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1910 New Catholic Dictionary
Feminine of the word abbot. Spiritual and temporal superior of a community of twelve or more nuns, signifying that the superior is like a mother to the community. The title is in use among Benedictines, Poor Clares, and certain colleges of canonesses. An abbess as a rule has a right to wear a ring, and bears the crosier as a symbol of her rank, but has not the jurisdiction belonging to abbots.
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Entry for 'Abbess'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ncd/a/abbess.html. 1910.