This essay illuminates a little-known chapter in the history of English Catholicism by examining the controversies among the English Benedictine convent at Brussels between 1620 and 1623. The disputes began as a simple clash of personalities between Abbess Mary Percy and the house’s ordinary confessor Robert Chambers, and they culminated in allegations by pro-Jesuit nuns and confessors that Francis Ward, a second ordinary confessor, was attempting to seduce one of his penitents. These early clashes illustrate the cultural and gender politics of the Continental convents established for Englishwomen during the seventeenth century. By nature a female-oriented institution, the cloister encouraged women to attain monastic versions of stereotypical feminine virtues. Gender consequently provided a convenient means of understanding, evaluating, and politicizing monastic piety. As this paper will show, individuals who held little to no official power at Brussels used gender stereotypes to legitimize their interventions in the convent’s affairs. Nuns, confessors, and anonymous outsiders attempted to diminish the spiritual authority of Percy and Ward by raising the spectre of traditionally feminine vices. Within the woman-centred space of the Brussels convent, gender thus became an essential means of claiming moral authority and addressing larger concerns over monastic order and spiritual direction.