Angela of Foligno's Memorial by Cristina Mazzoni, John Cirignano

By Cristina Mazzoni, John Cirignano

Angela of Foligno is taken into account by way of many because the maximum mystical voice between Italian medieval girls. She dedicated herself to a continuing pursuit of God whilst as a middle-aged girl she misplaced her mom, husband and youngsters; illiterate herself, she dictated her reports to her confessor, who transcribed her phrases into Latin because the Memorial. In an immediate and full of life type, it tells of her affliction, visions, pleasure, identity with Christ, and at last her mystical union with God. even though, her e-book has consistently been seen with suspicion, certainly even bordering on heresy; her spirituality is going past traditional language in addition to past authorised doctrines and modes of prayer. This annotated choice from the Memorial is preceded through a biographical creation which locations Angela's textual content in its ancient, cultural, and religious context; the accompanying interpretive essay which follows compares Angela's event with that of twentieth-century Christian feminist theologians. the quantity is finished with an annotated bibliography.

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At the same time, it is holy women who have the special role of unmasking, through eucharistic miracles, the clergy unworthy of consecrating the host. ' And she saw and understood that the Host, which the priest had just broken, was speaking to her. ' And God said in response, 'He will never be one of those'" (71). Echoing the scribe's own contradictions, Angela claims both that his redaction is weak and flavorless and that it contains nothing false or superfluous. Medieval religious authorship can be seen as a dialogic practice lacking the individualistic bent of modern writings.

Yet, if mystical experience were truly ineffable, as numerous mystics and critics have repeatedly claimed, then the vast majority of non-mystics would have no access to it, for the evidence of mysticism is constituted for most of us by texts alone. And these texts, as anyone familiar with them knows, are long, often even prolix, and frequently characterized by their authors' skill in linguistic usage. 8 Paradoxically, however, what we witness is the proliferation of the mystic's speech, her repeated attempt, through the negation of the capacities of language, to express the inexpressible.

These texts, with the possible exception of two Instructions, were not even dictated by Angela but rather were compiled by a number of anonymous writers. As was the case for the majority of medieval women mystics, Angela did not write the Memorial with her own hand, and it is an arduous task to disentangle her voice from that of her scribe and confessor. On the other hand, without the latter's mediation we may never have heard Angela's voice, however filtered. And in the history of Italian women's mysticism, only the incomparably weaker voices of Chiara of Assisi (11931253) and Beatrice of Este (12001226) precede Angela's own, for the story of every other holy woman before Angela has reached us through hagiographers' legends rather than first-person revelations.

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