This volume draws on emerging scholarship at the intersection of two already vibrant fields: medieval material culture and medieval sensory experience. The rich potential of medieval matter (most obviously manuscripts and visual imagery, but also liturgical objects, coins, textiles, architecture, graves, etc.) to complement and even transcend purely textual sources is by now well established in medieval scholarship across the disciplines.
During the Middle Ages, female monasteries relied on priests to provide for their spiritual care, chiefly to celebrate Mass in their chapels but also to hear their confessions and give last rites to their sick and dying. These men were essential to the flourishing of female monasticism during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, yet they rarely appear in scholarly accounts of the period, being largely absent from studies of both female monasticism and male religious life. Medieval sources are hardly more forthcoming.