Joseph Akl is a current MA student in history at the University of Toronto. He studies representations of material devotion in beguine vitae of the 12th and 13th centuries under the direction of professors Isabelle Cochelin and Alison More.
For the Other Sister, Joseph will focus on beguine devotional practices and hopes to explore how material culture intersected with non-cloistered women. He will also assist in the administration and planning of the upcoming conference.
Angela Carbone is Associate Professor of early modern History at the Department of Humanistic Research and Innovation of the University of Bari Aldo Moro. Her main areas of research are: family; gender history; charity and assistance. Among her list of publications are: Esposti e orfani nella Puglia dell’Ottocento (Cacucci Editore, 2000); Vita nei Sassi. Famiglia, infanzia e assistenza a Matera in età moderna (Cacucci Editore, 2005); Ritirate dalle cose del mondo. Donne e istituzioni nel Mezzogiorno moderno (Guida Editori, 2020).
For the Other Sister project, Prof. Carbone aims to work on non-cloistered women in early modern Southern Italy and Mediterranean (Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Malta). Using the rich and unexplored archival sources, her new researches will interest different female figures: monache di casa, converse, repentant women.
Isabelle Cochelin is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Department of History and the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Toronto. After an MA on a female recluse (Juette/Yvette of Huy 1158-1228), she has worked almost exclusively on monks (8th-12th cent.) for the last thirty-three years: their daily life, oblation, novitiate, spaces, hierarchy, servants, etc., first and foremost using and pondering upon monastic customaries. After years of teaching the history of medieval monasticism, she became convinced, however, that much more should be done on non-cloistered religious women.
For the Other Sister project, Prof. Cochelin plans to work on the non-cloistered religious women working in hospitals and the secular canonesses. Her researches will take into consideration both the medieval and early modern period.
Sylvie Duval is an Associate Professor (maîtresse de conférences) at the Université Clermont Auvergne (France). She is a specialist of the history of medieval religious women, and in particular of the Observance Movement. Among her publications are: “Comme des anges sur terre”: les moniales dominicaines et les débuts de la réforme observante, 1385-1461. (École Française de Rome, 2015), and La beata Chiara conduttrice: le vite di Chiara Gambacorta e Maria Mancini e i testi dell’Osservanza domenicana pisana. (Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2016).
For the Other Sister project, Dr. Duval will firstly focus on the city of Milan, where medieval semi-religious women were extremely numerous. Generally assimilated to the humiliate, they did not belong however to the Order of the Humiliates. Most of them were incorporated into the Dominican or Clarissan orders during the Fifteenth century. As a second case-study, Dr. Duval will look over some communities of oblate related to hospitals. Duval will compare the cases of the Florentine oblates of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, and of the Parisian “Haudriettes” or “Bonnes femmes”.
Emma Gabe is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto. She studies laysisters in late-medieval female monasteries in German-speaking regions. Living alongside choir nuns, these women helped complete the monastery’s physical and manual work and their religious devotions were simplified.
For the Other Sister, Gabe will research laysisters (also called converse nuns) in northern Europe from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries.
Isabel Harvey is FNRS postdoctoral fellow in Early Modern Italian History at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and member of the Groupe de Recherche en Histoire des Sociabilités (GRHS) of the UQAM. Her current research project, entitled “The Environmental Impact of the Catholic Church: Missions, Mobility, and Climate in Southern Italy, France, and North America in the Early Modern Period,” focuses focuses on the Catholic Church’s environmental impact and its strategies of environmental adaptation in the context of the evangelizing missions between the 16th and 18th centuries. Her main areas of research include the early modern Catholic Church, women religious life and circulation of information.
For this project, Dr. Harvey will work on non-cloistered religious women from early modern Papal States – especially the cases of the little cities of the Marche and Umbria – and Naples – the Dominican Third Order.
Meghan Lescault is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. She is writing her dissertation on the topic of secular canonesses in the Southern Low Countries (modern-day Belgium) from 1200 to 1600. These women have often been neglected in the religious historiography partly due to tradition that imposes a monastic model on female religious life. Lescault seeks to give the canonesses their proper place in the historical record by studying them as non-cloistered women.
