The Abbey of La Trinité in Vendôme, France and the Cult of the Holy Tear: An Exploration of a Multi-Sensory Devotional Experience


Welcome to the Abbey of La Trinité and the Cult of the Holy Tear project. This Scalar digital book is a teaching resource for a forthcoming book on the visual and performance culture at the Benedictine abbey of La Trinité in Vendôme, France. Whereas the printed book will consider the visual and performance culture surrounding the display of the Holy Tear of Christ, this teaching companion invites students and the public into the visual, aural, and kinesthetic evidence on which the book is based.

The goal of this Scalar companion is to present the primary sources from the archival and material record in a dynamic and accessible form. I hope that these presentations will spark the excitement and pleasure of humanities research of the distant past. As the archival record is never complete, and all reconstructions of medieval environments are contingent, it is crucial for our evidence and reconstruction methods to be as transparent and accessible as possible.

Users can explore the material by following multiple pathways through this teaching companion. Readers can choose to follow the chapters of the printed book (forthcoming). Readers can also choose to explore the archival material by repository or by type of document.

I created this digital companion with the assistance of student scholars at Hope College (Holland, MI). Jonathan Bading '18 transcribed, analyzed, and sang the chants from the office of St. Lazare found in the abbey's fifteenth-century antiphonary. Emily Lindbloom '20 created pen and ink drawings of the abbey's interior and Holy Tear armoire. Her drawings are based on material, visual, and documentary evidence.

This project was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities at Hope College, the Clarke and Nancy Borgeson Faculty-Student Collaborative Research Grant in the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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