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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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Margaret of Cortona

Margaret of Cortona

Between Civic Saint and Franciscan Visionary

(p.197) Chapter 6 Margaret of Cortona
The Lay Saint

Mary Harvey Doyno

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the cult of Margaret of Cortona (d. 1297). Although the Roman church would not canonize Margaret of Cortona until 1728, both the community of lay penitents with whom she had lived at the church of San Basilio and Cortona's commune wasted no time in establishing, managing, and developing her cult in the generation after her death in 1297. The source that offers the most extensive account of Margaret's life in Cortona and the beginnings of her cult is the Legenda de vita et miraculis Beatae Margaritae de Cortona. This account of Margaret's life from the time she arrived in Cortona until her 1297 death was written by her Franciscan guardian and confessor, Giunta da Bevegnati, and survives in only three medieval copies. One result of Giunta's complex agenda in writing the Legenda—moving from checking Margaret's sincerity and orthodoxy to celebrating her Franciscan-identified sanctity—was the creation of a new model of an ideal lay life: the lay visionary. Giunta stakes his most powerful claims for Margaret's sanctity on the content, fervor, and results of her internal religious life.

Keywords:   Margaret of Cortona, lay penitents, Giunta da Bevegnati, sanctity, lay life, lay visionary, religious life, Franciscan Order

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