Following fourteen months' rehabilitation at the Praemonstratensian
Priory at Storrington in Sussex, Thompson obliged, confiding in his notebook: 'After the Return to Nature, the Return to God.
57) From Herman's report it seems that this separation of the genders into separate houses, rather than hostility to women per se, was what differentiated Cistercians from Praemonstratensian reformers.
59) Herman's report does not say that Cistercian reformers refused to have anything to do with nuns, but that Bernard and other Cistercians favored separate communities of men and women rather than the double monasteries of the Norbertine or Praemonstratensian canons.
Only the prejudice about admitting the possibility that there were Cistercian women has led monastic historians to prefer the account of the anonymous canon of Sempringham in The Book of Gilbert over that of the prominent, university-trained theologian James of Vitry, who was named bishop of Acre at the beginning of the thirteenth century and who says in his Historia occidentalis, circa 1220: "The reverend religious men of the Praemonstratensian Order, wisely attending to the assertions of experts within their own family that it was burdensome and dangerous to guard such charges, decided that they should henceforth not receive women into the houses of their order.
They assume that an actual decision was made to admit women at the end of the twelfth century as a response to the move by the Praemonstratensian canons not to admit any more sisters.
62) Gilbertine negotiations with Cistercians seem to have been undertaken in the 1160s when there was at issue a Charter of Peace similar to that established at about the same time between Cistercians and Praemonstratensians.