On August 12, 1535,
… the people [of Geneva] were freed from their bonds, and the performance of [the] mass was prohibited by law. The reformation edict of the 27th of the same month set aside the authority of the papacy; the bishop removed to Gex, and his see was declared vacant by a decree of the senate: at the same time the monasteries were put down.
Farel preached to the nuns of St. Claire, on the text, “Mary went to the hill country to Elizabeth,” in order to show that Christian women are not deprived of freedom, and that the blessed Virgin was not obliged to shut herself up to preserve her purity.
The nuns, with few exceptions, all left the city. They had borne the character of great simplicity: it created no slight surprise therefore, that after they were gone a subterraneous passage was discovered leading from their convent to a neighboring monastery; they were suspected from this of not being altogether indifferent to earthly vanities.*
It’s not surprising. There are always ways to fulfil desire when there’s a desire. The Genevan nuns had the will and the monks had a way.
*The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (Vol. 1, p. 97).
Tagged: Monks and Nuns