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The Lay SaintCharity and Charismatic Authority in Medieval Italy, 1150-1350$
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Mary Harvey Doyno

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740206

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740206.001.0001

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Classifying Laywomen

Classifying Laywomen

The Female Lay Saint before 1289

(p.127) Chapter 4 Classifying Laywomen
The Lay Saint

Mary Harvey Doyno

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines female lay saints, looking at the cults of Ubaldesca of Calcinaia (d. 1205) and Rose of Viterbo (d. 1251). The comparison between Ubaldesca's and Rose's conversion stories, as well as the trajectories of their cults, illustrates that what mattered most in the creation of the cult of the female lay saint in communal Italy was institutional affiliation and identity. Rose's early cult did not take off precisely because she did not have the institutional affiliation critical for the cults of female lay saints in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. She was not a conversa or lay associate of an established monastic house; nor was she a lay penitent whom the mendicant friars were interested in cultivating. Thus, Alexander IV's translation of Rose's body was more likely an effort to appease the Viterban Poor Clares who were concerned about the competition Rose's cult could potentially present for their own house, rather than evidence that the papacy was working to promote Rose's memory and reputation. In contrast, Ubaldesca's identity as a lay associate of S. Giovannino and Frate Dotto's early patronage offered her cult institutional as well as male legitimacy.

Keywords:   female lay saints, Ubaldesca of Calcinaia, Rose of Viterbo, institutional affiliation, identity, lay associates, lay penitents, papacy, cults, male legitimacy

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