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Holiness, remembrance and lineage of Cistercian abbesses in 13th c. Castile. Countess Urraca of Cañas (b. 1207-1262)

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Author(s): Baury, Ghislain

Journal: Anuario de Estudios Medievales
ISSN 0066-5061

Volume: 41;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 151;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: holyness | representations | Cistercian order | aristocracy | nuns | 13th century | Castile | Cañas | Haro | sainteté | représentations | ordre cistercien | aristocratie | moniales | XIIIe siècle | Castille | Cañas | Haro

ABSTRACT
Countess Urraca is one of the main ladies of 13th-century Castile. Daughter of Diego López II de Haro (d. 1214), wife of count Álvaro Núñez de Lara (d. 1218), she spent her widowhood as abbess of Cañas (1222-1262), a monastery on which the Haro exerted the rights of patronage. After her death, the community celebrated the memory of an influent ruler who had decisively contributed to the influence and wealth of her institution. Then, probably around mid-15th century, at the instance of the general chapter of Cîteaux, the nuns gave her a fame of holiness that was recorded by the Cistercian authors in the first half of the 17th century. The cult of Blessed Urraca was reactivated during the 20th century because of the openings of her tomb, and the writing of a hagiography. The real course of her life was then distorted to such an extent that it is still poorly known today.[fr] La comtesse Urraca figure parmi les principales dames du XIIIe siècle castillan. Fille de Diego López II de Haro (m. 1214), épouse du comte Álvaro Núñez de Lara (m. 1218), elle exerça pendant son veuvage la charge d’abbesse du monastère de Cañas (1222-1262), sur lequel les Haro exerçaient un droit de patronage. Après sa mort, la communauté célébra sa mémoire comme celle d’une supérieure influente qui avait contribué de façon décisive au rayonnement et à la prospérité de son institution. Puis, vers le milieu du XVe siècle probablement, les religieuses la dotèrent, sous l’impulsion du chapitre général de Cîteaux, d’une réputation de sainteté qui fut enregistrée par les auteurs cisterciens du premier XVIIe siècle. Le culte de la bienheureuse Urraca fut réactivé au XXe siècle par les ouvertures de sa sépulture et la rédaction d’une hagiographie. Sa biographie fut alors déformée au point qu’elle demeure encore mal connue aujourd’hui.

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