Gill, Katherine. Open Monasteries for Women in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy: Two Roman Examples in The Crannied Wall: Women, Religion and the Arts in Early Modern Europe 15-47

[Open Monasteries: Two Roman Examples in ]
Katherine Gill

Idealizing, satirizing, and gothicizing images of women's religious communities have tended to dominate the modern literary imagination. The phantom "Nun" of Charlotte Bronte's Villette skitters through the shadows along her walled enclosure. For Choderlos de Laclos, the genteel, regulated innocence of the convent stands as a foil to depraved society in his Les Liaisons Dangereuses. In her Women in the Wall, twentieth century novelist Julia O'Faolain imbues the Merovingian cloister of Queen Radegunda with the atmosphere of a dungeon and instills its austere inhabitants with dark, post-Freudian masochism. Nineteenth century feminists, on the other hand, as wary as Catherine of Siena of the biological and social consequences of the marriage trap, recast nunneries as modern utopias, busy "cities of ladies" offering protection from male dominance and a bright freedom for self-cultivation. Such starkly contradictory images have a long history: throughout the Middle Ages papal bulls addressed women's religious communities as "prudent virgins," poised with lamps trimmed for their heavenly bridegroom; contemporary satirical writers portrayed them as brothels.l One of the reasons that literary fancy has veered to extremes when contemplating the nun and her habitat may be that historical writing has offered so little to catch and hold the imagination. One recent study describes female monasticism as it appears in papal documents from the twelfth through the fourteenth century as "abstract and repetitive." Another concludes that, if one tries to reconstruct female monastic life from rules written for nuns, all communities present "the same face."2 Whether light or shadowed, many of our traditional images of female

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monasticism are ultimately monochromatic.3 In them we miss the dynamism of spiritual quest, the strategies of economic makeshift, and the extra- and intramural networks (both affective and political) that regularly characterized convent life. We hardly see the tension and invention resulting from the fact that, institutionally, women's monasticism was a bastard child to male religious orders.4 Therefore, we may find it hard to imagine how women behind the effacing walls could have contributed significantly to the culture on the other side. But, as some of the essays in this volume illustrate, walls could be quite pervious.

Moreover, our images of nuns framed foursquare by cloister walls only partially illustrate the story of religious women in European history; the wall is, in fact, for the pre-Tridentine period, somewhat anachronistic. It is the purpose of this essay to focus on noncloistered communities of women in late medieval and early modern Italy and to offer two fifteenth-century Roman examples. By the beginning of the sixteenth century these types of communities, peppered almost every Italian town and were known as monasteri aperti, "open monasteries."5 There were several types of women's communities that a cinquecento Italian would have designated as monasteri aperti. Some consisted of nuns who, although they had professed solemn vows, did not observe strict enclosure and had not observed it for as long as anyone could remember; these regarded the freedom to exit as a right acquired by custom. Others had acquired license by petitioning the papacy and receiving an exemption from the obligation of enclosure.6 Finally, there were communities of laywomen who took no solemn vows and who might or might not have a formal ecclesiastical tie in the form of accountability to a monastic order, a bishop or the papacy. In some cases, lay monasteri clearly belonged to a Third Order and rightly bear our associations with the status of tertiary; in other cases they do not. The women who created and joined this last variety of open monastery were manifold and so diverse as to thwart sure classification. They might be wealthy widows or unmarried women who wished to exercise their minds in meditation and their patronage on religious projects. Frequently, they were women from middle-class families associated with one or more charitable or even semiprofessional enterprises.7 They could be former prostitutes, concubines, or simply women whose unsettled lives had left them outside a clearly respectable category. In both ecclesiastical Latin and local vernaculars, they went by many names: mulieres religiosae, mulieres de penitentia, sorores, pinzochere, bizoke, mantel-

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late, terziarie, monache di casa, monacelle, sante, and santarelle (to name a few).8 Sometimes women chose the life of a pinzochera in emulation of the monastic state, but women also chose it because they did not want to be enclosed.9 As nuns living without clausura could glide toward the category of laywomen living in community, so the spectrum of lay forms of religious life is wide and subtly delineated. At the end of the sixteenth century, in the wake of the Council of Trent, "open monasteries" were a subject of hot debate at the papal court, a debate Pius V more or less ended with the bull Circa Pastoralis, which decreed universal imposition of clausura on women's communities.10 In the name of restoration, the application of this decree struck a near fatal blow to an institution that had deep roots in the history of Christianity. Before turning to Rome and my two quattrocento examples of open monasteries, I will review those roots.

"The places of variety, rebels to all systematization" The almost exclusive identification of women's religious experience with the enclosed convent has, until recently, distracted historians from the variety of settings in which women have sought to order an existence directed toward penance, salvation, and God.1l Throughout the Middle Ages, women created and adopted a variety of parainstitutional forms of religious life. The fourth-century Roman women who patronized Saint Jerome practiced a well-read asceticism within their own households. Saint Ambrose's sister Marcellina, to whom he owed his education, lived as a consecrated virgin, sometimes in her Roman family home, sometimes at Ambrose's episcopal headquarters in Milan. Pontificals of the central Middle Ages record the liturgical ceremony in which widows and virgins, the successors of the fourth-century Roman women, received an episcopal blessing before embracing a religious regime in their own homes.l2 Groups of pious women, or of men and women together, managed hospitals that were often affiliated with monasteries. Laywomen could offer themselves as conversae into the service of monastic institutions, thereby achieving a semireligious status.l3 Although the theme of penance marked all these early medieval alternatives, with some sporadic exceptions, the power of this theme remained generally quiescent among the laity. From the twelfth century, however, the cultural authority of penitential conversion, with its quotidian extension into novel ways of living, gained intensity and ubiquity. When the Second Lateran Council

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(1139) officially condemned the domestic monasticism of consecrated virgins and widows as "pernicious and detestable," Europe stood on the threshold of a current that would revive this ancient practice in a new guise.14 Penitence became the path along which laywomen discovered alternative ways to dedicate themselves to a religious life in the late Middle Ages. The "penitential movement" is a catchall phrase that is used to refer inclusively to a host of religious initiatives undertaken by the laity, particularly in Italy, beginning in the twelfth century.l5 These initiatives include confraternities; eremitic retreat outside the city walls; solitary or companioned reclusion within the city, at its gates, its bridges, or in a regulated domestic setting; and voluntary poverty and mendicancy.l6 Although none of these forms of life were altogether foreign to Christianity, the sheer number of lay persons who strove to adapt monastic and Gospel models to their particular social conditions was new. Saint Francis, formerly seen as the instigator of the "penitential movement," is now recognized as the inspired heir of a momentum that had begun to gather force several decades before him. Facere penitentiam, to do penance, served as an instrument of self-transformation, signaling and enabling a change of life, freeing an individual from many of the obligations and expectations adhering to his or her previous secular status. In the age of Francis of Assisi this meant the voluntary acceptance of the ascetic regime traditionally imposed by the church on publically reconciled sinners. Its hallmarks were self-mortification, distinctively simple dress, a life segregated from society, and, for men, the abjuring of public office, arms, and commercial activity.l7 Women gravitated toward the penitential life in great numbers. Over the decades, with the emblems of the penitent, women managed to craft a public persona that permitted them to work out their own salvation in a variety of settings. The authority of the penitential posture allowed women an honorable way to live outside the confines of their families and their societies' ideals of the feminine. As a social position, it remained viable for centuries. The historiography of the "penitential movement" blends and, at times, becomes indistinguishable from that of another "movement," the "women's religious movement" of the late Middle Ages.18 Although initially this phrase was associated with the early history of the Beguines of Northern Europe, laywomen who lived an ascetic life either in communities or alone without taking vows, it has come to be used with wider application. It is now generally recognized that, beginning in the twelfth

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century, women all over Europe were participating more intensely and experimentally in religious life and that this had a powerful impact on spirituality, religious ideals, and practices everywhere. The "women's religious movement" of the late Middle Ages is now recognized to have been widespread. It was particularly strong in Italy.19 In 1216, James of Vitry, a regular canon from Liege traveling through Italy, was the first to observe the analogy between the Beguines of the north and certain groups of religious women in Italy.20 The "spiritual son" and hagiographer of the proto-Beguine Marie of Ognies, James, having been powerfully impressed by the visionary gifts and ascetic life of one innovative laywoman, was quick to notice women with similar aspirations in other regions. Although James had no trouble embracing many different kinds of laywomen's associations into a single affirming view, other observers were confused and skeptical. In 1274, the Franciscan, Gilbert of Tournai, wrote: "there are among us women whom we have no idea what to call, ordinary women or nuns, because they live neither in the world nor out of it."21 Even James of Vitry, although he did not share the puzzlement or skepticism of some, was keenly aware of the vulnerability of women who sought to stake out a middle ground between lay and religious status. In his second sermo ad virgines, he reveals that the early vernacular names for this new kind of religious laywoman carried connotations of derision.

