[Juliana of Liège, Church of St. Magnus, carved by Georg Anton Machein, 1717-1715]
[source: Wikimedia Commons]
Anchoresses were not left on their own. There was always some church official keeping an eye on them. They also received a lot of visitors, frequently pilgrims, most of them seeking advice. Many anchoresses also lived in cells attached to churches and some of them weren’t restricted just to their cell, but to the church building as a whole.
[St. Julian of Norwich in the Church of SS Andrew and Mary]
[Photographed by Evelyn Simak, source: Wikimedia Commons]
*I’ll be defaulting mostly to the feminine terms for three reasons: 1) “because everybody does it” is a stupid reason to default to masculine terminology, 2) women tended to outnumber men among anchoresses and anchorites anyway, and 3) why not?
**Julian of Norwich, for example
***Hildegard von Bingen, for example, was enclosed as an anchoress with Jutta of Sponheim. Jutta is considered to have remained an anchoress until she died despite the number of nuns living with her. Hildegard, on the other hand, is considered the head of a community.
Ann K. Warren, "The Nun as Anchoress: England 1100-1500," in Distant Echoes: Medieval Religious Women, 1984.
Walter Simons, Cities of Ladies: Beguine Communities in the Medieval Low Countries, 1200-1565, 2001.
Anchorite - Wikipedia
How I Became a Medieval-style Anchorite - Catholic Herald