Other thirteenth and fourteenth century monastic movements

The popularity of the friars did not fully eclipse the older monastic orders. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, as we have hinted, while the former were coming into being and catching the imagination of Western Catholics, the older forms of monasticism persisted. The Benedictines, the Cluniacs, the Cistercians, the Carthusians, and others still constituted an important feature of the religious life in Western Europe. Indeed, a few new orders arose on the older patterns.

Thus in 1231 the Sylvestrines were founded by Sylvester Gozzolini. They followed the primitive form of the rule of Benedict and went beyond it in austerity and the practice of poverty. Italian in origin, they did not spread extensively beyond that peninsula. Although never numerous, they survived into the twentieth century.

In 1319 the Olivetans were officially constituted, taking their name from their original hermitage on Monte Oliveto and in memory of Christ's agony on the Mount of Olives. They sprang from a small group of aristocrats of Siena who in 1313 went to a mountain fastness to follow the ascetic life as hermits. The bishop whom the Pope appointed to direct them gave them the rule of Benedict. To this they adhered with great strictness. Their houses multiplied and were formed into an order with a general chapter and a superior general.

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