When a young woman has determined to protect her virginity, even after her parents offer her a husband with riches, she tramples [this option] under her foot and spits [on it]. But the wise of this world, namely prelates, secular priests, and other malicious men want to bring her down and to derail her from her good plan, saying: this one wants to be a beguina, as she is called in Flanders and the Brabant; or a papalarda, as she is called in France; or humiliata, as it is said in Lombardy; or bizoke, as they say in Italy; or coquenunne, as they say in German territories. And so by deriding them and defaming them they strive to divert them from a holy way of life.22 James's exemplum is significant. Not only does it reveal the international scope of the women's religious movement, but it incorporates two contradictory attitudes toward the phenomenon: admiration and suspicion. These attitudes would color the environment in which pious laywomen lived for centuries. The challenge of the uncloistered religious woman

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was to navigate a difficult border zone, tacking between boundaries of gender and status, in societies whose hearts were passionate and inconsistent about just those boundaries. While the ideals and the traditions of the penitential and women's religious movement can help us to understand the success of beguines and bizoke, and their institutional and theological creativity, the power of these movements could not propel them safely through the paradoxes of their societies.

Italian pinzochere seem to have fared better and longer than their European counterparts, but their persistence was marked with conflict. James of Vitry's exemplum reminds us that what could be praised could not always be allowed; and what could be imagined, or remembered, could not always be achieved.


The emblems of the "women's religious movement" in Italy are the figure of the recluse and that of the pinzochera. They represent the contemplative and the active dimensions of the same cultural current.23 The extraordinary number of local and official saints who lived as recluses, pinzochere, or alternately as both, testifies to the success of women in steering this current.24 While the stigma of alleged association with heresy caused the numbers of Northern Beguines (and papalarde and coquenunne) to diminish, the bizoke held their own in Italy.

The late trecento and quattrocento saw a renewed popularity of this modus vivendi in central Italy. Here, informal religious communities or nonregulated domestic monasticism existed as a possibility, a cultural option, up through Trent and, in increasingly exceptional cases, beyond. This did not mean that "open monasteries" and spontaneous associations of pinzochere did not meet difficulties in maintaining their autonomy from episcopal, monastic, and civil authorities. Many were compelled to accept restrictive rules, to become "closed monasteries." But a large number managed to avoid the issue, to acquire exemptions from enclosure, or, with minimal accommodation, to go about business as usual. Various sources indicate that while she persevered, in popular perception, the pinzocbera trod the gamut from sanctity to satire to sorcery. James of Vitry's Life of Mary of Oignies served as a model for at least two Italian saints.25 One, Catherine of Siena, later became a model for subsequent pious women, some rather notorious.

The other, Clare of Montefalco, barely overcame allegations of heresy to achieve eventual canonization. A long didactic poem, Reggimento e costumi di donna,

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written by Francesco da Barberino in the early trecento, expresses strong doubts about whether any woman can become a pinzochera, a domestic recluse, or a conversa without succumbing either to the temptation of exercising religious authority or to the temptation of lust.26 The perception that the pinzochere defied gender expectations is reflected in a sixteenth-century Italian dance entitled "The Pinzochera," which required women to dance traditionally male parts, and vice versa. In the genre of Renaissance "sexy songs," the Iyrics of "The Pinzochere Who Have Been to Rome," declare the skill of the Florentine pinzochere in cosmetics, midwifery, and magical healing. The singers boast of secret knowledge by which they can accomplish amazing feats and influence people.27 The song also suggests that the pinzochere have assumed this social posture in order to sport an undeserved mask of respectability. If we turn from hagiography, literature, and rowdy songs to other sources, the pinzochera remains a polyvalent social type. Wills, contracts, and donations attest to the respect she could command from her neighbors and to her involvement in religious patronage and philanthropy. The witnesses interviewed for canonization processes of women such as Santa Francesca Romana corroborate their legends. But there are other kinds of processi as well. One inquisition process from the 1520s reveals a woman from a town outside Rome who could well have sung "The Pinzochere Who Have Been to Rome" with the blunt tenor of autobiographical statement. This Bellezza Orsini was arrested after she allegedly had cast a spell on a young man while they were both traveling, together with a mixed group from their town, on an Easter pilgrimage to Rome. Describing herself as a "vestita" and a "convertita" associated with local Franciscans, Bellezza protests before the inquisitor: I cure and I give medications for every infirmity; I know how to heal syphilis, broken bones, a person afflicted by some evil shadow, and many other infirmities; I never do anything but good, and to do better I took the habit of the [Third] order of blessed Saint Francis.... Serving God is what I am about and that is why I entered this order and made myself one of the convertite; I don't want to do evil anymore.28

Another pilgrim to Rome and a contemporary of Bellezza, Martin Luther, has provided us with yet another perspective on the mantellate of Rome. In his Table Talk, Luther praises charitable hospitals in Italy.

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In Italy the hospitals have everything one needs; they are well constructed, one eats and drinks well there, and one is served with solicitude; the doctors are competent.... The cleanliness is admirable; glasses are held with only two fingers. Veiled gentlewomen come to care for the sick. These efforts are good and praiseworthy, but the bad thing is that the Italians believe that in this way they can merit Paradise.29

While Luthur's dinner table swipe is almost offhand, another Protestant circle has left us an image of the veiled pinzochere that is as black as it is polemical. Le Monde Papistique is a work of satiric cartography emanating from Geneva in the mid-1560s.30 Part of an elaborate piece of Protestant propaganda, its sixteen plates parody Catholic practices and the accoutrements of papal power. In one plate, the city walls of Rome frame for our disdain groups of pinzocaires who appear to have overrun the cityscape.(see fig.1). Dead center, in front of a broken gap in the wall, stand three veiled pinzocaires with the faces of wolves. Behind them, cattle and pig pinzocaires dangle rosaries from their snouts, bitch pinzocaires nurse their whelps, and suspicious groups scurry along gathering their emblematic mantles around them.31 A second plate depicts Rome as Inferno, with the Tiber as the river Styx and popes and cardinals in the process of being ferried over. A group of pinzochere and pilgrims has just disembarked. In these plates, the satirist(s) play on a cultural aversion to women unmoored from male authority, from family and convent.32 But at the same time they indicate the degree to which the pinzochere had become identified with Italian Catholicism and with the city of Rome. Portrayed in one of their most characteristic activities, the act of making pilgrimages to local and far off holy places, the pinzochere are parodied in the same frame as Rome's clerical elite. Again, as with James of Vitry's sermon, Protestant propaganda likewise conveys that the social and religious roles of the pinzochere could be both supported and suppressed. But these dichotomous attitudes, like those generated by the "movement" discussed previously, in the end only inform us about the general cultural environment. The real history of the bizoke lies in myriad specific contexts, in local settings, in the efforts of handfuls of women here and there. For, even more than convents, the institutions of the pinzochere reflect particular places and particular women.

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Rome and the Oblates of Santa Francesca

From the twelfth through the sixteenth century, Rome sustained a constant mix of domestic recluses, resettled (resident) pilgrims, female administrators and founders of hospitals and hospices, and pinzochere of various social and national backgrounds.33 Indeed, the mixture may have been particularly rich in Rome, where so many foreigners imported their native religious traditions. Here the great need to accommodate pilgrims was met by hospices, which were both run and sought out by pinzochere. Religious leadership was often a family affair and the residence of members of the papal court in Rome often brought female relatives and sponsors. These women might put down roots among pious women in Rome, where they could enjoy the prestige and the company of the men they supported. Close papal surveillance seems only to have begun in the mid-fifteenth century, and even then unsystematically. In Rome, the most renowned laywomen's community dates from the 1420s and traces its origins to the visionary ascetic Francesca Bussa de' Ponziani, better known as Santa Francesca Romana.34 Although Francesca is often called the founder of what began as a "congregation" of women living separately in their husbands' or fathers' homes, she seems to have been more a charismatic source of inspiration and encouragement than an administrator, and we find a number of other women involved in the process of negotiating papal recognition and in the property exchanges that enabled various members of the group to settle together in a common residence. Francesca, whose husband lived until four years before her own death in 1440, lived only sporadically in the house of her community, which came to be known as the "oblates of Tor de' Specchi." A wife and mother, Francesca's religious and public authority derived from her active and admired role in several Roman hospitals,35 her courage in the face of political upheavals that rocked Rome in the early decades of the fifteenth century, her intense private devotions, and her visions. During the thirteen years following Francesca's death, a commission of the papal Curia conducted three investigations or canonization processes to determine her reputed sanctity (1440,1443, and 1451). Of the 181 witnesses who gave testimonies regarding her sanctity, twothirds were women.36 Close study of the witnesses and early members of her community has revealed a startling insight. The great majority of Francesca's supporters turn out to have been closely related to a group

