Magdalenes

A name for convents or communities of penitent females founded under the patronage of Mary Magdalene, the converted prostitute. The monastic revival influenced by Francis of Assisi much helped in the move to form communities in the thirteenth century—e.g., at Goslar, Worms, and Strasbourg. Bulls confirming the privileges of such communities were issued between 1227 and 1251 by Gregory IX and Innocent IV. In the main, the Augustinian Rule was followed, but in a few German houses it was the Franciscan or Dominican Rule. Refuges for fallen women were also established, e.g., at Marseilles in 1272 and Naples in 1324. In 1640 the Magdalenes adopted a new rule after a long period of weak discipline, but they are now virtually extinct.