Carolyn Muessig

Dr Carolyn Muessig

Pronouns: She/her

Contact information



PhD, Université de Montréal, Sciences médiévales , 1994

MSL, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto , 1991

MA, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1986

BA, SUNY Buffalo, History, 1985

AA, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Humanities, 1980


For 25 years I taught in the Department of Religion and Theology, University of Bristol, UK where I was Head of Department from 2007-2010 and then again from 2016-2019. I served as Director of the University of Bristol's Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (2011-2014) and as co-director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol (2013-2018). For seventeen years I was the co-editor [with Veronica O'Mara] of the journal Medieval Sermon Studies. Since 2001 I have been series co-editor [with George Ferzoco] of Medieval Religion and Culture, Routledge ( From 2011-2017 I was the Medieval and Reformation (700-1600) Section Editor for the Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, De Gruyter, Berlin, Germany ( In 2018 I was co-curator of the first public exhibition to be held in Downside Abbey church, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, UK: Voices from the Cloister: Medieval Treasures at Downside Abbey ( Since July 2020 I hold the Chair of Christian Thought, Classics and Religion, University of Calgary. I am presently working on the history of premodern female preaching.


Areas of Research

Medieval religious culture;, Female spirituality;, Preaching and sermon history;, Devotion and liturgy;, Miracles;, Monastic and mendicant history;, Heresy and reform in medieval Europe;, Sanctity;, Biblical reception; Editing of Medieval Manuscripts.


Course number Course title Semester
RELS 387 LEC 01 01 Christian Monks Mystics Rfrmrs Winter 2025
RELS 484.9 Advanced Topics in Christianity (Body and Theology) Autumn 2024
RELS 601.18 Studies in Western Religions (Body and Theology) Autumn 2024
RELS 701.19 Studies in Western Religions (Body and Theology) Autumn 2024


Breaking the Glass Pulpit: Women Preachers in an Age of Silence

I am studying the history of premodern female preaching in Western Europe and the New World. 


  • Naomi Lacey Resident Fellow, 2022-2023, Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary. 2022
  • Visiting Research Fellowship, Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin. 2014


