Essay on Differences Between Protestant And Women

Essay on Differences Between Protestant And Women

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“[T]here was no Mass or divine service, high or low, observed in [Geneva] while those false heretical Swiss were there, except in the convent of Madame Saint Clare whose churches were closed to no one.” (Jussie, 48) Solidarity in the face of extreme prejudice would define the legacy of the Poor Clares in Geneva. For these women, and all the other Catholic women residing in newly reformed Geneva, the encroachment of Protestantism presented a challenge to old faith that could only be fought with a defensive strategy. Their Protestant contemporaries, however, would assume the offensive in an attempt to bring the last bastion of Catholic Geneva crumbling like the rest of Rome’s institutions. With regards to the men of both faiths, we observe unusual pacifism in Catholic men when compared to their female counterparts, yet little difference between Protestant males and females. While it is true that men dominated the political and war fronts, make no mistake, for women during this time – this was war.
The Poor Clares realized from the beginning what kind of change was coming. During the Swiss occupation, the sisters requested that armed soldiers guard the convent in order to “keep the heretics away.” (Ibid) Even on the eve of Genevan reformation, the sisters felt the presence of Protestantism encircling the convent and seeping through the city. Thus, the Clares adopted a siege mentality – focusing on internalization and fortifying defenses in order to avoid being overrun by the enemy. The sisters would carry this mentality with them as time went on and the Genevan reformation came to full fruition. I direct your attention to the following: “The sisters of Saint Clare were saying vespers and the doors had inadvertently been left open… [...


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...aced themselves in a position to where they were able to defend themselves from literal and theological attack, and thus, remain as a symbol of hope and defiance against the Protestant Reformation – such defiance would remain until the sisters finally left the city in hopes of finding greener pastures. Protestant women, for their part, would exhibit a high degree of activity in attempts to convert, both in congruence with the state and independently. While the differences between men and women would be very limited on the Protestant side, it is interesting to note that females were the primary actors in the Catholic struggle against Protestantism – thus leaving men strangely inert. Regardless, women on both sides were seen as major, not simply supporting, actors during the events of the Genevan Reformation whose actions would reverberate throughout the city and time.

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