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of prominent municipal leaders who had lost all their political authority (and, in some cases, their lives) when they had attempted a coup against Boniface IX in 1398.37 As Arnold Esch, the scholar who has analyzed this most closely, puts it: " [the] generation humiliated by the pope in 1398 [is made up of] the fathers of those whom we later find reunited around Santa Francesca Romana."38 The networks of political and economic interests that united certain sectors of Roman men were accompanied by complimentary networks of women. After the political disenfranchisement of fathers, uncles, brothers, and husbands, these networks endured and manifested themselves dramatically in the community and cult of Francesca Bussa. Rarely are medieval sources so vociferous regarding women's experience as are Francesca's canonization processes (especially the first) and her vernacular Vita.39 Here we confront difficult childbirths, sick children, infertility, near tragic accidents, hunger, despair, and factional and family conflict. This is the world through which Francesca moved as a healer and a visionary . Wives and mothers are the ones approached her when crises struck, asking her, in essence, to do what they would do, only more powerfully.40 They are the ones who, long afterward, talked about what she had done, who privately and publically remembered. We hear very little about the fierce eddies of the political crises in Rome, with their accompanying violence, exiles, and executions. Instead we are given a rather wider river of life, one in which the heavens also are occasionally reflected. What if there had been municipal meetings? What if there had been chroniclers in this dark period of Roman history? What if the fathers had triumphed? What if the sons and brothers had told the story? No doubt the characters would have been the same, but the plot would have been altogether different. In the story of Santa Francesca Romana we observe a society reconstructing itself. Certainly this was also a function of the community founded by Francesca's circle. Having lost the civic footing that powerful husbands and fathers could provide, the widows and daughters formed an institution that was part clan, part confraternity, part convent. The collection of visions recorded by Francesca's confessor was instrumental in keeping her memory vivid and in shaping the identity of the community she left behind.4l Reading the visions out loud to each other was a regular practice of the pinzochere at Tor de' Specchi. Some of her visions were also illustrated: first in the 1450s in a series of panel paintings, three of which survive; and then among a series of frescos

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finished in 1468, which still adorn the small private chapel within Tor de' Specchi. One of the panels, which was later reproduced in a fresco, conflates two visions as recorded by Francesca's confessor (see fig. 2) 42 In the upper half of the panel, Francesca receives a blessing from the Virgin, who authorizes her desire to establish a lay community. Here the Virgin has assumed the role of the ancient bishops, whose blessings once had authorized the entrance of laywomen into a nonmonastic religious life. Francesca's petition to the Virgin is supported by three saints: the penitent Magdalen, Saint Paul, and Saint Benedict.

Mary Magdalen and Paul both had been latecomers to the religious life, both famous for dramatic conversion episodes, both convertiti. Saint Benedict would have been more familiar to Francesca as the struggling and demon-harassed hermit presented by the dialogues of Saint Gregory than as the author of a monastic rule. Besides, the Benedictine Rule in its original form had not required strict enclosure. Benedict could signify Francesca's own fierce night battles with the devil and her role as a founder; he could as well represent the monks of Santa Maria Nova in Rome who gave their blessing to her new foundation.43 In the lower portion of the panel, we see a scene from a second vision. Dogs and cats are interfering with a work of weaving. These Francesca understood as forces working against the successful establishment of the community; as in James of Vitry's anecdote, some of the gainsayers were clergy. In her vision, Francesca's guardian angel lifted the strands and assured her that the work she had begun would be finished. This image would have served as a reminder of the community's early struggles and would have offered reassurance when trouble recurredÑ which it did.

Within two decades families were trying to claim bequests left to the community by their family members, and the monks of Santa Maria Nova were trying to dictate the life of the growing congregation.44 Francesca's group shared with many other pinzochere a vulnerability to legal conflict and ecclesiastical interference.

Francesca's visions repeatedly allude to conflicts, persecutions, and misunderstandings that threatened the well-being of her own congregation from the outside.45 The 1440 canonization process shows that, on at least one occasion, another pinzochera, Caterina, the head of a house of Franciscan tertiaries in Rome, turned to Francesca when she was being "persecuted" so disruptively by a certain nobleman that, as she put it, "I cannot serve God . . . as I have chosen."46 Francesca advises Caterina to endure the persecution and predicts that Caterina will be "victorious" eventually. The

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processus states that the name of the persecutor will not be recorded because of "his power and his name." But a notarial act of August 6, 1438, is not so circumspect. From it we learn that a nobleman, Laurentius Ludovici Rapilatii, has had to offer a bond of 500 libre to secure his promise not to harass several neighboring groups of pinzochere (refered to as "religiose mulieres" by the notary), among whom we find Caterina's group.47 One has to wonder if encouragement and prophesy were all Francesca offered in this instance, or if she took some other private actionÑthrough her institutional or family connectionsÑwhich resulted ultimately in public legal action. Laurentius's 1438 bond, however, did not mark the end of Caterina's troubles. A letter dated January 20, 1451, from Pope Nicholas V to Caterina, then over sixty, informs us that she was still the head of a group of Franciscan tertiaries (three are named), that the group had refused to accept a stricter version of the Franciscan rule for women, and that they were currently involved in a heated battle with the Observant Franciscans of the Araceli. The Franciscans, without the authority to do so, had threatened to excommunicate the pinzochere if the women did not submit to their control. The friars seem to have used the "frivolous" behavior of certain younger members of the group and the authority of an earlier bull, issued by Eugenius IV, which they claimed gave them the right to take control of Caterina's community and change its rule, as a pretext for interference.48 The Franciscans interpreted cura not as service but as control, and for them control was most easily accomplished through enclosure, clausura. Pope Nicholas responded by praising Caterina's way of life, by declaring that Eugenius had been misinformed, that his bull was not applicable, and that the Franciscans were out of bounds in their threat of excommunication. This seems to have ended the trouble for a while. Caterina lived as a pinzochera until her death ten years later. Her community was still designated "open" in the period of Leo X, when it was designated to receive a free gift of salt from the papacy annually, and it survived as an open monastery well into the sixteenth century . As we have seen, tracing the identities of witnesses in Francesca's canonization processes not only leads back to fathers and the memory of a shared political crisis, it also leads out to other groups of pinzochere. In at least one case, the trail also leads to the birth or revival of the cult of another female saint, Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine.

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The Pinzochere of Sant'Agostino

During the period in which Francesca's group was struggling to get on its feet, the tomb of Monica was accidently uncovered in a ruined church in Ostia, the town near Rome where, as recorded in Augustine's Confessions, his mother had died and was buried. Through the efforts of an "unmarried, religious" woman named Giovanna, Pope Martin V authorized the ceremonial transport of Monica's remains in 1430. Working miracles in its wake, the holy body was borne on Palm Sunday up the Tiber to Rome, where it entered the church of San Trifone, adjacent to the church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits. The fifteenth-century sacristy records of the church of Sant'Agostino and numerous wills show that, from the beginning, the cult of Santa Monica in Rome remained largely in the hands of a group of pinzochere called variously "The Mantellate of Santa Monica," the "Society of Santa Monica," or "The Consorority of Santa Monica."49 The woman who might best be termed the founder of this association was named Margarita. She was the daughter of an affluent Roman notary and political activist, Thomas Bartellutii (sometimes spelled Martellucii), who had spent four years in exile in Florence for his role in the Roman municipal resistance to Boniface IX at the turn of the fifteenth century. Margarita not only emerges from the same general political backdrop as Francesca Bussa, but she also steps out several times as a witness during the 1451 canonization process of Francesca. There, she described herself as having a special relationship with Francesca and as a frequent visitor at the house of Francesca and her cosisters.50 On the witness stand, ecstasy, not politics, is what Margarita seemed most inclined to talk about.

