Planting the Cross: Catholic Reform and Renewal in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century France

ISBN : 9780190887025

Barbara B. Diefendorf
232 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2019
Send mail

The first thing that Catholic religious orders did when they arrived in a town to establish a new community was to plant the cross-to erect a large wooden cross where the church was to stand. The cross was a contested symbol in the civil wars that reduced France to near anarchy in the sixteenth century. Protestants tore down crosses to mark their disdain for "popish" superstition; Catholics swore to erect a thousand new crosses for every one destroyed. Fighting words at the time, the vow to erect a thousand new crosses was expressed in the rapid multiplication of reformed religious congregations once peace arrived. In this book, Barbara B. Diefendorf examines the beginnings of the Catholic Reformation in France and shows how profoundly the movement was shaped by the experience of religious war. She analyzes convents and monasteries in three regions-Paris, Provence, and Languedoc-as they struggled to survive the wars and then to raise standards and instill a new piety in their members in their aftermath. What emerges are stories of nuns left homeless by the wars, of monks rebelling against both abbot and king, of ascetic friars reviving Catholic devotion in a Protestant-dominated South, and of a Dominican order battling demonic possession. Illuminating persistent debates about the purpose of monastic life, Planting the Cross underscores the diverse paths religious reform took within different local settings and offers new perspectives on the evolution of early modern French Catholicism.


Ch. 1. Old Orders in New Times: The Convents of Montpellier
Ch. 2. A Monastery in Revolt: Paris's Feuillants in the Holy League
Ch. 3. Catholic Militants in France's Protestant Heartland: The Capuchins of Languedoc
Ch. 4. Battling Demons to Propagate Reform: Sebastien Michaelis and the Dominicans of Languedoc
Ch. 5. Catholic Reform from the Bottom Up: The Trinitarians of Provence
Ch. 6. Alternative Visions of the Teresian Heritage: How the Spanish Carmelites Became French

About the author: 

Barbara B. Diefendorf is Professor Emerita of History at Boston University. She is the author of From Penitence to Charity: Pious Women and the Catholic Reformation in Paris (OUP, 2004), winner of the J. Russell Major Prize of the American Historical Association, and Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris (OUP, 1991), winner of book awards from the New England Historical Association and National Huguenot Society, among other titles.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.