For the Other Sister project, Lescault is focusing on secular canonesses throughout Europe from 1100 to 1800.
Laura Moncion is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Canada. She is working on a dissertation on late-medieval women recluses in German-speaking towns, under the direction of Isabelle Cochelin and Shami Ghosh. Her work has been published in postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, Imaginations: Revue d’études interculturelles de l’image/Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, the Heythrop Journal, and the Global Medieval Sourcebook.
As part of the Other Sister project, Moncion will focus on the longue durée and global history of religious reclusion, asking whether and how this phenomenon can be observed in contexts beyond medieval Europe, and furthermore how gender factors into this practice.
Alison More is an Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies and the inaugural holder of the Comper Professorship in Medieval Studies at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. Her research investigates the intersections between social and religious culture in Northern Europe from 1250 to 1450. She is primarily is interested in women’s experiences, as well as alternative interpretations of absences and inconsistencies in the historical record. Her publications include Fictive Orders and Feminine Religious Identities (OUP, 2018).
For the Other Sister, Prof. More plans to focus on the roles that women commonly known as beguines and tertiaries held in the cities of the southern Low Countries during the later medieval and early modern period. She is also planning to do some further work of the Grey Sisters, and other women who worked in hospitals.
Dr. Kirsty Schut, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.
Research assistant of the Other Sister project.
Kirsty Schut is a 2022/23 Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. She obtained a PhD from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies in 2019 with a dissertation on the fourteenth-century Dominican theologian John of Naples. Her current research focuses on the phenomenon of lay Christians seeking to die and/or be buried in religious habits from the Middle Ages into the modern era. Her first publication on the topic is “Death and a Clothing Swap: An Unusual Case of Death and Burial in the Religious Habit from Fourteenth-Century Naples,” Viator 2019 : 185-226.
For the Other Sister project, Kirsty is keeping an eye out for lay burials in ‘other sister’ type habits and ‘other sisters’ being buried in monastic habits.
Michael Hahn is a medievalist, theologian and church historian. While in our research group, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and Tutor in the History of Christianity for the University of London’s distance-learning Divinity courses. He works primarily on the intersection of late-medieval mystical theology and the development of early-Franciscan theologies, institutions and identities and gained a PhD in this field from the University of St Andrews. As well as continuing existing research into the early-Franciscan mystical traditions, Dr. Hahn is now embarking on a new project entitled From Umbrian Laywoman to the “Teacher of Theologians”: how Angela of Foligno was made Magistra Theologorum. This project seeks to identify the cross-confessional and cross-temporal perceptions and receptions of Angela of Foligno and her Liber from her death in 1309 to 1624 when Angela was called Magistra Theologorum (“Teacher of Theologians”) by the Dutch Jesuit Maximilian Sandaeus.
For the Other Sister, Dr. Hahn worked on the mystical authority claimed by (and associated with) laywomen such as Angela of Foligno, and the changing perception of Angela’s alignment to Franciscan spirituality as her Liber circulated throughout Europe after her death.
Gustave Ineza is a PhD Candidate at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Order of Preachers, also known as Dominican friars. He started studying Christian-Muslim relations at Blackfriars Hall/University of Oxford in 2011. His current research includes the study of colonial influences on Christian-Muslim relations in formerly colonized African countries. He is working on The Evolution of Christian-Muslim relations in Rwanda, from the Belgian Colonial Period to the post-genocide era. This historical assessment aims to demonstrate that interfaith relations are not static but depend on various forces, including non-theological ones.
For the Other Sister project, Ineza focused on the beguines and tertiaries.
Camila Justino is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto pursuing a major in Books and Media Studies and a double minor in Medieval Studies and Celtic Studies. She has four books published for youth in Brazil. Her first non-fiction essay written in English was published by Guts Magazine and is included in the book Wherever I Find Myself (Caitlin Press, 2017). A second essay, “Dear English Language,” will also be included in Tongues: On Longing and Belonging through Language (Book*Hug in 2021). The undefined place of religious women from the Middle Ages and the aesthetics and the motives of vernacular theology inspire Camila’s writings. She is writing Broken English her first book in English.
For the the Other Sister, Camila was responsible for the communication between participants.