[She] often observed Francesca rapt in ecstasy or mental elevation. She saw Francesca [in such a state] . . . once in her own [Margarita's] garden where she watched Francesca for two hours, on her knees, [first] saying the office, [and then] brought into ecstasy by contemplation.... Afterwards, having come back to herself, [Francesca] continued the office, praising God.5l

Rita lacobi Collucci, another pinzochera from Margarita's house, gave a similar account of Francesca's ecstasy after receiving communion. Mystical transport is also, perhaps not coincidentally, the subject of the

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most famous passage in which Augustine speaks of his mother, Monica. This passage in the Confessions became a touchstone of contemplative literature in the Middle Ages. It also received a prominent place in the new office written for the veneration of Monica after her rediscovery. In an additional comment, Rita lacobi Collucci echoes Augustine's own words as they appear at the conclusion of his account of the contemplative experience he shared with his mother.52 Augustine says: "in that day when we talked of such things, the world grew contemptible to us." Rita says of Francesca: "Whenever I talked with her, her words inflamed and led me to the love of God and the contempt of worldly things."53 Documents from the archive of Sant'Agostino show that, from 1430 onward, the cult of Monica and the church of Sant'Agostino became a major focus of benificence, not only for the pinzochere of Margarita's house, but for a number of other women, many of whom were widows or unmarried and who lived in similar kinds of households. In 1435 a woman named Giovanna, described as the spiritual daughter of Jacopo de Thedallinis, left property to Sant'Agostino and to seven women, one of whom, Maria of Genoa, is referred to as her sotia, her companion, a term frequently used to designate a companion in domestic reclusion. She also bequeathed a large sum for the completion of renovations of the fabric of Sant'Agostino, and requested burial in Sant'Agostino "at the foot of the cross that she has commissioned for the church."54 This Giovanna may well be the same "religious" woman whose efforts produced the translation of Monica. The term spiritual daughter could be a euphemism for illegitimate daughter. Confraternity records indicate that she was either an illegitimate daughter or a concubine of Jacopo.

Jacopo de Thedalinis was a Dominican cardinal who held a number of important offices in the papal curia.55 The records of the church and monastery of Sant'Agostino indicate close ties between prominent ecclesiastical figures and pinzochere. Many of these relationships were familial, while others seem to have been solidified in hospitals where both the men and women served, particularly the important papal hospital and hospice of Santo Spirito. One such example was Jacobella, daughter of Blasius Bartholomei de Tostis, who drew up her will in 1439.56 Jacobella was the niece of a canon of Saint Peter's Basilica, who, in his own testament (1421), had given generously to the Augustinian hermits, to several single women, and to his sister, who was also named an executor. Jacobella's own will presents her as "a noble and religious woman" and as one "of the sisters of penitence"

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of the order of Augustinian hermits. In it she asks to be buried in the church of Sant'Agostino "in the place which her spiritual mother, sister Margarita [Martellucii], will choose."57 Jacobella gives a house which she had received as part of her dowry to "the spiritual family" of Margarita Marteluucii with the specification that her executors (one of whom is Margarita) sell the house and spend a hundred florins of the proceeds on a breviary for the pinzochere. The remainder should go for another house that, she says, the spiritual family needs to buy. To "Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine," Jacobella leaves the ring with which she was engaged, requesting that the ring be sold to purchase silver lamps "to suspend and burn perpetually above the precious body of Saint MonicaÑprovided," Jacobella adds, "I have not seen to this commission during my lifetime." Despite the mention of an engagement ring, the will offers no other hint of a husbandÑdead or alive. This kind of omission is strange in a will and suggests that something might have gone wrong with the marriage. By way of postscript, thirty years later a female descendent of Jacobella, (Girolama de Tostis, would be the mistress of Sant'Agostino's richest patron, French Cardinal d'Estouteville.58 Among d'Estouteville's many achievements were the rehabilitation of Joan of Arc and the transformation of Sant'Agostino into the most splendid Renaissance church in Rome. D'Estouteville's titular church was not Sant'Agostino, but Santa Maria Maggiore. One cannot help but wonder if his decision to build his palace next to Sant'Agostino and then to lavish his patronage upon it did not have something to do with the woman whose family members had been long-time patrons of the parish. The gifts, large and small, of the pinzochere and other women associated with Sant'Agostino swamp the pages of the fifteenth-century sacristy inventories.59 Before 1437, a woman named Romanella had given the "consorority" of Santa Monica a cross for their altar; Herminia of Siena had given an altar covering for the altar of Santa Monica, a corporal and a paten for the chalice; and Thomasia Antoni, nicknamed Cocozze, made and donated a red pallium or banner for the "consorority" that bore the "sign" or emblem of the group and a striped piece of cloth running down the middle. As benefactors, such women take their place beside bishops, cardinals, priors, and important officials of the papal court. Their donations indicate an intimate involvement in the ceremonial life of the church and insured an ongoing association with the liturgical functions and physical fabric of Sant'Agostino.

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Veneration for Santa Monica was not the exclusive province of women. Sometime before 1449 the humanist and papal datary, Maffeo Vegio, enriched the cult with a bust of Monica, made of silver and decorated with enamel work and colored stones.

It would have been a more elaborate version of a stone bust of Catherine of Siena, which was enshrined with her body at the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva several blocks away. In the late 1440s or 1450s, Maffeo built a new chapel or, as he called it, "mausoleum," for the body of Monica. Here he would himself be buried in 1458. Finally, he commissioned the tomb for the body of Monica. Maffeo Vegio also composed what became the standard office for the liturgical feast of Santa Monica, selecting passages from Augustine's work in such a way that Monica emerges as calm, wise, pithy of speech, and unflappable.

Augustine, in contrast, appears racked by emotion, battling floods of feeling with torrents of words. Maffeo also wrote a devotional text, De perseverantia religionis, that he dedicated to his two sisters, whom he addresses in the work as Monica and Elisabeth.60 A major theme of this work is psychological trauma, spiritual crisis, and conflict. These are emotional states that Monica and Elisabeth aid, guide, and relieve. They are represented as a safe harbor, an asylum.6l Conflict, disgust, and fear, says Maffeo, have compelled him to "investigate the cause and the origin of such great change within me" and to do so by writing something for the benefit of his religious sisters.62 Tough times demand tough authors, he says. Ovid and Virgil are fine when things are easy; Augustine and Jerome will really get you through. It is worth noting that Maffeo does not imagine that the texts of Augustine, Jerome, or even his own quite elegant Latin prose will pose any problems for his sisters, either in acquisition or apprehension of this literature. He assumes a high level of literacy and ease of access. The archival documents of Sant'Agostino bear out this expectation, at least with respect to the pinzochere who made Sant'Agostino in Rome their devotional focus. Several wills and donations indicate a concern for, and the possession of, books. The monastic library of Sant'Agostino, which functioned as a lending library, could have supplied the pinzochere with texts in both Latin and the vernacular, and there are indications that it did. We also find the interesting example of a rather accomplished Augustinian hermit of the convent of Sant'Agostino in Rome, frater Augustininus, also a bishop, who in 1435 left all his books in Rome and France, not to his convent but to his sister, Maria, wife of Antonio Cecco.63

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Today, if one happens to stumble unobserved into the ancient cloister of Sant'Agostino (now the attorney general's office) one will discover two more clues about the cult and culture that thrived in fifteenth-century Sant'Agostino.

Here we find the tombs of Cardinal Jacopo Ammanati and his mother Costanza (d.

1477). Ammanati, a close friend and steady companion of Pope Pius ll, was a leading figure in both curial circles and groups of literati in Rome during the 1460s and 1470s. He is best known for his letters and his continuation of Pius lI's (Aeneas Piccolomini's) Commentaries. On the tomb of Costanza (see fig. 3), Ammanati has arranged to have his mother represented wearing the long mantle of pious laywomen. Above her stand Monica and Augustine. I think we can see from such evidence that Monica was not only a model of certain religious and feminine qualities, but also a model of a certain kind of relationship between men and women. Monica was a mother who accompanied her son during his ascendant ecclesiastical career. She participated in the regular theological discussion groups of Augustine's learned household. An adept in contemplation.ltion, she enabled Augustine to experience divine truths more directly. She took her eloquent son, literally, beyond words. The identity between Monica's own life and the pinzochere was clearly an important factor in enabling them to control such an important cult. In fifteenth-century Rome, the Augustinians held some of the most important positions in the papal curia, staffed the papal chapel, served as papal confessors and familiares, and ran the large papal hostel and hospital, Santo Spirito. The women of Sant'Agostino were clearly partners in many of these activities, enough so that I think we would be justified in viewing the role of many pinzochere as that of religious professionals. The warning of Francesco da Barberino that devout women should be careful with the information they learn when people confide or confess to them in church and the assertions of sixteenth-century Italian bishops that women should not be allowed to administer the sacraments, suggests that, at times, the boundaries separating the domains of official male and unofficial female religious professionals did blur. The women who emerge around the cult of Saint Monica indicate that, at times, women could, with honor, assume positions both complementary to and autonomous from professional male religious culture. I will conclude by suggesting that the success of the "open monastery" in Italy, where so many of the late medieval saints were laywomen, must have been related to the fact that such communities allowed for a conti-

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nuity with the other social roles women played. The ideal and idealized nun of a traditional convent was a daughter; rules were designed to keep her that way, virginal and dependent. Open monasteries enabled women to include and express many facets of themselves in a religious context: mother, sister, patron, midwife, pilgrim, counselor, even, perhaps, concubine.64 Although hard to come to terms with globally, individually these kinds of communities demonstrate institutional creativity. They show us the responsiveness of medieval and modern women to the social and spiritual needs of their societies and to needs of their own.


