Simone Wagner gives a working paper on ‚The Cistercians of the Upper Rhine. Foundation, Relationships and textual Production of female monasteries‘

This paper overviews the history of three south-western female Cistercian monasteries (Günterstal, Wonnental, Marienau) from the 13th to the 15th century. In order to analyse the specific and non-specific characteristics of female Cistercian monasteries in contrast to their male counterparts and other non-Cistercian female communities it focuses primarily on three different aspects: 1. the foundation of the monasteries and their affiliation to the Cistercian order, 2. their relations to different worldly and religious actors such as the father abbot as well as cities and 3. the written record of the monasteries.

Applying to all examples the relationship with the order was complicated and it is unclear whether they all were incorporated into the order or if this question was important for contemporaries. However, all communities developed a Cistercian identity. Nevertheless, they were also in (close) contact to other non-Cistercian religious actors and their religious lifestyle resembled other female communities. Equally, the relationship with cities was quite important for the south-western monasteries. The women had options to shift the boundaries being normatively imposed on them. Men and women did work together regarding administrative business and the nuns didn’t always adhere to strict enclosure. Their written record — though perhaps quantitatively not comparable to the men’s – should also be taken seriously and offers a lot of inside in 15th century religiosity.