Academic journal article Magistra

Spirituality, Gender and the Self in Renaissance Italy: Angela Merici and the Company of St. Ursula (1474-1540)

Academic journal article Magistra

Spirituality, Gender and the Self in Renaissance Italy: Angela Merici and the Company of St. Ursula (1474-1540)

Article excerpt

Querciolo Mazzonis. Spirituality, Gender and the Self in Renaissance Italy: Angela Merici and the Company of St. Ursula (1474-1540) (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 247 pages, paperback, $35.95, ISBN 978-0-8132-1490-0.

Angela Merici is well known in the history of women's religious communities for her founding of the Company of St. Ursula. Although the Ursulines would later join the ranks of mainstream apostolic sisterhoods, the original organization and intention was something quite different. The company was an association of virgins who lived in the world and assisted each other spiritually, socially and financially. Those who had assets kept them, jobs were arranged for those who needed them, and a network of widows managed, supervised and spiritually mentored those who chose to become part of the band of virgins.

The details of the life of their charismatic leader and of her community as presented in this book are fascinating. This, however, is only a small portion of the contents of the study. The information serves as an access point into the even more fascinating world of late medieval/renaissance women's spirituality.

The bulk of the book is devoted to how these women fit into (or didn't) the roles of women in Italian society. …

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