A Vision of Flowing Light, S. 126

Mechthild von Magdeburg

The Beguine Mechthild von Magdeburg was one of many people who spent her life devoted to imitating the life of Christ and serving the world. She and other Beguines lived in communal housing supporting each other with posessions they had before entering the beguinage. For jobs, Beguines would implement trade skills, such as spinning and weaving, to become part of the textile industry workforce. Beguines also sometimes worked as nurses and teachers for young girls. Even though Beguines lived a lifestyle promoting humility and servitude, the male-authorities during this time opposed their way of life saying it was unacceptable for women to live that way. Amidst the strong opposition to her lifestyle, Mechthild felt compelled to compose a collection of books that could be shared with the world. “Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit” was the title of the collection she composed. The problem with her books was that she claimed they were written through her by God and circulates the idea that “only in suffering with Christ in his humanity can one be joined with him in his divinity.” She also touches on issues of corruption and hypocrisy in the Church, but never directly challenges the church in her books. Though she never delves into radical claims, the author of this essay believes that “the seeds for [radical claims] lie within her work.” I think that if a person were to compose a book with new ideas and messages about the relationship between man and God and claim God had written the book through them in today’s world would probably receive the same type of criticism from the public as well as the Church…although they probably wouldn’t have to fear being burnt at the stake.


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