Jeanne de Jussie (1503–61) experienced the Protestant Reformation from within the walls of the Convent of Saint Clare in Geneva. In her impassioned and engaging Short Chronicle, she offers a singular account of the Reformation, reporting not only on the larger clashes between Protestants and Catholics but also on events in her convent—devious city councilmen who lied to trusting nuns, lecherous soldiers who tried to kiss them, and iconoclastic intruders who smashed statues and burned paintings. Throughout her tale, Jussie highlights women’s roles on both sides of the conflict, from the Reformed women who came to her convent in an attempt to convert the nuns to the Catholic women who ransacked the shop of a Reformed apothecary. Above all, she stresses the Poor Clares’ faithfulness and the good men and women who came to them in their time of need, ending her story with the nuns’ arduous journey by foot from Reformed Geneva to Catholic Annecy.
First published in French in 1611, Jussie’s Short Chronicle is translated here for an English-speaking audience for the first time, providing a fresh perspective on struggles for religious and political power in sixteenth-century Geneva and a rare glimpse at early modern monastic life.