Beatrijs van Nazareth
ID:
 
1548
 
Alternate Name:
 
Beatrice of Nazareth
 
Birth Date:
 
1200
 
Death Date:
 
1268
 
Country:
 
Belgium
 
Region:
 
Luxembourg
 
Town:
 
Tienen
 
Family:
 

Beatrice was the youngest of six children bortn into a wealthy family of merchants. Her mother died when she was seven.

 
Father:
 
Barthelomeus van Nazareth
 
Mother:
 
Gertrudis van Nazareth
 
Other Family:
 

Christina, older sister. Sybilla, older sister.

 
Education:
 

After her mother's death in 1207, Beatrice's father sent her away to a community of Beguines for a year of schooling to learn both literacy and Christian values. According to the anonymous author of her biography, Beatrice was unusually skilled in reading and writing in Latin. After a year with the Beguines, Beatrice was then sent to a Cistercian convent, Bloemendaal (Florival) founded by her father to become a novice. After completing her novitiate, she left the convent for another called Rameia to study the art of manuscript writing and illumination (ars scriptoria).

 
Social Status:
 

Wealthy, upper-class. Family of merchants.

 
Communities:
 

Joined the Beguine community in 1207 for schooling. Entered the Cistercian convent in 1208. Founded her own priory in Nazareth in 1236.

 
Religious Roles:
 

Became a novice to the Cistercian convent in 1215. Became a nun in 1217. Became prioress of her own convent, Our Lady of Nazareth, in 1237.

 
Orders:
 

Cistercian

 
Ecclesiastical Relationships:
 

Met Ida of Nijvel (Nivelles) in 1217 during her stay at Rameia. Ida became her elder and spiritual advisor. Her death in 1231became Beatrice's incentive to begin her autobiography, the "Liber Vitae Suae."

 
Feast Day:
 
July 29
 
Founder of:
 
Our Lady of Nazareth, a Cistercian convent founded in 1236.
 
Literary Works:
 

Beatrice began writing her memoirs at the death of her spiritual advisor, Ida of Nijvel, in 1231. It became her autobiography, entitled "Liber Vitae Suae"(Book of her own Life). These memoirs unfortunately have not survived. Her only suriving work is called "Van Seven Manieren van Heiliger Minnen"(The Seven Modes of Sacred Love). An anonymous author published her "Vita" some time after 1268. He obtained his information from several of the nuns at her convent in Nazareth, as well as from her sister Christina.

 
Brief Profile:
 

Beatrice was born in around 1200 to a family of wealthy merchants. Her mother died when Beatrice was seven, prompting her rich father to send her away to a Beguine community in Zoutleeuw to continue her education. A year later, Beatrice moved her studies to a Cistercian convent that her father had originally founded, called Florival. There, she was recieved as a novice and subsequently became a nun when she was sixteen.

In around 1217, Beatrice moved to the monastery Rameia to study the art of manuscript writing. There, she met Ida of Nivelles, who became her spiritual mentor throughout the rest of Ida's life. Rameia was also home to Beatrice's first spiritual vision, after which, she returned for Florival only to experience a severe depression for several months.

After a second spiritual vision at Florival, Beatrice moved to the newly-founded convent Maagdendaal with several other Cistercian nuns. It was there, in 1225, that Beatrice experienced what she claimed was direct contact with God. Shortly after this vision, Beatrice began documenting her memoirs, and was further committed to publishing her autobiography after the death of her dear friend Ida in 1231.

On January 7, 1232, Beatrice claimed to again feel Christ's embrace. Again in 1233, Beatrice had another spiritual vision. In May, 1236, Beatrice moved with her two sisters, Christina and Sybilla, to Nazareth. There, her wealthy father financed a Cistercian convent, of which Beatrice became prioress in 1237.

She remained prioress at this convent until her death in 1268. In order to help guide her fellow Cistercian nuns, Beatrice authored the book "The Seven Modes of Sacred Love," depicting the proper steps towards enlightenment. She was the first woman to publish a book in Dutch prose.