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Writing Female Franciscan Identity

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Chapter Summary

Literary production flourished within late medieval Franciscan convents. One of the best known works produced by a late medieval Clarisse, Caterina Vigri's autobiographical treatise, The Seven Spiritual Weapons, stressed the rewards of dedication to a life of prayer. All Franciscans were taught to meditate on Christ's life, especially His Passion, to engage in self-reflection, particularly concerning their sins, and to engage in mental prayer. The Clarisses at Corpus Domini in Bologna preserved a rich body of spiritual writings by their first abbess, Caterina Vigri, and her companions. Attention to Battista's sources is not just idle speculation but a challenge to understand the historical and memorial record of Clare of Assisi. The story recounted by Battista Alfani evokes with rare detail the circumstances of a sermon preached to the nuns at San Damiano.

Keywords: Caterina Vigri; Corpus Domini; Franciscans; medieval Clarisse; San Damiano; The Seven Spiritual Weapons



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