The plague epidemic in the Middle Ages, and its aftermath, readily invites comparison with the coronavirus pandemic. In his fascinating account of the ‘Great Plague’, however, historian Volker Reinhardt also warns of the limitations of such comparisons.
The legends of the saints are written without footnotes. They can’t be checked and verified. The significance of these legends lies in the moral ideal that lives on in elaborate portrayals as a gentle entreaty to follow their saintly example.
From today’s perspective, it seems unthinkable that nuns would rebel, put up violent resistance and ignore ecclesiastical regulations. But during the reform efforts in the 15th century, this was not an unusual occurrence.