Uniformitas vs diversitas en los monasterios femeninos de la Orden de Predicadores en Castilla (siglos XIII-XV)

Mercedes Pérez Vidal


Resumen: Una revisión y replanteamiento de los procesosde fundación y adscripción a la Orden de Predicadores, laadopción de un cierto corpus legislativo, las relaciones depatronazgo, así como de los aspectos jurisdiccionales, ponende manifiesto un panorama de las dominicas castellanasbastante más complejo y heterogéneo de la visión ofrecidapor la historiografía tradicional, todavía basada en la visiónidealizada ofrecida por las crónicas y documentos oficiales.La magna tarea reformadora auspiciada por Humberto deRomans (1254-1263) no alcanzó la pretendida uniformitasni en estos ni en otros aspectos, situación que se intentóocultar por medio de un corpus de escritos propagandísticos.El presente artículo explora la diversitas existente en elcaso concreto de los monasterios femeninos en Castilla, asícomo la autonomía de estas religiosas respecto a la Orden,tanto antes como después del generalato de Romans, enlas cuestiones arriba mencionadas, y la pervivencia de estasituación hasta finales del XV o incluso hasta el Concilio deTrento.Palabras clave: Cura monialium. Monjas dominicas.Humberto de Romans. Patronazgo. Constituciones.Abstract: A review and reconsideration of the foundationprocesses, the joining at the Order, the adoption of a certainlegal corpus, the jurisdictional issues, and the patronagerelationships, show a much more complex view of theDominican nuns from the 13th to the 15th century than whathas been generally assumed by the traditional historiography,and even nowadays. This oversimplified scene of nunsis a consequence of a non critical reading of the officialdocuments of the Order, as well as a generalised lack of agender perspective.The master general Humbert of Romans was not successulin bringing order, and ending the previous confusion inaffiliations of women to the Order of Preachers, and farfrom being settled in 1267, the cura monialium controversycarried on and the legal status of nunneries remainedvariable at least until the Council of Trent. The yearninguniformitas remained an utopia, and regional and localpeculiarities on issues such as legislation, jurisdiction,observance of enclosure, liturgy and architecture lingeredon for a long time. Although Romans himself was aware ofthis, he also tried to conceal it by comissioning, supportingor even writing himself some texts which settled the oficialhistoriographical tradition of the Order. Together with theworks of Romans himself, Thomas of Cantimpré and Gerardof Frachet, we can also include in this corpus some textsrelated to particular monasteries, like the Vita of Diana diAndaló and the inquiry of Raymond of Peñafort about SanEsteban de Gormaz.Both before and after the general Chapter of 1255 newcommunities of females joined at the Order in differentways. In contrast to the Cistercians nuns, nuns affiliated tothe Order of Preachers did not have proper Dominican usesand customs until 1259, and even after that, influences fromother orders persisted. The papacy, kingship, and from the14th onwards, the aristocracy, founded and took under theirprotection many nunneries, pursuing their independencefrom episcopal jurisdiction. However, some nunneries stayedunder the power of bishops, even until the 16th century,sometimes coerced by them, but in other cases voluntarily,seeking more autonomy. In other cases, they rejected boththe Dominican and episcopal jurisdiction. Although noblepatronage was not important during the 13th century,it increased significantly tis importance throughoutthe next century, and even in the 15th century. Somenunneries were under the protection and governmentof an outstanding female figure, sometimes a founder,which could be linked with the «señoras» of the Cisterciannunneries, and with the Spanish tradition of the «Infantado».Thus, in some cases, and especially during the 15th century,nuns got to act with great independence and autonomy in themanagement and administration of their nunnery, gettingrid of the friars’ supervision, and they enjoyed great freedomof movement which frequently transgressed the normestablished by the Order and the papacy. However, thesenunneries coexisted with others which pursued a stricterobservance of the enclosure and a closer relationship withthe order.Keywords: Cura monialium. Dominican nuns. Humbert ofRomans. Patronage. Constitutions.

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