1. Graciela S. Daichman's Wayward Nuns in Medieual Literature (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986) gives numerous examples of satire; see especially chap.

2, "Moral and Satrical Literature." Generally, however, the author tends to take satire too literally. 2. Edith Pasztor, "I papi del Duecento e del trecentro di fronte alla vita religiosa femminile," in Il movimento religioso femminile in Umbria nei secoli XII-XIV, ed. Roberto Rusconi (citta di Castello: La Nuova Italia Editrice, 1984), 42; Micheline de Fontette, Les Religieuses a l'Age Classique du Droit Canon: Recherches sur les Structures luridiques des Branches Feminines des Ordres (Paris: Librarie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1967), 154. 3. For a recent work that reconstructs conventual life in medieval France with color and dimension, see Penelope D. Johnson, Equal in Monastic Profession: Religious Women in Medieval France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). 4. On the bastardy of women's houses, see de Fontette, Les Religieuses. In her fundamental study of female monasticism, de Fontette concludes that the tenuousness and potential mutability of the connection between an affiliated woman's house and its (male) order was a major determining factor in the history of female monasticism: " . . . la difficute a faire 'admettre' par leurs freres est le trait commun par excellence aux moniales de ce temps" (153). De Fontette also notes the monochromatic image of the cloister in many of her sources, particularly those narrated by a male administrative voice. When one considers the rules of covents, regardless of order, "they all have the same face" (154).

5. "Open" and "closed" were designations given to women's religious communities in Rome as they appear in a list of institutions that received an annual gift of salt from Pope Leo X in the early sixteenth century. See M. Armellini, "Un censimento della citta di Roma sotto il pontificato di Leone X, tratto da un codice inedito dell'Archivio Vaticano," Gli Studi in Italia V (1892): 69-84,

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161-93, 321-56, 481-519. "Closed" indicated those groups whose rules required the observance of clausura, or enclosure. The term open monasteries included religious associations or households that followed no widely recognized rule and also houses of tertiaries. The terms open and closed seem to have gained currency during the cinquecento, though the classifications they singled out had existed long before. For a definition of monasteri aperti, see Raymond Creytens, "La Riforma dei Monasteri Femminili," in Il Concilio di Trento e la Riforma Tridentina (Rome: Herder, 1963), 1:45-83. Creytens gives a sense of the atypicalness of clausura for the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, offering clear juridical and practical reasons why this was so. His discussion of "monasteri aperti" (47-48) is especially revealing in this regard. 6. For a very useful outline of the policy of the church regarding clausura, see James R. Cain, "Cloister and the Apostolate of Religious Women," Review for Religious 27, no. 2 (1968): 243-80; 27, no. 4 (1968): 652-71; 27, no. 5 (1968): 916-37; 28, no. 1 (1969): 101-21. My essay draws on the first published segment (vol. 27, no. 2), which treats the idea of cloister as expressed by the "legal mentality" of clerics from the fourth through the sixteenth century. For further bibliography regaring the subject of enclosure, see the introductory note prefacing the endnotes to Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg, "Strict Active Enclosure and Its Effects on the Female Monastic Experience (ca. 500-1100)," in Medieval Religious Women, vol. 1, Distant Fchoes, ed. John A. Nichols and Lillian Thomas Shank (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1984), 80. Both Cain and Schulenburg overestimate the effectiveness of papal decrees requiring enclosure of women's communities in the late Middle Ages, especially Boniface IX's constitution Pericoloso (1298).

Furthermore, they do not take into account the papal practice of exempting individual groups from legislation promulgated generally, or the frequency with which popes ignored or annulled the decisions of their predecessors. For more on this subject, see Katherine Gill, "Scandala: Controversies Concerning Clausura and Women's Religious Communities in late Medieval Italy," in Christendom and it Discontents, ed. Scott Waugh and Peter Diehl (Berkeley: University of California Press), forthcoming. On papal exemptions, see Jean-Francois Lemarignier, l'etudes sur les privileges d'exemption et de juridiction ecclesiastique des abbayes normandes depuis les origines jusqu'en 1140 (Paris: A. Picard, 1937). 7. David Herlihy, Opera Muliebria: Women and Work in Medieual Europe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990). Herlihy classifies pinzochere ("uncloistered religious") as working women and finds that they constitute the second largest group of working women in fifteenth-century Florence. In table 7.1, p. 159, "Occupations of Female Household Heads in Florentine Tuscany, 1427," pinzochere are closely followed in number by commesse, or female dependents of religious houses, who were quite similar to pinzochere. If combined, these

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"semireligious" women exceed the largest occupational category, that of servants.

Their average taxable incomes are surpassed only by innkeepers and wool merchants, and are about the same as furriers. Midwifery and medicine are two of the fields in which Herlihy surmises the Florentine pinzochere worked (162-66).

Houses of affluent pinzochere of the sort we find in Rome do not appear typical of Florence. In her historical novel, Romola, George Eliot casts her heroine, a follower of Savonarola, as a pinzochera. Romola runs a hospice in the ground floor of her house, but does not live in a community. 8. For the various designations for women recognized as living in a middle state between lay and religious, see Romana Guarnieri, "Pinzochere," Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione (Rome, 1980), 6:1722-24 (hereafter referred to as DIP). Not all pinzochere lived in communities; some lived alone. I have found pinzochera and bizoca (with variant spellings) used most frequently in Rome, and so will alternate between these two terms in this essay. See also Alfonso Pompei, "Terminologia varia dei penitenti," in ll Movimento francescano della penitenza nella societa medioevale, ed. Mariano D'Alatri (Rome: Instituto Storico dei Cappucini, 1980), 1 l-22. 9. The "openness" of some convents was often the direct result of the failure of male authorities to provide for and support adequately the communites they had rendered dependent by enclosure. Here, women dropped observance of clausura in order to survive: to handle their own affairs; to increase their income through teaching, agricultural enterprises, real estate management, textile production, or begging; to cultivate and maintain the bonds that connected them to their neighborhoods and towns. Pinzochere were very much aware that the obligation of clausura often resulted in impoverishment and abjection. They rejected the wall out of a desire to protect their personal and collective autonomy. Many pinzochere also were unwilling to forfeit the kind of active lives that women in failing convents had assumed out of necessity.

Finally, they viewed their work, often philanthropic, as socially and spiritually beneficial. 10. Creytens, "La Riforma," 62-77. 11. At the end of her study on women's monasticism and religious orders, de Fontette recognizes a diversity of women's religious communities she has left out; "lieux meme de la variete, rebelles a toute systematisation" (de Fontette, Les Religieuse, 153). 12. For the women who played a determining role in the lives of Jerome and Ambrose, see Jo Ann McNamara, "Muffled Voices: The Lives of Consecrated Women in the Fourth Century," in Nichols and Shank, Medieval Religious Women, 1:11-31; Elizabeth A.

Clark,Jerome, Chrysostom, and Friends (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1979); Elizabeth A. Clark, ed., Ascetic Piety and Women's Faith: Essays on Late Ancient Christianity (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986). The domestic monasticism, pilgrimages, ecclesiastical building proj-

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ects, hospices, and ascetic practices of these late antique women, who lived in an age before the cloister, became part of the fabric of liturgical readings and traditions associated with various sites in Rome. In this way, they remained available as models for women in Rome and elsewhere, as Carolyn Valone indicates in her essay later in this volume. For episcopal consecration of widows and virgins, see Rene Metz, La consecration des vierges dans l'eglise romaine: Etude d'histoire de la liturgie (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1954). 13.

The relatively fluid quality of monasticism in the early Middle Ages is summed up in Duane J. Osheim, "Conversion, Conversi, and the Christian Life in Late Medieval Tuscany," Speculum 58, no.2 (1983): 368-90. Osheim writes: "In the early Middle Ages it had been possible for the laity, even married couples, to convert, give themselves to God, and follow a monastic profession either at home or in a community. Some laymen voluntarily chose to adopt the penitential life required of public sinners, including a penitential habit, and retreat from public life, festivals and secular trades. lt is doubtless significant that in the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries conversion (to cenobitic monasticism or simply in vita et habitu sanctae conversationis) was not clearly defined, and the terms poenitentes, conversi, and relligiosi viri, were inextricably confused' (369). As we shall see, unstable nomenclature and a Babel of epithets continued to characterize nonmonastic forms of religious life through the sixteenth century.

