Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sposa Di Cristo: Mistica E Comunità Nei Ratti Di Caterina de'Ricci. Con Il Testo Inedito del XVI Secolo

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sposa Di Cristo: Mistica E Comunità Nei Ratti Di Caterina de'Ricci. Con Il Testo Inedito del XVI Secolo

Article excerpt

Sposa di Cristo: Mistica e comunità nei Ratti di Caterina de'Ricci. Con il testo inedito del XVI secolo. By Anna Scattigno. [Temi e testi, Vol. 88- "Scritture nel chiostro."]. (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura. 2011. Pp. xiv, 274.638,00 paperback. ISBN 978-88-6372-268-0.)

Caterina de'Ricci (1522-90), prioress of the Dominican convent of San Vincenzo in Prato, was famous during her lifetime for her visionary raptures and ecstasies of the Passion. Like many other religious women in sixteenth- century Italy, she venerated the Dominican prophet Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98); indeed, she was the only female Savonarolan visionary to be pro- claimed as a canonized saint (in 1746). Caterina's life and the variegated testi- monies of her mystical spirituality have been studied mostly by Dominican his- torians, notably by Domenico Di Agresti. Drawing on Di Agresti's studies, but influenced by recent historiographical approaches to female monasticism and early-modern women's writing and mysticism,Anna Scattigno has devoted sev- eral important essays in the last couple of decades to Caterina and her reli- gious community. Sposa di Cristo: Mística e comunità nei Ratti di Caterina de'Ricci includes revised versions of these essays, followed by a critical edition of codex 2363 of the Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence) that contains Caterina's Ratti CRaptures")-accounts of her ecstatic visions as recorded by her fellow nuns and later redacted by SisterTommasa Martelli in 1583.

Scattigno's edition of the Ratti reveals new facets of Caterina's promotion of Savonarolan devotion.Thus we learn that Caterina described her visionary contacts not only with Savonarola but also with Iacopo da Sicilia (c. 1462-1530)-who had played a crucial role in the initial formation of Savonarola's cult-and confirmed his soul's ascension to heaven (pp. 257-59). The Ratti also attest to convents' contribution to the Tuscan silk industry, by describing Caterina's repeated prayers to Savonarola that he increase her productivity and enable her to work "like the other nuns" (p. 174). A striking document incorporated into the Ratti is the testimony given by Sister Maria Gabriella Mascalzoni, who recounts her initial doubts about Caterina's divine gifts until she once looked at her and saw "not the face of Sister Caterina, but [that] of Jesus" (p. …

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