By Stephen Haliczer

In the future in 1599, within the Spanish village of Saria, seven-year-old Maria Angela Astorch fell ailing and died after gorging herself on unripened almonds. Maria's sister Isabel, a nun, got here to view the physique together with her mom stronger, an ecstatic mystic and visionary named Maria Angela Serafina. conquer via the sight of the lifeless girl's blameless face, Serafina started to pray fervently for the go back of the kid's soul to her physique. getting into a trance, she had a imaginative and prescient during which the Virgin Mary gave her an indication. instantly little Maria Angela began to convey indicators of existence. A second later she scrambled to the floor and used to be quickly restored to excellent health and wellbeing. throughout the Counter-Reformation, the Church used to be faced via a unprecedented upsurge of female spiritual enthusiasm like that of Serafina. encouraged by means of new translations of the lives of the saints, religious girls in all places Catholic Europe sought to mimic those ''athletes of Christ'' via extremes of self-abnegation, actual mortification, and devotion. As within the heart a while, such women's piety frequently took the shape of ecstatic visions, revelations, voices and stigmata. Stephen Haliczer deals a entire portrait of women's mysticism in Golden Age Spain, the place this enthusiasm used to be approximately a mass circulate. The Church's reaction, he indicates, used to be welcoming yet cautious, and the Inquisition took at the activity of winnowing out frauds and imposters. Haliczer attracts on fifteen situations introduced by way of the Inquisition opposed to ladies accused of ''feigned sanctity,'' and on greater than dozen biographies and autobiographies. the major to popularity, he unearths, lay within the orthodoxy of the woman's visions and revelations. He concludes that mysticism provided ladies how to go beyond, even though to not disrupt, the keep an eye on of the male-dominated Church.

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Diego de Alcalá, however; through his influence the cases of three other friars had been moved before the Congregation of Rites. Championing the saint cults of a particular city was also an obvious way for the monarchy to maintain good relations with local elites who had an interest in strengthening the role of their cities as centers of religious devotion at a time when many of them were losing their commercial and manufacturing base. The impact of Spain’s economic and demographic crisis was nowhere more apparent than in Toledo, which saw its population decline from a peak of 54,665 in 1591 to 25,000 in 1646, while its vital silk industry lost more than four-fifths of its capacity.

She became fluent in Latin and wrote spiritual works, treatises, and explanations of spiritual texts in both Latin and German. Her vernacular works are unfortunately lost, and what remains are two Latin works, the Legatus divinae pietatis, commonly translated as Herald of God’s Loving Kindness, and The Exercises. The latter work is a series of exercises dealing with the best way to lead a Christian life, the responsibilities of persons leading a life consecrated to God, and the way in which a Christian should prepare for death.

Speech was also evaluated much more carefully, even if it did not contain any serious heterodox tendency. 2 But punishment by itself was not enough to produce conformity; the desire to conform had to be created through a process of education and indoctrination. For the clergy, both secular and regular, this process involved a gradual but persistent effort to improve educational standards, which included the establishment of seminaries and the dramatic expansion of educational opportunities within the religious orders.

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