The  Life of Christina the Astonishing, by Thomas de Cantimpré
Latin Text with Facing English Translation
For Latin text, please click here 

Translated, with introduction and notes, by Margot H. King,
assisted by
David Wiljer

The life of Christina the Astonishing (1150-1224) bears witness to the remarkable women's spirituality movement in the Lowlands during the thirteenth century. It tells the story of a lay-woman whose after-death experience led her to re-enact the torments of purgatory as a living sermon for sinners.


"A fascinating perspective on medieval social, religious and cultural 
practices.  Christina's flamboyant piety raises crucial questions 
about the nature and representation of female sanctity  [and] the 
relationship between the inspired individual and [the] community."
- Anne Clark Bartlett,   DePaul University, author of Male Authors, Female Readers: Representation and Subjectivity in Middle English Devotional Literature (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995).

This text "opens up discussion of family relations, the victimization and marginalization of women, and class relations. It should be assigned reading."
- Contance Berman, editor of The Worlds of Medieval Women: Creativity, Influence, Imagination (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 1985).

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