Thirteenth Century

time, saint, hospital, life, hospitals, francis, world, mother, development and built

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The social history of the time is its most interesting feature for our era. The beginning of the period saw the rise of the two great mendicant orders, the Begging Friars, the Fran ciscans and Dominicans. A world so deeply intent on commerce as to give rise to Hansa and the great Italian commercial cities was afforded the example of two large bodies of men who took voluntary poverty for their lot so as to be free to do better things in life.

The coming of the Friars in such an age pro duced a deep impression. Saint Francis is one of the most lovable men of all history. A young man who, during convalescence from a severe illness, learns in Dean Stanley's words that °the world looks very different when viewed from the horizontal,° gets up from it, resolved that the fascination of trifles shall not obscure the good things of life. He proceeded to for get all about himself and his personal interests and found that all the world began to think of him. He got so close to the heart of nature that it is not surprising that we have legends that the birds and the fishes, and even the wolf of Gubbio harkened to him. He gathered around him a group of men forever famous for their absolute simplicity of life and for their refusal to let selfish motives rule them in any way. Such a life might seem too ideal to have any practical influence over man ldnd, and, above all, too mystical to make any appeal except to a medixval world, yet literally dozens of lives of Saint Francis have been written in our very busy practical age. Prob ably never since his own time has there been so inany people, and above all so many whose opinion is of value, ready to proclaim Saint Francis one of the most wonderful characters of humanity as in our era of crowded interests, The love for Lady Poverty of the °little poor man of God,l) as he loved to call himself, has appealed to all religious and poetic souls ever since. No wonder that Dante has made such a brave figure of him in the 'Divine Comedy,' and placed beside him as equal in influence and power the great founder of the Dominicans.

The development of hospitals in the 13th century has been the subject of much study in the modern time. Virchow particularly has shown that there was probably scarcely a town of 5,000 inhabitants or more in Gertnany which did not have a hospital. He attributes this great development, more marked even in other countries than in Germany, to Pope Innocent III who founded °the hospital of the Santo Spirito by the old bridge across the Tiber and blessed and dedicated it as the future centre of a universal humanitarian organization.° Pope Innocent summoned Guy of Montpelier to Rome, having heard that he was in charge of the best organized hospital of the time, built Santo Spirito under his direction and then when bishops come to Rome, as they had at regular intervals, he commended the hospital of Santo Spirito to their study and recommended, where it was virtually a command, that there should be a hospital as far as possihle like that, ac cording to conditions in each locality, in every diocese in the world. Many of these hospitals were beautifully built. Municipalities con structed them for their citizens and they were public buildings, part of the scheme of the city beautiful which so many medixval cities cherished. In smaller places hospitals were often built by the nobility and Virchow has called attention to the number of them con structed under the patronage of the family to which Saint Elizabeth of Hungary belonged. Her hospital at Marburg not far from where the beautiful church erected in her honor a few years after her death now stands, was a model for others, The hospital in Siena, added to (14th century) in memory of Saint Cath erine, was another centre of charitable influ ence. The sister of Saint Louis of France,

Marguerite of Bourgog.ne, built a beautiful hospital at Tonnerre, which Viollet le Duc has figured in his 'Dictionary of Architecture.' This shows bow well these hospitals solved the problems of hos.pital construction which we have realized adin in the modern time. There was a fine organization of nursing in thesc hos pitals under the care of religious orders of men and women, especially the Augustinians. How well their work was done can be best ap preciated from the great development of sur gery which took place at this time, for good surgery is impossible without. good hospitals and good nursing. Portions of many of these hospitals remain as evidence for what they were_ With a notable development of sodal serv ice during the century and the opportunity afforded for feminine education, it is not sur prising that the names of a series of women of this time are well known, indeed their prestige has been growing constantly. in this last genera tion just in proportion as similar opportunities are afforded in this century. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is probably the most famous and the beautiful cathedral erected in .her honor at Marburg within a few years after her death, one of the handsomest monuments ever raised to a woman, is the testimony of her generation to their affectionate regard for the °dear Mrs. Saint Elizabeth° (Frau Heilige Elisabeth) as they quaintly called her because she was just a wife and the mother of four children who, though she died at 24, had found time to do great good work for the poor around her. Queen Blanche of Castile, the mother of Saint Louis of France, was another wonderful mother of the time. Her great son attributed all that he was to his mother's training. She was an administrator of high ability who lifted France out of a period of threatened anarchy to pre serve his kingdom for her boy and yet declared that she would rather see dead at her feet than know that he had committed a rnortal sin. The great women of the time came not only on thrones but also among the middle classes. Another mother of the time whose name is recalled in veneration was the wife of a London tradesman, Mabel Rich, whose son, Saint Edmund of Canterbury, one of the most sterling c.haracters of the time, a scholarly churchman, made archbishoP, went into exile rather than submit to a tyrant king. Edmund tells how the poor around his mother's home in London blessed her for her charity and was quite frank that he owed nearly everything in life to her. Another distinguished English woman whose name has come down to us from this time is Isabella, the famous Countess of Arundel. She did not hesitate to admonish even the king himself, Henry III, when he was violating the liberties of England Matthew Paris says that with a dignity which was more than that of woman Ale reminded the king that many times he h extorted money from his subjects and not kept his. word and the rights of Englishmen were written down and he was violating them. With- the revival of interest in Saint Francis .there has. come a parallel rebirth of admiration for Saint Clare of Assisi who at the age of 17 left home.to have Saint Francis teach her how to live a life that would not be wasted in worldliness. Her mother and sister, who had opposed her voca tion originally, joined her in the second order of Franciscans in a few years.

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