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The Cistercian Convent of Coyroux in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

Bernadette Barrière
Gesta
Vol. 31, No. 2, Monastic Architecture for Women (1992), pp. 76-82
DOI: 10.2307/767040
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/767040
Page Count: 7
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The Cistercian Convent of Coyroux in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries
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Abstract

The Cistercian convent of Coyroux in the province of Limousin was founded by Etienne of Obazine in 1142 to house women religious in strict enclosure. Etienne had also founded the nearby monastery at Obazine, whose monks performed the necessary ecclesiastical duties for the nuns. Unlike Obazine, Coyroux was built in an inhospitable and isolated site, and the buildings of the convent were inadequate in size and poorly constructed. Every effort was made to enforce enclosure of the nuns by means of gates, grilles and curtains at all possible points of contact with the outside world. It may be that the harsh realities of Coyroux represent the implementation of the concepts of Etienne of Obazine about the way of life proper to women in religion; it is also possible that the convent was built stingily and cheaply because the monks, who were burdened with maintaining the nuns, hoped that the enterprise would soon be abandoned by the women. Yet it seems likely as well that the members of the female community willingly accepted their difficult way of life, as the expression of a religious ideal in which they themselves believed completely.

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