The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC EventsHistory Program Events

Feb 15th – Sara McDougall at Friends of the Saints

As a reminder, please join the Friends of the Saints on Friday, February 15, at 7 p.m. in the Pearl Kibre Medieval Study (Room 5105) of the CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Ave.) for the following paper and our customary pot-luck refreshments:

“The Virgin Mary and Pregnant Nuns in Anglo-Norman
Miracles and Convents (12th-13th centuries)”

Sara McDougall


Associate Professor, John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center


For this talk I will be presenting and discussing early Latin and Anglo-Norman miracles of the Virgin Mary. I will also discuss what evidence we have for nuns’ pregnancies in England and Normandy. Working back and forth between accounts of the miraculous resolution of a nun’s pregnancy, and allegations of illicit sexuality and childbirth against nuns and abbesses, this talk will seek out a clearer understanding of what it meant to be a pregnant nun in the High Middle Ages. It will also ask what function these miracle stories had in that society, both intended by the author and as received by readers and listeners, and particularly the female religious communities who appear to have been the intended recipients for at least some of the miracle collections.

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