School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

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Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

Mary Forman OSB

Subject Categories

Christianity | History of Christianity


Since Benedict of Norcia, countless women and men have lived according to the Rule of Benedict. Nevertheless there have been few responses to the Rule of Benedict by women. Fortunately, in the Middle Ages, Hildegard and Heloise responded to the Rule of Benedict. Therefore, it is worthwhile to investigate their responses to the Rule. This task will give some insights into the Rule of Benedict from the feminine perspective.

In this essay, I explore the backgrounds of Hildegard and Heloise, their concerns about the Rule of Benedict, and some of their insights, which are relevant to monastic women and men today. I conclude that, although Hildegard and Heloise lived in the same century, their personalities, educational backgrounds, and reasons for examining the RB are unique: Hildegard takes a more respectful stance toward the RB, while Heloise's concern in the RB was to reconcile her conflict between human love and the pure love of God. Since the RB exhibits great meaning from manly perspectives, one can look at the Rule deliberately, according to one's own gender and cultural contexts.


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