The Female Lay Saint before 1289
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.
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