99114 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Goodrich, Jaime, ‘“Ensigne-Bearers of Saint Clare”: Elizabeth Evelinge’s Early Translations and the Restoration of English Franciscanism’, in English Women, Religion, and Textual Production, 1500–1625, ed. Micheline White (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2011), 83100 Google Scholar; Hallett, Nicky, Witchcraft, Exorcism, and the Politics of Possession in a Seventeenth-Century Convent: ‘How Sister Ursula was Once Bewitched and Sister Margaret Twice’ (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007)Google Scholar; Walker, Claire, ‘Spiritual Property: The English Benedictine Nuns of Cambrai and the Dispute over the Baker Manuscripts’, in Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law in Early Modern England, eds. Nancy E. Wright, Margaret W. Ferguson, and A. R. Buck (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), 237255 Google Scholar; and Datta, Kitty Scoular, ‘Women, Authority and Mysticism: The Case of Dame Gertrude More (1606–33)’, in Literature and Gender: Essays for Jasodhara Bagchi, eds. Supriya Chaudhuri and Sajni Mukherji (New Delhi: Longman Orient, 2002), 5068 Google Scholar.

8 On overlaps between monastic and secular deportment, see Hallett, Nicky, The Senses in Religious Communities, 1600–1800: Early Modern ‘Convents of Pleasure’ (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013), 5167 Google Scholar. For classic treatments of female virtue in the period, see Hull, Suzanne W., Chaste, Silent & Obedient: English Books for Women, 1475–1640 (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1981)Google Scholar and Ferguson, Margaret W., ‘Renaissance Concepts of the ‘Woman Writer’, in Women and Literature in Britain 1500–1700, ed. Helen Wilcox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 143168 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 Lux-Sterritt, Laurence, ‘Mary Ward’s English Institute and Prescribed Female Roles in the Early Modern Church’, in Gender, Catholicism, and Spirituality, 8398 Google Scholar and ‘An Analysis of the Controversy Caused by Mary Ward’s Institute in the 1620s’, Recusant History 25 (2001): 636–47.

10 Gerard, John, The Autobiography of an Elizabethan, trans. Philp Caraman (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1951), 3940 Google Scholar, 76.

11 For more on the Arundells, see Patton, Elizabeth, ‘From Community to Convent: The Collective Spiritual Life of Post-Reformation Englishwomen in Dorothy Arundell’s Biography of John Cornelius’, in English Convents in Exile, 1931 Google Scholar.

12 ‘esse, videlicet, in illa societate unum in Belgio qui gentiles suos tyrannizet; esse alios in Anglia, qui in catholicos illic presbyteros tyrannidem quandam exerceant’: Dodd’s Church History, 3:lxxxix, my translation. All subsequent translations from French and Latin are my own.

13 ‘Abbess Neville’s Annals’, 2.

14 Dodd’s Church History, 5:34. Chambers had originally sided with students who objected to Jesuit governance of the English College in 1596, but switched sides and composed an account of the disturbances cited by Persons in his own description of the clash. For original documents demonstrating Chambers’s shifting position, see Dodd’s Church History, 3: lxxvi–lxxviii.

15 On this translation, see Goodrich, Jaime, Faithful Translators: Authorship, Gender, and Religion in Early Modern England (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2014), 157167 Google Scholar.

16 ‘The Third Parte of Those Matters ... Externally Appertayning to the Congregation’, Statutes Compyled for the Better Observation of the Most Glorious Father and Patriarch S. Benedict (Ghent, 1632), 3.

17 Ibid., 3–4, 8.

18 ‘The First Parte of the Statutes’, Statutes, 4–6.

19 Ibid., 5–6.

20 Ibid., 6.

21 Ibid., 6.

22 Ibid., 6.

23 ‘quand je fut Prioresse, le pere Chambers me blasmoit parce que, je reprehendois si souvent ceste faute, l’estimant pour chose legere, & de peu d’importance, aultrement je crois certainement qu’il eut estè amendé’; Mary Percy to Jacobus Boonen, 8 September 1621, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, Archdiocesan Archives of Mechelen-Brussels [hereafter AAMB]. On the importance of silence within the cloister, see Hallett, Senses in Religious Communities, 140–46.

