Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 2709
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Scott , Karen.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Mystical Death, Bodily Death: Catherine of Siena and Raymond of Capua on the Mystic's Encounter with God [the author argues that Catherine's writings should serve as the main source of information about her spirituality and her life of concern for the Church and the world; her confessor, Raymond of Capua wrote a biography of Catherine that was shaped by his own hagiographic agenda and sought to minimize her activism in the world].
  • Source: Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters.  Edited by Catherine M. Mooney.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.  Pages 136 - 167.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Catherine of Siena, Saint Confessors Death Hagiography Mystics Raymond of Capua, Confessor of Saint Catherine of Siena Theology Visions Women in Active Roles Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14
  • Related Resources: Scott demonstrates how Catherine herself stressed her apostolic calling, how Raymond of Capua rearranged and ordered her spiritual and visionary experiences, including her accounts of mystical death, with the aim of producing an acceptable vitafor canonis
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: This essay examines two kinds of sources for the life and thought of Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): the writings she dictated in Italian (her letters, the "Dialogo," and her prayers); and Raymond of Capua's "Legenda Major," a long hagiographical text composed some fifteen years after her death to promote her canonization. After assessing how various scholarly uses of these sources might create different images of Catherine as a female mystic or apostle, this study focusses on one rare instance in which both authors wrote about the same event, an incident of mystical death that occurred near the end of Catherine's life, when she was in Rome attempting to end the Western Schism. Though there are interesting convergences between the two narratives, the "Legenda" version was shaped by a view of female mysticism that emphasized supernaturally-induced somatic suffering, and this differed significantly from Catherine's more ordinary, apostolic, and hopeful emphasis. While Raymond's account is instructive about her fame as a holy woman after her death, Catherine's own words should be considered the privileged source for her thought and life. [Abstract submitted by the author to the Medieval Feminist Index.]
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  • Author's Affiliation: DePaul University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0812234855
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