  • Hidden Marks of Leadership: Holy Women and Invisible Stigmata in the Late Middle Ages.. In John Albaster and Rob Faesen, eds. New Essays on Medieval and Early Modern Mystical Women: Beatrice of Nazareth Past and Present (Turnhout: Brepols, 2024). pp. 58-82. (2024)
  • Catherine of Siena. In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Medieval Women’s Writings in the Global Middle Age, ed. by Michelle M. Sauer, Diane Watt, Liz Herbert McAvoy (Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2023). (2023)
  • Women as Performers of the Bible: Female Preaching in Premodern Europe. In Carla M. Bino and Corinna Ricasoli, eds. Performing the Sacred. Christian Representations of Art (Brill, Leiden 2023). pp. 116-139. (2023)
  • “Préface.” In Lecture du Livre de St Matthieu par St Thomas d'Aquin. Translated from Latin into French by Jacques Ménard, Dominique Pillet, Marie-Hélène Deloffre (La Caverne du Pèlerin, 2020), pp. 8–18.. (2020)
  • The New World of Dominican Observant Preaching: The Sermons of Tommasina Fieschi (c. 1448–1534).. In Timothy Johnson, ed. Preaching of New Worlds: Sermons as Mirrors of Realms Near and Far (Routledge, London, 2018). pp. 120–134. (2018)
  • “‘Can’t take my eyes off of you’: mutual gazing between the divine and humanity in late medieval preaching.” In Herbert Kessler and Richard Newhauser, eds. Science, Ethics, and the Transformations of Art. (Toronto: PIMS 2018), pp. 17–33.. (2018)
  • “Medieval reportationes: Hearing and listening to sermons.” In Gabriel Aubert, Amy Heneveld, and Cinthia Véronique Meli, eds, L’éloquence de la chaire entre écriture et oralité (XIIIe–XVIIIe siècles). Actes du colloque international de Genève, 11–12 septe. (2018)
  • “Medieval Preaching.” In A Handbook for Catholic Preaching, ed. E. Foley (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016), pp. 62–72.. (2016)
  • “Pedagogical Ideals of Late Medieval Dominican and Franciscan Observant Nuns.” In Peter Gemeinhardt and Tobias Georges, eds. Theologie und im Mittelalter. Archa Verbi: Yearbook for the Study of Medieval Theology 13 (Munster: Aschendorff, 2015), pp. 129–14. (2015)
  • “Bernardino da Siena and Observant Preaching as a Vehicle for Religious Transformation.” In James Mixson and Bert Roest, eds. Observant Reform in the Later Middle Ages and Beyond, Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition, 59 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. (2015)
  • Signs of Salvation: The Evolution of Stigmatic Spirituality Before Francis of Assisi. Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, 82:1 (2013). Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, 82:1 (2013). (2013)
  • L’evoluzione della spiritualità delle stimmate prima di San Francesco d’Assisi.. Archivio italiano per la storia della pietà 26 (2013). pp. 21–41. (2013)
  • Roberto Caracciolo’s Sermon on the Miracle of the Stigmatization of Francis of Assisi.. Anuario de Estudios Medievales 42 (2012).. pp. 77-93.. (2012)
  • “Preaching the Beatitudes in the Late Middle Ages: Some Mendicant Examples.” Studies in Christian Ethics 22.2 (2009) 133–147.. (2009)
  • Performance of the Passion: The Enactment of Devotion in the Later Middle Ages.. In Visualizing Medieval Performance: Perspectives, Histories, Contexts. Edited by Elina Gertsman, (Ashgate, 2008). pp. 129–42. (2008)
  • Heaven, Earth and the Angels: Preaching Paradise in the Sermons of Jacques de Vitry.. In Envisaging Heaven. Edited by Carolyn Muessig and Ad Putter (London: Routledge, 2007). pp. 57–72. (2007)
  • The Sermones Feriales et Communes of Jacques de Vitry: A Critical Edition of Sermons 10 and 11 on Animals, Part II.. Medieval Sermon Studies 47 (2004). pp. 45–56. (2004)
  • The Sermones Feriales et Communes of Jacques de Vitry: A Critical Edition of Sermons 10 and 11 on Animals, Part I.. Medieval Sermon Studies 46 (2003). pp. 33–49. (2003)
  • Audience and Preacher: Ad status Sermons and Social Classification.. In Sermon, Preacher and Audience in the Middle Ages. Edited by Carolyn Muessig (Leiden: Brill, 2002),. pp. 255–76. (2002)
  • “Sermon, Preacher and Society in the Middle Ages.” Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 73–91.. (2002)
  • Bibliography.. Co-edited with George Ferzoco. In The Sermon. Edited by B.M. Kienzle. Typologie des sources du Moyen Âge Occidental 81–83. . pp. 19-142. (2000)
  • Learning and Mentoring in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard of Bingen and Herrad of Landsberg.. In Medieval Monastic Education. Edited by George Ferzoco and Carolyn Muessig (London/New York: Leicester University Press, 2001). pp. 87–104.. (2001)
  • What is Medieval Monastic Preaching?: An Introduction.. In Medieval Monastic Preaching. Edited by Carolyn Muessig. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 90 (Leiden: Brill, 1998). pp. 3–16. (1998)
  • Audience and Sources in Jacques de Vitry’s Sermones feriales et communes.. In Medieval Sermons and Society: Cloister, City, and University. Edited by Jacqueline Hamesse (Textes et Études du Moyen Âge 9. Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, 1998). pp. 183–202. (1998)
  • “Les Sermons de Jacques de Vitry sur les cathares.” In La prédication en Pays d’Oc (xiie–début xve siècle). Cahiers de Fanjeaux 32 (1997) 69–83.. (1997)
  • Paradigms of Sanctity for Thirteenth-Century Women.. Models of Holiness in Medieval Sermons, ed. Beverly Kienzle (Textes et Études du Moyen Âge 5. Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, 1996). pp. 85–102. (1996)
  • Jacques de Vitry’s Second Sermon for Wednesdays.. In De l’homélie au sermon, ed. Jacqueline Hamesse (Publications de l’Institut d’Études Médiévales, Textes, Études, Congrès 14. Louvain-la-Neuve: Publications de l’Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, 1993). pp. 61-82.. (1993)
  • Medievalia Nove Francie. Relatio Prima. Memini. Bulletin des médiévistes québécois 24:1 (1992). pp. 24–36. (1992)
  • Sewing Hope: Women’s Religious Expression in the Christian Tradition: An Exhibition of Twelve Quilts by the Grace Presbyterian Quilters (Calgary: University of Calgary, 2022). Co-edited with Anna Benko, Britanny DeMone, and Faezeh Izadi. . (2022)
  • The Stigmata in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2020). (2020)
  • Voices from the Cloister: Medieval Treasures at Downside Abbey. (Bristol: Downside Abbey Trust, 2019).. Co-edited with Edward Sutcliffe and George Ferzoco. . (2019)
  • A Companion to Catherine of Siena. Brill’s Companion to the Christian Tradition 32. (Leiden: Brill, 2012). Co-edited with George Ferzoco and Beverly Mayne Kienzle.. (2012)
  • Expositiones euangeliorum Sanctae Hildegardis. In Hildegardis Bingensis Opera Minora. Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina — Continuatio Mediaevalis, 226 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007). [Critical edition of Hildegard of Bingen’s Latinsermons, co-edited with Bev. (2007)
  • Envisaging Heaven in the Middle Ages, edited by Carolyn Muessig (London: Routledge, 2007). Co-edited with Ad Putter.. (2007)
  • Medieval Monastic Education (London/New York: Leicester University Press, 2001). Co-edited with George Ferzoco.. (2001)
  • The Faces of Women in the Sermons of Jacques de Vitry: Selected Sermons in Translation with Text and Commentary (Toronto: Peregrina Press, 1999).. (1999)
  • Medieval Monastic Preaching, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 90 (Leiden: Brill, 1998). Ed. Carolyn Muessig.. (1998)