14. See Guarnieri, "Pinzochere," 1744; Cain, "Cloister and the Apostolate," 243-80. 15. For the penitents, see the collected essays of G. G. Meersseman in Ordo fraternitatis: Confraternite e pieta dei laici nel medioevo, 3 vols. Italia sacra, nos. 24-26 (Rome: Herder, 1977). Meersseman documents an evolution of the "movement" into the various Third Orders in his Dossier de la ordre de la Penitence au XIIIe siecle, 2d ed. (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires Fribourg Suisse, 1982). Andre Vauchez, in an hommage to Meersseman, has emphasized that, even after the establishment by Nicholas IV of an "Order of Penitence" and the subsequent development of Third Orders, lay penitents were never completely contained by various efforts to organize them. See Andre Vauchez, "Ordo Fraternitatis; Confreres et piete des laics au Moyen Age," in Les laics au Moyen Age: Pratiques et experiences religieuses (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1987), 96. Although they concentrate on persons and groups who in some way can be linked to the Franciscan Order, the papers of three conferences organized by Mariano D'Alatri provide the point of departure for late medieval penitents in Italy; see L'Ordine della Penitenza di San Francesco d 'Assisi nel sec. XIII (Rome: Instituto Storico dei Cappuccini, 1973); I Frati penitenti di San Francesco nella societa del Due e Trecento (Rome: Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, 1977); 11 Movimento francescano della penitenza nella societa medioevale (Rome: Istituto Storico dei Cappuccini, 1980).

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Giovanna Casagrande offers a sound overview of the vast literature on penitence in her review note, "Il movimento penitenziale nei secoli del Basso Medioevo," Benedictina 30 (1983): 217-33. In English, see Osheim, "Conversion," 368-71. For the abiding power of penance as a cultural value in Renaissance Italy, see John Henderson, "Penitence and the Laity in Fifteenth-Century Florence," in Christianity and the Renaissance: Image and Religious Imagination in the Quattrocento, ed. Timothy Verdon and John Henderson (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990), 229-49. Henderson's essay deals only with male penitential confraternities. 16. Some historians have also included ecclesiastical efforts to embrace or discipline the penitential impulse when they treat the "penitential movement." In 1289, with the promulgation of the bull Supra montem, Nicholas IV placed the Italian penitents under obedience to the Franciscans. From this developed the Franciscan Third Order and the status of tertiary. Other religious orders also sponsored penitent individuals and groups.

Often lay groups, which began as patrons or partners with local religious institutions, later found themselves disenfranchised colonies within the empire of order or papacy. Papal, diocesan, and mendicant attempts to organize penitent groups into accountable members of an Ordo penitentiae did not uniformly touch all groups. At any rate, these efforts toward control could not keep up with three centuries of spontaneous penitential impetus and did not eradicate the lay character of the various manifestations of this long-lived "movement. " On this last point, see Vauchez, " Ordo Fraternitatis. " 17. This definition of the penitential mode of life comes from G. G. Meersseman, Dossier, 1. 18. The phrase women's religious movement was coined by Herbert Grundmann in his groundbreaking Religiose Bewegungen im Mittlelalter: Untersuchungen die geschichtlichen Zusammenhange zwischen der Ketzerei, den Bettelorden und der religiose Frauenbewegung im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1970). Grundmann used the term in reference to the marked increase in the number of women embracing voluntary poverty and seeking to live out a version of the vita apostolica. Grundmann focused principally on Northern Europe, and his phrase was initially associated with the Beguines of the Rhineland and the Low Countries. For the history of the Beguines, E. W.

McDonnell, The Beguines and Begards in Medieval Culture, with Special Emphasis on the Belgian Scene (rpt. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press,1954) is the standard work in English, but it is limited geographically and difficult in its density and structure. Walter Simons has written a very fine recent article that bibliographically and historiographically bridges the span since McDonnell; see Walter Simons, "The Beguine Movement in the Southern Low Countries: A Reassessment," Bulletin de l'lnstitut Historique Belge de Rome/Bulletin van het Belgisch Historisch Instituut te Rome 59 (1989): 83-105.

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19. Grundmann was the first scholar to underscore the decisive role of women in shaping religious culture in the last centuries of the Middle Ages. In the last fifteen years, scholars (almost exclusively Italian) have documented the extensive contours of the "women's religous movement" on the Italian peninsula.

See, for example, the early attempt to come to terms with the phenomenon in its various Italian forms and settings in Roberto Rusconi, ed., Il movimento religioso femminile in Umbria nei secoli XIII-XIV (Florence: "La Nuova Italia" Editrice, 1984); and Movimento religioso femminile e Francescanesimo nel secolo Xlll (Assisi: Societa Internazionale di Studi Francescani, 1980). 20. R. B. C.

Huygens, Lettres de Jacques de Vitry (Leiden: Brill, 1960), 75-76. 21. Gilbert of Tournai, Collectio de scandalis ecclesiae, ed. Ignaz von Dollinger, Beitrage zur politischen, kirchlichen und Kulturgeschichte (Vienna: Manz, 1882), 3:197. 22.

"Quando autem puella virginitatem suam custodire proposuit et parentes offerunt et maritum cum diviciis, conculcet et resputat . . . Sapientes autem . . . huius seculi, prelati scilicet seculares et alii maliciosi homines volunt eam interhcere et a bono proposito retraheredicentes: Hec vult esse beguina sic enim nominatur in Flandria et Brabancia; vel papalarda, sic enim appellatur in Francia; vel humiliata, sicut dicitur in Lombardia; vel bizoke, secundum quod dicitur in Italia; vel coquenunne, ut dicitur in Theotonia.... et ita deridendo eas et quasi infamando nituntur eas retrahere a sancto proposito" (Jacques de Vitry, quoted in Herbert Grundmann, Movimenti religiosi nel Medioevo, trans.

Maria Ausserhofer and Lea Nicolet Santini [Bologna: Mulino, 1980],374, n. 48; Grundmann cites de Vitry from Sermo ad virgines, ed. J. Greven, Historisches Jahrbuch 35 [1914]: 44ff.). 23. Sometimes women who lived reclusively were also called pinzochere. The term incarcerate, meaning the (self-) imprisoned women, is sometimes considered synonomous with pinzochere. San Bernardino of Siena praises the two aunts who raised him; one lived a contemplative life and was associated with the Augustinians, the other worked in a hospice and was associated with the Franciscans. They were both pinzochere. Generally, however, pinzochere carries a more public connotation. Their publicness is, in fact, the aspect of their lives for which they were most often criticized. 24. The historiography on pinzochere in Italy falls into two general categories: studies that seek and stress parallels between Northern European Beguines and the pinzochere; close-up studies of laywomen's groups in a single town or region, groups which usually have been selected out by reason of some association with a particular religious order (eg., Dominicans in Rome, Franciscans in Umbria, etc.). Guarnieri's "Pinzochere" provides the best swift introduction and overview. An influential champion of the comparative approach, Guarnieri has devoted a

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good part of her career to tracing links between the Low Countries, the Brabant, and Italy. Two especially useful collections of papers are C. Leonardi and E.

Menesto, eds., S. Chiara da Montefalco e il suo tempo (Florence: "La Nuova Italia" Editrice, 1985); R. Pazzelli and M. Sensi, eds., La beata Angelina da Montegiove e il movimento del Terz'ordine regolare francescano femminile (Rome: Analecta TOR, 1984). Anna Benvenuti Papi, who has studied the figure of the pinzochere in hagiography and literature, grapples with how the pinzochere came to shape the model of a female saint and how, in turn, the model, once codified, could serve as an instrument of control over pinzochere. See, for example, Anna Benvenuti Papi, "Frati mendicanti e pinzochere in Toscana, dalla marginalita sociale al modello di santita," in Temi e problemi nella mistica femminile trecentesca (Todi: Centro di Studi sulla Spiritualita medioevale, 1983), 109-35.

The pinzochere in central Italy are the subject of my forthcoming doctoral dissertation, "Penitents, Pinzochere, and Pious Laywomen: Varieties of Women's Religious Communities in Central Italy, ca. 1300-1520," Princeton University. 25.

Romana (,Guarnieri. "La Vita di Chiara da Montefalco e la pieta del 200: Prime indagini su un'ipotesi di lavoro," in Leonardi and Menesto, S. Chiara, 305-67.

26. Francesco da Barberino, Reggimento e costumi di donna, ed. G. Sansone, Collezione di "Filologia Romanza" (Turin: Loescher-Chiantore, 1957); " . . .

don't pawn yourself off as a philosopher or teacher, don't trick people who confide in you, and don't take away people's apprehensions about their sins" (202). Anna Benvenuti Papi, "Devotioni private e guida di coscienze femminili nella Firenze del Due-Trecento," Ricerche Storiche 16 (1987): 565-601. See also Herlihy, Opera Muliebria, 162-64. Herlihy points out that, after expressing a thoroughly skeptical view of uncloistered religious women, Francesco da Barberino inexplicably includes the idealized life of a young recluse named Amabile. 27.

