[...] the words of each exercise are intended to be recited aloud, even corporeally and communally performed (in accord with its liturgical inspiration as well as medieval reading practice), rather than mentally contemplated.2 Moreover, the Exercises are written almost entirely from a female perspective, using feminine grammatical endings in the Latin original or replacing masculine nouns with feminine ones.3 To be sure, such meditations differ from the psalms and liturgical prayers, which address God from the viewpoint of a male sinner or male devotee.
BODILY LANGUAGE IN THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF GERTRUD THE GREAT OF HELFTA1 Ella L. Johnson University of St. Michael’s College Toronto, Ontario he Documenta spiritualium exercitionum of Gertrud the Great, thirteenth century visionary of the Benedicitine-Cistercian abbey of Helfta, teaches the devotional experience of an embodied kind of unio mystica. The text prescribes seven recommended spiritual practices, freely based on patterns of oral formulae and bodily sensation from the Bible and liturgical rites.
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