Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage

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Fertility
(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…

Cite this page
Fiona Harris-Stoerz, “Fertility”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage. Consulted online on 18 October 2019 <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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