Charles S. Singleton, ed., Canti carnascialeschi del Rinascimento, Scrittori d'ltalia no. 159 (Bari: Laterza, 1936), 121-23. 28. "Curo e medico ogni male, ogni firmita, so quarire doglie francese, ossa rotte, che fosse adombrato da qualche ombre cattiva, e multe altre infirmita. Non feci mai se non bene, e per far meglio me so' vestita de questo ordine de santo Francisco benedecto.... Ed io so' per servire a Dio, e perche so' intrata in questo ordine e factame delle convertite, non voglio fare piu male" (Marcello Craveri, Sante e streghe: Biografie e documenti dal XI V al XVII secolo [Milan: Feltrinelli Editore, 1980], 173). 29. Pio Paschini, La beneficenza in Italia e le Compagnie del del Divino Amore nei primi decenni del Cinquecento (Rome: F.I.U.C., 1925), 12. 30. The satiric map of the "Papal World" originally consisted of a series of sixteen plates that were created to accompany a text that was published inde-

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pendently, Histoire de la Mappe-Monde Papistique, en laquelle est declaire toute ce que est contenu et pourtraict en la grande Table, ou Carte de la Mappe-Monde (Geneva, 1566-67). There is a copy of this text without plates in Houghton Library at Harvard University. A complete series of the plates will soon appear in the Warburg Journal in the context of an article by Dror Wahrman. I am grateful to Dror Wahrman for sending me the typescript of his article, "From Imaginary Drama to Dramatized Imagery: The Mappe Monde Nouvelle Papistique, 1566-67," and for clarifying for me the various locations of the plates. The plate reproduced here as fig. 1 is one of fourteen now in the British Library, catalogued as c.160.c.7. Natalie Zemon Davis was the first to recognize what these plates were and that the two plates missing from the British Museum series could be found in the Bibliotheque publique et universitaire de Geneve. Segments of the Geneva plates were reproduced in Natalie Zemon Davis, "The Sacred and the Body Social in Sixteenth-Century Lyon," Past and Present 90 (1981): facing 57; the plates are briefly discussed on p. 69. I am indebted to Professor Davis for making her microfilm of this series available to me and for providing me with some of the background of the map. Finally, I am grateful to Moshe Sluhovsky, who first indicated to me that the Mappe Monde contained pinzochere, and has otherwise kept a beady eye out for pinzochere in far-flung source material. 31.

Cattle were the primary "cash crop" of medieval and Renaissance Rome. See Jean Claude Maire-Vigeur, "Classe dominante et classes dirigeantes a Rome a la fin du Moyen Age," Storia della citta I (1976): 4-26. 32. "The idea of women without a placeÑwithout a family or a convent to anchor them in societyÑwas extremely disturbing" (Herlihy, Opera Muliebria, 67). 33. Two studies give a panoramic view of uncloistered religious women in Rome; see Joyce Pennings, "Semi-Religious Women in Fifteenth-Century Rome," Mededelingen van het Nederlands Historisch Instituut te Rome, n.s. 12, 47 (1987): 115-45; Lino Temperini, "Fenomeni di vita comunitaria tra i penetenti francescani in Roma e dintorni," in Prime manifestazioni di vita comunitaria maschile e femminile nel movimento francescano della penitenza (12151447), ed. R. Pazzeli and Lino Temperini (Rome: Commissione Storica Internazionale T.O.R. [Terz'Ordine Regolare di S. Francesco], 1982), 603-53. 34. For the enormous bibliography regardingSanta Francesca Romana, see M.

Tagliabue, "Francesca Romana nella storiografia: Fonti, studi, biografie," in Una Santa Tutta Romana: Saggi e ricerche nel Vl centenario della nascita di Francesca Bussa dei Ponziani (1384-1984), ed. Giorgio Picasso (Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore: Edizioni "L'Ulivo," 1984), 199- 264; and the articles in that centenary volume. My subsequent discussion draws primarily from Giovanni Mattiotti, Vita di s. Francesca Romana scritta nell'idioma volgare di Roma del secolo XV con appendice di tre laudi nello stesso idioma da un codice inedito degli archivi della S. Sede, ed. and trans. Mariano

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1882); Placido Tommaso Lugano, ed., l processi inediti per Francesca Bussa dei Ponziani, 1440-1453 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1945); Lugano, "L'istituzione delle oblate di Tor de Specchi secondo i documenti," Rivista storica benedettina 14 (1923): 272-308; Arnold Esch, "Die Zeugenaussagen im Heiligsprechungsverfahren fur Santa Francesca Romana als Quelle zur Sozialgeschichte Roms im fruhen Quattrocento," Quellen und Forschungen aus italiens Arclliven und Biblioteken 53 (1973): 93-151; Esch, "Tre sante ed il loro ambiente sociale a Roma: S. Francesca Romana, S. Brigida di Svezia e S. Caterina da Siena," in Atti del Simposio internazionale Cateriniano-Bernardiniano, ed.

Domenico Maffei and Paolo Nardi (Siena: Academia degli Intronati, 1982), 89-120; Esch, "Santa Francesca Romana e il suo ambiente sociale a Roma," in Una Santa Tutta Romana, 33-55; Anna Esposito, "Santa Francesca e le comunita religose femminile a Roma nel secolo XV," in Culto dei santi, istituzioni e classi sociali in eta preindustriale, ed. Sofia Boesch Gajano and Lucia Sebastiani (Rome: Japadre, 1984), 537-62. 35. Lugano, I processi, ix. Francesca worked in the hospices and hospitals of Santa Cecilia, of Santo Spirito in Sassia, and of Campo Santo. But her main site of charitable activity was the hospital of Santa Maria in Cappella, very near the Ponziani household. This hospice was established by Andreozza and Cecilia Ponziani (Francesca's father- and mother-in-law). In 1391, it received the authorization of Boniface IX "pro usu et habitatione pauperum Christi." Francesca would have worked closely with doctors (several instances are mentioned in I processi) and clearly was regarded as a healer herself (I processi, ix-x). 36. Esch, "Santa Francesca Romana," 36. 37. This observation forms the basis of the discussion in Esch, "Die Zeugenaussagen." He pursues the discovery a little further in "Tre sante." 38. Esch, "Die Zeugenaussagen," 137-41; Esch, "Santa Francesca Romana," 45. 39. Our knowledge of Francesca derives from a biography and a vision collection compiled by her confessor, a chaplain in Santa Maria in Trastevere, from several investigations or processi conducted to determine her sanctity, and from a handful of papal letters, wills, and contracts. To a large extent, these various kinds of documentation corroborate each other. 40. Guy Boanas and Lyndal Roper have characterized Francesca as a "civic mother figure." See Boanas and Roper, "Feminine Piety in Fifteeth-Century Rome: Santa Francesca Romana," in Disciplines of Faith: Studies in Religion, Politics and Patriarchy, ed. Jim Obelkevich and Lyndal Roper (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), 182. Her "motherliness" was very much part and parcel of her public social role and her active engagement with her neighborhood and city. Concomitantly, she rejected the public and private roles of "wife." 41. For the visions, see Armellini, Vita di S. Francesca Romana; Mario Pelaez,

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"Visioni di S. Francesca Romana: Testo romanesco del secolo XV," Archivio della Societa romana di storia patria 14 (1891): 365- 409, 15 (1892): 251-73. Once the devil appeared to Francesca disguised as her confessor, Mattiotti. He said that he wanted to record "the great revelations and visions which God gives you." Furthermore, he promised to teach her how to write "a big book" for herself (Armellini, Vita di S. Francesca Romana, 255-56). 42. For the panel reproduced as fig. 2, .Santa Francesca Romana Clothed by the Virgin, see John Pope-Hennessy and Lawrence B. Kanter, rhe Robert Lehman Collection, vol. 1, Italian Paintings (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press,1987), 204-9; George Kaftal, "Three Scenes from the Legend of Santa Francesca Romana," Walters Art Gallery Journal 11 (1948): 50-61, 86. 43. Although the monks of Santa Maria Nova, a reformed Benedictine monastery, were responsible for the spiritual care of Francesca's community, an early papal document explicitly states that they did not have the authority to control them. As so often happened to women's communities, however, the pinzochere of Tor de' Specchi soon found themselves defending their independence from the monks' authority. By the 1460's, the monks were claiming the to discipline and punish the community.

