Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage

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(915 words)

When medieval couples had difficulty conceiving healthy offspring, they often asked saints for help. Not only could sterility mean the end of a family line, but it sometimes brought shame and scorn from family and neighbors. A woman in 1404, eventually healed by Dorothy of Montau, reported prolonged abuse from her family after she failed to conceive again for five years after a difficult first birth. (See also Women Pilgrims, Children and Pilgrims, and Childbirth and Pilgrimage). Another woman felt disgraced by her childlessness until she had twins after visiting Thomas…

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Fiona Harris-Stoerz, “Fertility”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage. Consulted online on 30 May 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emp_SIM_00124>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004181298, 20091023

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