GILBERT, gil'bert (GUILBERT), SAINT, OF SEMPRINGHAM: Founder of the order of Gilbertines, or Sempringham Canons (Ordo Gilbertinorum canonicorum, Ordo Sempwingensis); b. at Sempringham (20 m. s.s.e. of Lincoln), Lincolnshire, England, about 1083; d. there Feb. 4, 1189. He was educated at Paris, and after being ordained to the priesthood in 1123 became parish priest at Sempringham and Tyrington. In 1135 he founded a house for seven destitute girls, who lived in strict seclusion, and after several other houses of the same type had been established, he requested Pope Fugene VII. to unite his foundations with the Cistercian order. The pope declined, however, and Gilbert then built houses for canons near the nunneries, separating the two with the utmost strictness. The canons were placed under the rule of St. Augustine, and the nuns under that of St. Benedict, but while the control of the entire community was vested in the hands of the monks, the nuns were regarded as owning the property of the order. To all the houses, which soon contained 2,200 monks and several thousand nuns, were attached almshouses, hospitals, orphanages, and similar institutions. Gilbert reached the age of 106 years, and was canonized by Innocent III. in 1202. The order of Gilbertines was suppressed by Henry VIII., after it had come to number twenty-two double convents. It never spread outside of England. In its system of double convents the order offers a partial parallel to the order of Fontevraud (q.v.), while the employment of lay brothers to attend the monks and of lay sisters to attend the nuns recalls the religio quadrata of Cluny.

(O. Zöckler.)

Bibliography: Sources: The authoritative life, by a member of his order, is in W. Dugdale, Monaslicon Anglicanurn, vol. vi., pp. i.-xcix. following p. 945 in the ed. of London, 1817; two shorter lives are in ASB, Feb., i. 567-573; Walter Mapes, De nugis curialium distinctions#, ed. T Wright for the Camden Society, London, 1850; Ralph de Diceto, Opera historica, ed. 1V. Stubbs, no. 68 of Rolls Series, 1876; the works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (q.v.). Consult: Helyot, Ordres monastiques, ii. 188 sqq.; A. Butler, Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, Feb. 4th; DNB, xxi.


325-317; Rom Graham, St. Gilbert of Bemprinpham and the Gitbertines, London, 1901.


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