44. For interference of monks who seek to "regere, . . . punire ac reformare" the women, see Valerio Cattana, "Santa Francesca Romana e i Monaci di Monte Oliveto," in Picasso, Una Santa, 403-43, esp. 424; and Lugano, "L'istituzione," 7. 45. In the initial papal recognition of the Tor de' Specchi group (1433), Eugenius IV gave his approval to the community. But to this approval he appended a strange clause stating that he did not give his approval to the "status" of the women. In 1436, Eugenius would revoked John XXII's Santa Romana, which had officially prohibited "open monasteries" of tertiaries. Eugenius's qualification and his policy shifts give a sense of the ambiguity of the position of open monasteries.

For the recognition, see Lugano, "L'istituzioni," 281, 284. For the revocation of Santa Romana, see Guarnieri, "Pinzochere." 46. Lugano, l processi, art. 122. 47.

This notarial act, found in the General Archives of the Augustinians in Rome (vol. C.10, fol. 79r) was first noted in Esposito, "Santa Francesca," 553- 54. Caterina appears in Lugano, l processi, article 122. 48. The bull referred to here is probably one in which Eugenius entrusted to the newly reformed Observant branch of the Franciscan Order the spiritual cura of "religious women of the first [!], second, third order or any other [!] order of Saint Francis," a phrasing that indicates the confusion of categories and designations among women's religious communities at the time. For a copy of this bull see the third appendix to Giovanna Casagrande, "Terziarie francescane regolari in Perugia nei secoli XIV-XV," in Pazzelli and Sensi, La beata Angelina, 437-92.

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Casagrande provides other examples of the observants' encroachment on lay women's communities in the mid-fifteenth century. This encroachment is probably the reason why one pious laywoman, when she founded an open monastery in Rome in 1461, specified that "no men and especially no friars" should have anything to do with the running of her religous house, adding, "this house is for women." For more on this, see K. Gill, "Penitents." 49. For the church and monastery of Sant'Agostino in general, see the frequently imprecise Margarita Breccia Fratadocchi, S. Agostino in Roma: Arte storia documenti (Rome: Editrice Del Caretto, 1979): 22-48, with bibliography. For a full and precise treatment of the church of Sant'Agostino in the fifteenth century see Meredith J. Gill, "A French Maecenas in the Roman Quattrocento: The Patronage of Guillaume d'Estouteville (1439-1483)" (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1991) . The Augustinians and the pinzochere of Santa Monica will be treated in greater depth in K. Gill, "Penitents." My subsequent discussion is primarily derived from documents pertaining to Sant'Agostino, one in the Archivio generale degli Agostiniani in Rome (AGA) and the other in the Archivio di Stato in Rome (ASR). For the time being see Esposito. "Santa Francesca," 549-52; Pennings, "Semi-Religious Women," utilizes the same sources as Esposito. For the various appellations of the pinzochere associated with Sant'Agostino, see ASR. S. Lucia in Selci 3678, busta 3, n. 2 (loose documents from 1449-1554). 50. In 1451, Margarita described her relationship with Francesca: "secum conversationem habuit specialem" (Lugano, l processi, 222). 51. Lugano, l processi, 321. 52. Lugano, l processi, 245. 53.

Augustine, Confessions, book 9, chap.10: " . . . illo die, cum talia loqueremur et mundus iste nobis inter verba vilesceret cum omnibus delectationibus suis" (St. Augustine's Confessions, trans. W. Watts [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1929], 2:52Ñ53). Rita: "presentia eius devota erat et quotiens secum loquebatur verba ipsius ipsam testem ad amorem Dei et seculi contemptum inflammabant et inducebant" (Lugano, l processi, 245). 54. For Giovanna's role in the translation of Santa Monica and her will, see K. Gill, "Penitents." 55. In the Liber anniversariorum (fol. 7r) of the Roman confraternity of the Raccomandati del Salvatore ad Sancta Sanctorum, Giovanna is registered as having left a bequest of 50 florins to the confraternity for anniversary prayers. Here she is referred to as "Giovanna fantescha de missere lacobo de Tedallinis." Fantescha could mean a variety of things, including concubine or servant. See Giulia Barone and Ambrogio M. Piazzoni, "Le piu antiche carte dell'archivio del Gonfalone (1267-1486)," in Le Chiavi della Memoria: Miscellanea in occasione del I centenario della Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica,

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ed. the Association of the Alumni of the Vatican Archive School (Vatican City: Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, 1984), 54 n. 1. For more on Jacopo de Tedallinis (d. 1415), canon of Saint Peters and papal cubicularius (chamberlain), see Le Chiavi, 54 n. 2. 56. Jacobella's testament is dated March 17, 1439, AGA S. Agostino, C.3, pergamene 9; cited in Esposito, "Santa Francesca," 550-51, 561 nn.73 and 74. Jacobella was from one of the most important families of the Campomarzio region. See Pasquale Adinolfi, La torre de' Sanguigni e S. Apollinare (Rome: Menicanti, 1863), 94ff. 57. In Francesca's canonization process, Margarita had not been referred to as either a "sister" or by any other religious title; neither was she associated with the Augustinians.

Rita, on the other hand, was designated "of the order of Saint Augustine." Here we have two women living in the same religious household, one of whom is designated by a religious title, albeit one that suggests she is an Augustinian nun, and the other, the leader of the group, Margarita, receives no title at all.

Many women who were pinzochere got lost in this way: either the lack of a title leaves them undistinquished from other laywomen, or the genenic use of soror or of the adjective religiosa or the hahit of designating them as "of " a certain religious ordermisleads us into assuming that they are nuns. 58. See Armando Schiavo, Il palazzo dello Cancelleria (Rome: Staderini, 1963), 41 n. 1.

D'Estouteville had five children with Girolama Tostis, who were adopted by his brother Robert. His son Girolamo married Ippolita Orsini. Women of the Orsini family were also patrons of the Santa Monica Chapel. For example, Maria Cenci, a near contemporary of Jacobella who had married into the Orsini family, gave generously to Sant'Agostino and supported at least three groups of pinzochere.

Her tombstone in Sant'Agostino showed her wearing the long mantle of the pinzochere (see K. Gill, "Penitents"). For d'Estouteville's career and his patronage of Sant'Agostino, see Anna Esposito Aliano, "Testamento e inventari per la ricostuzione della biblioteca del cardinale Guglielmo d'Estouteville," in Littera Antiqua, vol. 1, pt. 1, Scrittura, Biblioteche e Stampa a Roma nel Quattrocento: Aspetti e Problemi, ed. C. Bianca, P. Farenga, G. Lombardi, A. G.

Luciani, and M. Miglio (Vatican City: Scuola de Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica, 1980),309-42; M. Gill, "The Patronage of Guillaume d'Estouteville." 59. For the following information see ASR, Agostiniani in S. Agostino, reg. 34.1 am grateful to Meredith Gill for helping me cull the gifts of the mantellate from this volume. 60. The October 23, 1511, edition of De perseverantia religionis announces that the work had been written in 1430 (interestingly, the date of Monica's translation). However, in the body of the text (in the introduction) the date and place of writing are given as Rome, 1447: "apud S. Petrum idus lunii MCCCC

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XLVII." A copy of this early printed edition is in the Vatican Library and bears the call number R.G. Miscell. IV.I 19. 61. De perseverantia religionis (1511), fol. la. 62. "Now I have come down to exhorting sisters, instructing women, and teaching virgins": "nunc ad exhortandas sorores; ad instruendas feminulas, ad docendas virgunculas descenderim" (De perseverantia religionis [1511], fol. 1a).

We are probably to understand feminulas and virgunculas as terms of affection.

Vegio also speaks of delirium, a soul frightened to death, and disdain for priesthood. We are entering, here, the same human terrain as that which the processi of Francesca spread before us. 63. For the library of Sant'Agostino, see Anna Esposito, "Centri di aggregazione: La biblioteca agostiniana di S. Maria del Popolo," in Una pontificato ed una citta: Sisto IV (1471-1484) (Rome: Associazione Roma nel Rinascimento, 1986), 569-97. For the books of fra Agostino, see K. Gill, "Penitents." 64. Carolyn Bynum, has noted the differences between men and women's religious experiences as conveyed through ritual and saints lives; see Bynum, "Women's Stories, Women's Symbols: A Critique of Victor Turner's Theory of Liminality," in Fragmentation and Redemption: essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (new York: Zone Books, 1990), 27-52.

Bynum observes that men's rituals and holy biographies tend to emphasize crisis, radical reversal, and social reintegration; women's rituals and stories, on the other hand, tend to emphasize continuity or to intensify the most common features of women's normal experience. It is not surprising, then, that the institutions created by women would not have rigid boundaries and would enable women to continue in many of their normal roles. Santa Francesca is able to mother an entire city; her companions, deprived of male protection, were able to continue the role of leading matrons from within the security of an honorable institution.

In the neighborhood of Sant'Agostino, the female relatives and supporters of important members of the papal curia were able, like Monica, to maintain their familial and emotional bonds and to share the benefits of ecclesiastical power.