Frank Henderson's Page on Liturgy and Medieval Women

Sacraments and Burial

The following outline suggests a plan for studying the visibility and participation of women in the medieval liturgy. The documents that I actually prepare may or may not correspond exactly to this outline, however.

Mass (Eucharist)

  Basic Shape, Nature, Names
  The Variety of Women’s Experiences of Mass
    The communities that celebrated
      Parish, cathedral, women’s monasteries
    The spaces in which they celebrated
    The texts and rites used
      Gallican, Celtic, Old Spanish, Beneventan
        Sunday, weekday
  Liturgical Books for Mass
  Liturgical Speech-forms
    Dialogues and responses; scripture readings; liturgical prayers
  Space and Furnishings for Mass
  Art and Decoration
    Women who did not attend Sunday mass
    Disruption of the liturgy by women
    Advice to girls
  Gathering / Entrance
    Women as bell ringers
    Participation in the procession with blessed water
    Biblical women/saints in the Confiteor
    NT women who finds lost coins and Gloria: expositions of the mass
    Women in collects`
  Liturgy of the Word
    Women in the scripture readings
    Women as readers
    Bidding prayers
      References to women
      Inclusive language
      Inclusive language
      Stories about women
    Participation in the procession
    Inclusive language
    NT women going to the tomb: expositions of the mass
    Biblical women / saints in the canon
    Iinclusive language in the mementos
    Biblical women / saints in the Libera me
    Special blessings for women
    Baker of altar bread
    Minister of holy communion
    Communion veils
    Adaptation of the communion rite for women
    Frequency of communion
    Baking of holy bread
    Refusal to do so
    Women vesting and standing at the altar
    Altar server
  Communion Outside Mass
    Newly consecrated virgins
    In communities of women
    [see also communion for the sick]


  Basic Shape; Nature; Names
  The Varieties of Women’s Experiences of Baptism
    The communities
    The space
    The texts and rites
  Baptisteries and Fonts
    Art and decoration
    Influence of liturgical readings for Lent, Easter
      Samaritan woman, Women at the tomb
  The Catechumenate
    Female catechumens and candidates
    Female sponsors and parents
    Liturgical texts
  The Liturgy of Baptism
    Litany of saints
    Images of mother and of womb
  Baptism in Monastic Communities
    Of women, of men
  Baptism of Infants and Children
    The mother
    The godmother
    The midwife
  Clinical (emergency) Baptism
    Role of the midwife

Communion at Baptism


  Basic shape, etc.
  Varieties of Women’s Experiences of Confirmation
    Combined with baptism, separately, for adults
    Separately, for children
  In the church. At the roadside


  Basic Shapes
  Varieties of Women’s Experiences of Penance
    The community
    The space
    The texts and rites
  Public Penance
    During Lent
    Outside Lent
    Liturgical texts
      Mary Magdalene
      The women who anointed Jesus
  Communal Penance: Lenten Discipline
  Private Penance
  Confession and Penance in Monastic Communities
    Role of the abbess
    Role of priest-confessors

Liturgies for the Sick and Dying

  Varieties of Women’s Experiences
    Texts and rites
  Visitation and Anointing of the Sick
    Communion for the sick
    Litany of the saints
    Adaptations of the anointing for women
    Biblical women in liturgical prayers
      Sarah-T, Peter’s mother-in-law, Tabitha
  Commendation of the Dying: Libera Domine
    Biblical women and women saints:
      Susanna, Mary Magdalene, Tecla, Judith, Esther
  Women Lepers and the Rite of Separation
  Bidding Prayers in Crusader Hospitals
Sunday Bidding Prayers

Death, Burial and Remembrance after Death

  Basic Shape, etc.
  Varieties of Women’s Experiences of Funeral and Related Liturgies
    Texts and rites
  Preparing the Body for Burial
  Women at Funerals
    Guild members
    Poor women
    Role for girls
    Mourning and sitting on the grave
  The Funeral Liturgies
    Hours, Mass, Processions
    Role of women in planning the liturgy
  Prayers and Liturgies After Burial
    Prayers for dead women
    For women familiars
    For a dead women / women
    For sisters of the community
    For parents / mothers
    Bidding prayer
    Month’s mind, obits, anniversaries
  Women Who Pray for the Dead
  Women in Books of Life and Necrologies
    In books of life
    In necrologies for the liturgy of the chapter house

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