The Monasticon is a repertory of profiles of women's religious communities that existed between 400-1600 C.E.
Historians use different definitions for these communities than terms traditionally used to describe male monastic institutions. Women's communities were often less formal, less prosperous, and less visible in documentary sources than male communities. They were also more flexible; women's communities tended toward cycles of institutional success and relative invisibility, often disappearing for generations only to reappear under the same name elsewhere, or in the same location but in a new form.
We seek to document here many kinds of ecclesiastical and lay institutions. Profiles in the Monasticon record communities of every size, affiliation, and rule including convents but also beguinages, reclusaria, consortia, congregations, and confraternities; hospitals, asylums, pilgrims hospices, hospitaller foundations; converse sisters and oblates; house churches, house monasteries, oratories and spiritual groups. Our hope is that by documenting diversity in detail, we can contribute to a more informed definition and history of women's religious life and communities.