By Stephen Haliczer
At some point in 1599, within the Spanish village of Saria, seven-year-old Maria Angela Astorch fell sick and died after gorging herself on unripened almonds. Maria's sister Isabel, a nun, got here to view the physique together with her mom greater, an ecstatic mystic and visionary named Maria Angela Serafina. conquer through the sight of the useless girl's blameless face, Serafina started to pray fervently for the go back of the kid's soul to her physique. getting into a trance, she had a imaginative and prescient within which the Virgin Mary gave her an indication. right now little Maria Angela began to exhibit symptoms of lifestyles. A second later she scrambled to the floor and was once quickly restored to ideal wellbeing and fitness. through the Counter-Reformation, the Church used to be faced by way of a rare upsurge of female spiritual enthusiasm like that of Serafina. encouraged by way of new translations of the lives of the saints, religious ladies in every single place Catholic Europe sought to mimic those ''athletes of Christ'' via extremes of self-abnegation, actual mortification, and devotion. As within the heart a long time, such women's piety frequently took the shape of ecstatic visions, revelations, voices and stigmata. Stephen Haliczer bargains a accomplished portrait of women's mysticism in Golden Age Spain, the place this enthusiasm was once approximately a mass flow. The Church's reaction, he indicates, used to be welcoming yet cautious, and the Inquisition took at the job of winnowing out frauds and imposters. Haliczer attracts on fifteen circumstances introduced by means of the Inquisition opposed to girls accused of ''feigned sanctity,'' and on greater than dozen biographies and autobiographies. the major to attractiveness, he unearths, lay within the orthodoxy of the woman's visions and revelations. He concludes that mysticism provided ladies how to go beyond, even though to not disrupt, the regulate of the male-dominated Church.
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Extra resources for Between Exaltation and Infamy: Female Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain
Paul, the Gospel of St. 50 Within the convents, diﬀusion of the lives of the saints was made easy by high rates of literacy in Spanish. In some instances there is evidence that reading books written by or about saints was incorporated into convent routines. In Zaragoza’s aristocratic Convent of Santa Catalina, which had been founded by an aunt of King James the Conqueror, it was customary to choose one of the nuns to read a spiritual book or hagiography while the others sewed or performed other labor.
One of the other nuns, who was possessed by a demon called Fortaleza, was brought before Olivares, and her demon was induced to testify that he could expect a son. ”75 Eventually, with the countess’s failure to produce a son and with the countduke’s failure to achieve the great victories promised by Teresa, the correspondence ceased. 76 The count-duke may have been somewhat unusual for a well-educated man of his time in his disdain for astrology, but he was strictly conventional in his attitude toward visions and revelations.
In 1612 members of the Portuguese aristocracy, led by the bishop of Coimbra, visited her tomb and opened the casket. Incredibly, after 276 years they found the body to be uncorrupted and emitting a sweet odor, thereby convincing everyone present of the “rare, supernatural and miraculous” quality of everything that they had witnessed. After she eﬀected a series of miraculous cures for those who invoked her assistance, the cult revived, and Philip III wrote Pope Paul V personally to request canonization.