Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Falk

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian McGuire

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This case study analyzes the lives of three thirteenth-century female saints, Lutgard of Aywiferes, Margaret of Ypres, and Christina Mirabilis, and places them against the broader theoretical frame of quantitative studies on the subject sainthood. The focus of the study is the pursuit of holiness as well as the perception of holiness. Both, pursuit and perception, serve as the point of departure for a discussion of the mentalities and the social realities which the women’s sainthood reflects.

The findings from this study indicate that female saints display numerous commonalities which can be traced back to the saints’ gender and its social ramifications. Many elements of worldly womanhood metamorphose into religiously significant components of the women’s sainthood. Hence, to fully understand this sainthood, one must examine it in the very light of gender, i.e., one must depart from those quantitative approaches which treat men’s and women’s sainthood indiscriminately.