One need only visit the ruins of a medieval monastery to realize the sums necessary to erect and maintain it, more especially as the monks built on the grand scale for God’s glory and the benefit of future generations. Without seeking comfort, they had an eye to hygiene and convenience, as may be seen from a glance at the latrines of Fontenay. A monastery in the twelfth century had a better supply of flowing water than has the Palace of Versailles…

Think what the Church as a whole must have spent in works of charity at a time when she alone was responsible for social security and public assistance, not to speak of education. Even the business of hotel-keeping, which appears to us strictly commercial, was part of Christian charity; most places of call on the roads were hospices, religious establishments for the convenience of travellers and pilgrims…There are numerous instances of diocese and monasteries selling their treasures, even the sacred vessels, in order to save the neighbouring people from starvation.

Henri Daniel-Rops, Cathedral and Crusade: Studies of the Medieval Church (1050-1350) 

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