I had never heard of the Beguines. If there was a lecture on them at seminary then I missed it. Then again, you would not really expect to put the words ‘medieval’, ‘women’ and ‘faith’ together in a positive way. Yet Glenn Myers book just blew me away. Right there in the midst of the 12th and 13th centuries there were a group of spirit filled, radical, Christ centered women who lived gospel lives. Myers tells us that the Beguines were part of a massive evangelical awakening that spawned a series of revivals across Europe. What are the Beguines? Lay women who lived communally to pursue a life of spiritual growth and who also preached publicly. Unlike traditional nuns they did not take vows, but the women who lived in these communities were committed to celibacy and obedience to the household rules as long as they remained in the beguinage.
Myers book is a mixture of biography of 4 women who were beguines, as well as an insight into the spiritual practices and elements of these women and the movement as a whole. The book is a delight to read as well as challenging. These women would put many pastors to shame with their passion, commitment and love of Christ. It also shows that right there in the Medieval times the Lord had his lights shining across Europe. This was a real blessing and encouragement to read.