A woman who is the head of an abbey of nuns.
- Abbots, abbesses and bishops were buried with their croziers, the pastoral staffs symbolic of their office.
- One example of this is in his sermon on St. Hilda, the seventh-century abbess who ruled over a double monastery of men and women at Whitby.
- There are many women who, as abbesses or as ordinary nuns, did much for learning and welfare.
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