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Women's Hospital, Jerusalem

(595 words)

Author(s): Julie Orlemanski
The Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem was a charitable institution dedicated to caring for the sick, especially Christian pilgrims, and was administered by the Hospitallers during the twelfth century up until the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. According to surviving documents, the Jerusalem hospital included a distinct palacium with wards for women, in which female pilgrims to the Holy Land received physical and spiritual comfort (see also Women Pilgrims). While no records exist to suggest the relative proportion of women to men in the hospital…


(830 words)

Author(s): Julie Orlemanski
Leprosy has often been regarded as a quintessentially medieval pathology, and the figure of the medieval leper is one entwined with images of pilgrimage (see also Illness Miracles). The healing of leprosi at medieval shrines was perceived as a particularly powerful miracle, both because of the symbolic associations of the disease with sin and because in contemporary medical opinion, leprosy was an incurable condition. Leprosaria, or medieval leper houses, were frequently constructed along popular pilgrimage routes in order to capitalize on the charity of dev…

Healing and Relapse

(801 words)

Author(s): Julie Orlemanski
A surprising number of the miracles documented at medieval shrines exhibit a partial or relative character that jars against modern understandings of both 'miracle' and 'cure' (see also Miracles of Healing). A miraculously healed petitioner might walk with crutches rather than being completely lame, or could discover that a skin condition cleared up, only to have it return upon arriving home. Rather than being spectacular and absolute, the miracles of healing preserved in medieval records freque…

Miracles of Healing

(2,170 words)

Author(s): Julie Orlemanski
Instances of divine healing were the most widespread and familiar miracles of the medieval world  (see also Miracles of Justice, Miracles of Protection, and Miracles of Rescue). Hopes for physical recovery and relief catalysed pilgrimage at every level of medieval society, leading rich and poor, clergy and laity to travel to shrines (see also Pilgrimage of Nobles and Poor Pilgrims). The bodies of these suppliant pilgrims served as site and occasion for making manifest the power of particular shr…