24 ‘je pence en ma conscience que ce que le Pere Chambers, leurs attribuant tant, & au Superieure si peu, a este la cause de toutes ces brouilleries’; Percy to Boonen, 8 September 1621, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

25 ‘In Sacramento Poenitentiae non sine gravi scandalo subtraxit se mihi, et suo malo exemplo aliis ut idem facerunt occasionem praebuit: reddat rationem huius iniquissimi facti; et condigne mihi satisfaciat’; Robert Chambers to Boonen, 19 May 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

26 Teresa Gage to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

27 ‘le Reverend Pere Robert Chambers confesseur de nostre Convent a prins quelque resolution de se retirer d’icy, et nous laisser, a nostre tresgrand regret, et ce a cause de nous ne scavons pas que desgoustes et mescontentements qui sont arrives entre nostre Tres Reverende Abbesse et luy’; unnamed nuns to Mathias Hovius, 8 March 1620, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

28 ‘si bon pere qui nous ayme tant, et qui des la premiere erection de ceste maison ... nous a ayde fort fidellement avec ses travaulx, instruit avec sa bonne doct[rine] et saincte conseils, et nous achemine au comblement de toute perfection Religie[use]’; ibid.

29 Mathias Hovius, Episcopalia Mechliniensia, Regula 8, fols 236a–d, AAMB.

30 The AAMB contains two versions of this letter: a Latin summation and partial translation (Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1) and a French version of the entire letter (Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2). I cite the French translation as it is the most complete version available.

31 Francis Ward mentions the second letter while sending his partial Latin translation of the original missive: Ward to Boonen, 16 December 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

32 R. H. to Percy, 7 March 1623, Box T IV 3 1, Douai Abbey. Mary Thais English made this modernized copy of a document in the Gent Rijksarchief, which the current archival staff was unable to locate.

33 ‘Je ne dis rien de la peu d’affection qu’elle semble porter aux peres de la societè, lesquels ont estè tousjours depuis le comencement tresgrands et intimes amys de ceste maison là, et plus en particulier d’elle mesme. Mais au pere Confesseur ordinaire du monastere … elle hors de ses immortifiez passions est Venu irreconcilable a Jamais, ce que est chose de grandissime scandall’; anonymous to Percy, c. 1620, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

34 ‘supprimer et tenir bas les plus ançiennes Religieuses, principalement celles qu’elle pense estre les plus eminentes en Jugement et entendement, lesquelles elle envie et hayst pas moins que ses enemis’; ibid.

35 Percy to Boonen, c. 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

36 Jesuit priests successfully encouraged several women to leave the house for a new venture in Louvain: three postulants (Jane Lovell, Elizabeth Digby, Elizabeth Knatchbull), two women who would become novices at the new venture (Joyce Vaux, Ursula Smithe), and three converse sisters (Dorothy Bidulse, Anna Smithe, Anna Isam): ‘Quis status futurus monasterii Benedictinarum Lovanii’, Engelse Benedictinessen/13, AAMB. After the venture failed, these women followed different paths: Digby, Knatchbull, and Ursula Smithe professed at Brussels; Lovell later founded an English Carmelite house in Antwerp; Vaux entered the Mary Ward Institute; and Bidulse, Anna Smithe, and Isam do not seem to have joined any English convent. See Who Were the Nuns?,, accessed 22 October 2015; Matthew, Life of Lady Lucy Knatchbull, 30–32; Chronicle of the First Monastery Founded at Brussels for English Benedictine Nuns A. D. 1597 (Bergholt: Saint Mary’s Abbey, 1898), 63–64; Guilday, English Catholic Refugees, 360–61.

37 Percy informed Boonen that the Jesuit Vice-Provincial, Richard Blount SJ, was ‘a speciall frend of the partie that writ the letters, who made them promis they would never doe the like’; Percy to Boonen, c. 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

38 ‘The First Parte’, Statutes, 37–39; ‘The Third Parte’, Statutes, 8–9.

