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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Communities at a Crossroads: Augustinian Monasteries, Authority, and the Counter-Reformation in the Franco-Italian Frontier, 1550-1650

  • Author(s): Rivera, Matthew
  • Advisor(s): Head, Randolph C
  • et al.

Examining the Augustinians of the Franco-Italian frontier, this dissertation explores the beliefs and management of Augustinian conventual communities between roughly 1550 and 1650. It establishes normative patterns of Augustinian faith and practice in this frontier zone, while also situating the order within the European intellectual and religious currents of both Renaissance Humanism and the Counter-Reformation. It also demonstrates that the Augustinian communities tended to experience the same pressures as other religious communities, namely the material losses owing to the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598), as well as the constraints imposed by the Edict of Nantes upon the preaching and printing of the regular clergy. Further, it features two major case studies of convents founded in the sixteenth century. A case-study approach enables us to see the ways in which the introduction of Protestantism and state-building into the politico-religious landscape of early modern France impacted two Augustinian religious communities, and by extension, other members of the regular clergy, especially the mendicants. In the cases of the Augustinian communities at Brou and L’Osier, shifting religious and political alliances revealed the growing impact of dynasticism and internecine rivalries upon the management of Augustinian communities. Such forces diminished the historic power and presence of monastic communities in municipalities in the Franco-Italian frontier.

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