Canonicae, virgins who devoted themselves to the celibate before the monastic life was known, and therefore before there were monasteries to receive them; and called canonicce (canonical virgins), because their names were enrolled in the canon or matricula of the Church, that is, in the catalogue of ecclesiastics. They differed from the monastic virgins in this, that they lived privately in their fathers' houses, and had their maintenance from them, or, in case of necessity, from the Church; but the others lived in communities, and upon their own labor; so that it is now out of dispute, says Bingham, that, as the ascetics for the first three hundred years were not monks, so neither were the sacred virgins of the Church nuns confined to a cloister, as in after ages. — Bingham, Orig. Eccl. bk. 7, ch. 4, § 1.

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