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I. Belgian beguinages

II. History, life, spirituality

III. Beatrice of Nazareth

life and context

7 Manners


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Vita Beatricis




The manuscripts (from: De Ganck, xxi). Today we know of four copies the Vita:

- The oldest, ms. B is preserved in the Royal Library in Brussels (ms. 4459-70). It contains several spiritual writings, collected at the request of John of St. Trond, a monk in Villers and chaplain to the Cistercian nuns of Vrouwenpark in Wezemaal, then miles north of Leuven. The ms. in its entirety was finished in 1320, but some parts, including Beatrice's biography (f. 66-138), could have been written at the end of the thirteenth century. 

- A second ms. is in the same library (ms.1638-49). It was written in 1493-94 as the fourth part of a Legendarium formerly belonging to the priory of Corsendonck.

- The third ms. known as G, is ms.165 of the University Library in Ghent. This one was written in 1650-1660 by the Bollandists with a view to the never realized publication in the AA SS. It contains only Beatrice's biography.

- The fourth ms., known as V, is part of the Hagiologium, written in 1476-84 by John Gielemans of Rooklooster near Brussels (now in the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, series nova, 12707, f. 296-335. This fourth one is the best of the four mss. It has been collated with B and G  and used for the critical edition, by Leonce Reypens.


Modern editions and translations:

- (Beatrijs van Nazareth.) Vita Beatricis: De autobiografie van de z. Beatrijs van Tienen O. Cist., 1200-1268 (ed. L. Reypens). Antwerpen, Ruusbroecgenootschap, 1964. Reypens and others initially called this an "autobiography" because the author of the text claims that he is not its author, but only a faithful translator of those text of Beatrice that he could find. Research has shown that this is not the case, but the degree to which the cleric's "faithfulness" goes is contested (cf. my study). In any case, it is no longer called an "autobiography". Petroff must have been confused with regard to this when she wrote (in 1986, p.176) that "there exists an autobiography of Beatrijs". She also misconstrues the relationship between the Vita and the Seven Manners, but again I refer to my study). Reypens' text is no longer available. 

- More readily available is: The Life of Beatrice of Nazareth (translated and annotated by Roger De Ganck, assisted by John Baptist Hasbrouck). Kalamazoo, Mich., Cistercian Publ., 1991, pp.289-331. (vol. 50 of the Cistercian Fathers Series) This editions offer the Latin and, in a parallel column, the English translation.