39 ‘l’authoritè absolute ... a la Superieure, tant pour ce qu’ils ordonnent qu’elle seroit pour toute sa Vie, come aussy pour le trop de pouvoir et authoritè qu’ils la donnent, ce que est facilement corrompue par des femmes, et la font descendre en Tiranie’; anonymous to Percy, c. 1620, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

40 ‘son authoritè plustot come Un injuste usurpeur ou tyran que Une vraye et Religieuse superieure’; ibid.

41 ‘Je pense que je pourrois a bon droict dire d’elle en trois parolles, qu’elle est Une femme trescurieuse, tresobstinèe et opinastre, et tresambitieuse’; ibid.

42 ‘elle a tousjours estè observè d’estre haultaine a cause de sa noblesse, cerchant apres tiltres d’honneur, pas moins, que si elle estoit tousjours seculiere, et de ses propres subjects il n’y a rien que luy contente que de prostrations et adorations sans fin, come si elle fut une Diesse au çiel, et non pas une miserable creature mortelle au monde come elle est’; ibid.

43 ‘touts les admonestements tant amiables que paternelles, (d’ont elle en a receu grand nombre des personnes les plus sages et entendues de nostre nation par de là) n’ont Jamais estè suffisants de la retirer de la insolente affectation de suivre sa propre Voluntè et deseigne en toute chose’; ibid.

44 ‘qui est ignorant, que l’authoritè que est supportèe par l’advis de plusieurs est tousjours plus respectèe, et redoubtèe, que non pas la nude authoritè d’une personne seule; et en particulier d’une femme, laquelle a raison de son sexe est fragile, de son inclination opiniastre; par education ignorante, et sans experience des reigles de gouvernement!’; ibid.

45 For biographical information on Ward, see Liber Ruber Venerabilis Collegii Anglorum de Urbe, ed. Wilfred Kelly (London: Catholic Record Society, 1940), 170; The Responsa Scholarum of the English College Rome, ed. Anthony Kenny (London: Catholic Record Society, 1962), 268; and Anstruther, Godfrey, The Seminary Priests, 4 vols (Ware-Durham and Great Wakering: Mayhew-McCrimmon, 1969–1977)Google Scholar, 2:336.

46 Percy to Boonen, c. 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

47 On Persons’s role as Percy’s translator, see Jaime Goodrich, ‘Translating Mary Percy: Authorship and Authority among the Brussels Benedictines’, in English Convents in Exile, 109–22 at 115–16.

48 Eugenia Poulton to Boonen, 11 April 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB. Percy also mentioned this issue when nominating Ward for the post: ‘pour dire la verité il est encoure Jeune mais sie l’on considere la gravité & modestie avec ses vertues J’espere que sa jeunesse ne luy servira d’empeschemement’ (to say the truth he is still young but if his gravity and modesty are considered with his virtues, I hope that his youth will not serve as a hindrance): Percy to Boonen, 28 April 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

49 ‘je ne me puisse addresser a luy, car il est fort jeune & ne peut avoir guerre d’experience’; Aurea James to Boonen, 17 October 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

50 Christina Lovell to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB; Potentiana Deacon to Boonen, 5 April 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

51 ‘ce que ne peut faire monsieur Ward pour quelque debilité, de sort qu’il les faut quasi tous chanter le pere Chambers, ou bien avoir un prestre a l’argent’: Christina Lovell to Boonen, 6 October 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

52 Such a threat would have been all the more potent given the spiritual importance of the relationships between confessors and penitents in this period: Bilinkoff, Jodi, Related Lives: Confessors and Their Female Penitents, 1450–1750 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005), 1231 Google Scholar.