More Information

Graduate Supervision

I have supervised over four dozen graduate students working in the following areas: Beguine spirituality, early Franciscans, Dominicans, Catherine of Siena, Bernard of Clairvaux, Theresa of Avila, gender and sin, gender and identity, hagiography, Julian of Norwich, Marian iconography, religious poetry, preaching history, prayer and liturgy. Two of my students won the University of Bristol Outstanding Dissertation Prize in the Faculty of Arts: Eliana Corbari, PhD, “Dominican Preachers and popular devotion in late medieval Italy” (Awarded 2009). Jennie Sanderson, Mlitt/PhD, “Sin and gender in late medieval theological sources” (Awarded 2010). If you are a perspective postgraduate student wishing to do a degree in the Department of Classics and Religion, University of Calgary, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss possible research topics (

Undergraduate teaching:

For 2024-25 I am teaching courses (RELS 484.9/601-18/701-19): Body and Theology) that consider ascetic practices and the role the body played in premodern Christianity with a focus on monastic practices (e.g., Peter Damian, Christine of Markyate) and performative Christianity (Francis of Assisi and Elizabeth of Spalbeek). I am also teaching a course on the roles men and  women played in medieval religious culture in attempts to reform the practice of Christianity: (RELS 387): Christian Monks, Mystics and Reformers. 


I have written on the history of stigmata, medieval preaching, Jacques de Vitry, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena and female educators in the Middle Ages. I am presently working on a project that investigates the history of female preachers and their sermons in late medieval and early modern Europe.


My Favourite Mystic: Carolyn Muessig on Julian of Norwich: AJ Langley speaks with scholars about their favourite mystic, why they love mysticism as a subject, and the weird and wonderful world of mystical experiences. In this episode she speaks to Dr Carolyn Muessig on the English medieval mystic Julian of Norwich.  

Great Lives BBC Radio 4: Dorothy Byrne on Catherine of Siena: The president of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge and former Channel 4 editor champions the life of a 14th-century mystic. Like Dorothy Byrne, famous for her scathing attacks on broadcasting executives in the 2019 MacTaggart Lecture, Catherine of Siena stood up to powerful men. She lobbied Popes, attacked corruption in the Catholic church, and played an active role in the troubled Italian politics of the late 14th century. Alongside Francis of Assisi, she is one of two patron saints of Italy. Carolyn Muessig, Chair of Christian Thought at the University of Calgary, provides the expert analysis.