53 ‘la liberte d’employer les jours entieres avec celles de sa charge & a tout heure soit silence dineè soupè ou aultre observations’; Mary Roper to Boonen, 20 January 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

54 ‘il y a plusieurs maintenaint qui font semblance d’estre fort alienez de Luy, et principalement depuis que Monsieur Ward a esté confesseur chez nous, se fondantes principalement (come elles font semblance) en ce que le Pere Chambres est difficill d’ovyr les Confessions et en permettre de recevoir le sainct Sacrament souvent, ce que Monsieur Ward admitte facilement’: Elizabeth Southcott to Boonen, 24 November 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

55 Deacon to Boonen, 26 August 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB. The full date for this letter appears in a French translation in Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

56 ‘Ne permettez pas aussi monsiegneur, si vous plaist, que mons[ieu]r Ward si mesle d’avantage (suivant ses commencements) a donner les exercises (qu’on appelle) spirituels ordinaires et propres au Peres Jesuites seulement; par la quelle enterprise, il deplaist si extremement a la plus part du Couvent’; Alexia Blanchard to Boonen, 20 November 1622, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

57 For this myth, see Marotti, Arthur F., Religious Ideology and Cultural Fantasy: Catholic and Anti-Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 5365 Google Scholar and F Dolan, rances E., Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender, and Seventeenth-Century Print Culture (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1999), 8994 Google Scholar.

58 R. H. to Percy, Douai Abbey.

59 ‘peculiarem Unam monialem blande, contractoque familiarius nomine compellare consueverit, his verbis Maria mea chara. Maria mea dulcis. Maria mea etcetera dum autem nuper eam hoc modo ad sacristiae fenestras bis privatim alloqueretur, admota ad caput puellae manu sua, vellicataque leniter cute sub mento, vultum illius usque ad extremam oram ipsius fenestrae sensim attraxit, et Una suum approximavit, deosculaturo similis: quo tempore simul ad eandem verba habuit de nescio quibus suis somniis, quae perquam turpia et obscaena fuisse dixit’; John Daniel to Boonen, 31 March 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB. An English letter from Knatchbull identifies the nickname as ‘Mall’: Lucy Knatchbull to Boonen, 16 May 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

60 Knatchbull to Boonen, 16 May 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

61 ‘ipse in Sacristia apud Mariam expostulatus est blande de eius offensione declarans magnum suum amorem erga illam, prendens manum et trahens mentum ac manus pectori admovens simul et ipsa eius pectus circa cordis palpitationem. Tandem ei hoc oscula diuturna impressit, dicens hoc erit inter nos amoris symbolum non edicandum aliis’; visitation documents, 22 May 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

62 ‘fatetur Dominum Wardium subinde arripuisse manum et mentum deponentis: tandem agnoscit etiam osculum a se petitum ex parte Domini Wardii, qui cum fere quotidie ad dictam fenestram compareat vix tamen vult colloqui nisi aperta fenestra. Tandem fatetur se aliquando Domino Wardio fassam de familiari conversatione cum alia persona: super quo admonebat eam serie quanta in eo sint pericula. Et quamvis (ut fatetur deponens) ipsi impressisset osculum, dicebat se id non amplius facturum. Agnoscat tamen quod postea licet raro eam manum apprehenderit. Rogata quando inreperit uti illa familiaritate in apprehendenda manu deponentis, Respondet a trimestri: et postquam deponens fuit in exercitus, magis vitavit eius familiaritatem.... Veretur quasdam moniales non tam necessitate conscientiae pressas quam ex sensualitate eum frequenter accidere’; ibid.

63 As a point of contact with the outside world and therefore a space where enclosure might be breached, the grille was the subject of careful regulation within early modern convents: Woshinsky, Barbara R., Imagining Women’s Conventual Spaces in France, 1600–1800: The Cloister Disclosed (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010), 117157 Google Scholar.

64 Barbara Leeke to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

65 ‘avec les seculiers, & particulierement avec des Gentilhomes heretiques quant ilz vienent d’Angleterre avec quelque Embasadeur’: Mary Persons to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

66 ‘J’ay observé que les grilles sont trop frequentees, & qu’il y a trop de conversation avec les seculiers, encore que Je confesse qu’il y a quelque amendement depuis la venu de P[ere] Warde, lequelle at usée toute diligence, & a faict autant qui estoit en luy pour le reformer, mais pour cest ocation il a perdu la bonne volonté d’aucunes’: Mary Kempe to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

67 ‘amateurs du treilles & aimer d’estre veu, & plusieur aultres choses de ceste nature’: Lovell to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

68 Deacon to Boonen, 26 August 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

69 ‘Nimia illa et parum Religiosa familiaritas qua inter Dominum Franciscum Ward et Mariam Philippi versatur eo est progressa, ut iam de via, et modo videantur deliberare quo congredi, et nefariam atque sacrilegam libidinem explere possint. Res non videtur differenda quia periculum erit in mora. Itaque dignetur Illustrissima et Reverendissima Dominatio Vestra Christi Servatoris nostri amore quam primum venire, et periclitantis animae istius fragilis puellae consulere, quae misere languet liquescit, et flagrat illius amore, nec quicquam de Deo, de Religione, de se cogitare potest, sed in illo mens eius occupatur tota, illeque interim bla[n]ditiis suis, et amatoriis confabulationibus flammam libidinis accendit’; John Norton to Boonen, 21 October 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

70 ‘Magna ... lamentatio et fletus’; Norton to Boonen, 26 October 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

71 On Ignatian piety at Cambrai, see In a Great Tradition: Tribute to Dame Laurentia McLachlan, Abbess of Stanbrook by the Benedictines of Stanbrook (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), 8–10.

72 ‘ab initio, patres Societatis Jesu in regimine totius monasterii multum sibi arrogarunt … Caeterum cum illorum institutum neutiquam pateretur ut mulierum curam gererent, coacti sunt alios admittere qui titulotenus ordinarii confessarii essent, cum tamen ipsi non solum contenti fuerint maximam curae partem revera subire, sed id etiam et expectaverunt et exegerunt. Atque hinc facile nascebantur zelus atque offensiones inter eos et ordinarium monasterii confessarium’: Pasture, A., ‘Documents concernant quelques monasteres Anglais aux Pays-Bas au XVIIe siècle’, Bulletin de l’institut historique Belge de Rome 10 (1930): 155223 Google Scholar at 159.

73 ‘in directione mulierum, et praecipue Religiosarum ... video quam parum aut nihil proficiunt ... Cum hoc onus mihi subivi, eorum opera me non mediocriter sublevandum speravi, sed contrarium nonnumquam praeter spem evenit, quia maiores aliquoties per eos et propter eos obortae sunt mihi difficultates quam previdere poteram’; Chambers to Boonen, 19 May 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.1, AAMB.

74 ‘il y en a des aultres qui ne se veulent point confesser au per[e]s Jesuistes, et quant a mon particulair Je ne desire point qui ayons dependence d’eux dautant que J’ay ovy dire du comencement de cest Cloistre quilz ont ensignie De la polesi, et quelque fason de desimulation ce qui est Contrair a la Candur de religion et amenz baucoup des inconveniences’: Percy to Boonen, c. 1623, Engelse Benedictinessen/12.2, AAMB.

75 For example, the disputes at the English College involved anti-Spanish sentiment as well as accusations of sodomy among the students: Pritchard, Catholic Loyalism, 104–05, 107–08, 114. By contrast, the Douai College controversy turned on complaints about the influence of Jesuits, the institution’s poverty, and innovations in its discipline: Dodd’s Church History, 5:33–43.

76 Robinson, Thomas, The Anatomy of the English Nunnery at Lisbon (London, 1622), 7 Google Scholar. In A Game at Chess (1624), the Black Queen’s Pawn, often identified as Mary Ward, comments likewise that while she was in her novitiate in Brussels, presumably among the English Benedictines, priests easily found willing sexual partners in the convent without having to resort to force: ‘then adoration / Filled up the place and wonder was in fashion’: Thomas Middleton, A Game at Chess, ed. T. H. Howard-Hill (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2003), 5.2.92–93. For similar conflations of political and sexual impropriety, see Warren, Nancy Bradley, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350–1700 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 182183 Google Scholar.

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