Autobiography of an Aspiring Saint by Cecilia Ferrazzi

By Cecilia Ferrazzi

Charged via the Venetian Inquisition with the wakeful and cynical feigning of holiness, Cecelia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) asked and received the remarkable chance to guard herself via a presentation of her existence tale. Ferrazzi's designated inquisitorial autobiography and the transcripts of her previous testimony, expertly transcribed and eloquently translated into English, let us input an unexpected quarter of the previous and listen to 'another voice'—that of a humble Venetian lady who had striking studies and exhibited unparalleled braveness. Born in 1609 into an artisan kinfolk, Cecilia Ferrazzi desired to turn into a nun. while her mom and dad' dying within the plague of 1630 made it financially most unlikely for her to go into the convent, she refused to marry and as a unmarried laywoman set out in pursuit of holiness. ultimately she improvised a vocation: operating homes of shelter for ''girls in danger,'' younger women vulnerable to being lured into prostitution. Ferrazzi's widespread visions persuaded her, in addition to a few clerics and pals one of the Venetian elite, that she used to be on track. The socially worthwhile provider she was once delivering more desirable this impresssion. now not everybody, despite the fact that, was once confident that she used to be a real favourite of God. In 1664 she used to be denounced to the Inquisition. The Inquisition convicted Ferrazzi of the pretense of sanctity. but her autobiographical act allows us to work out in brilliant aspect either the possibilities and the stumbling blocks offered to seventeenth-century girls.

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In fact, Inquisition courts offered by far the best criminal justice available in early modern Europe. Procedural rules mandated by central directorates, spelled out in manuals, and rigorously enforced through close supervision of functionaries in the field required the keeping of verbatim transcripts, provided counsel for those accused, and allowed them to mount a defense. " Ferrazzi, for instance, was never tortured, and she ran no risk of being put to death. Therefore, although no responsible person in the late twentieth century would endorse the objectives of the Holy Office, we know enough about its operations to refrain from equating them with those of modern totalitarian dictatorships.

Other members of the tribunal included the papal nuncio or his auditor, the patriarch of Venice or his vicar general, and one or more of the Tre Savio Support personnel were also regularly present, including the procurator fiscal and the chancellor, who were appointed by and responsible to the inquisitor. In Venetian trial transcripts, these other officials almost never open their mouths. To infer that the inquisitor's colleagues were mere silent presences in the courtroom, however, would be a mistake.

And I go for a day or two without eating, drinking only large flasks of water," and she made a sign indicating a flask costing one or two lire. IIAnd after that day or two has passed and I eat (because I must obey, although as far as I'm concerned, almost immediately I'd prefer not to eat so as not to suffer), I throw It up, painfully and sometimes with blood, and the harder I try to hold down the food, the more I vomit blood. "When the convent of Santa Teresa first opened at San Nicolo, I went there, but then I discovered that I was suffering from the stone, to and there- fore I had to leave in order to seek a cure for this malady; at that time its nature was unknown, but it was diagnosed 8 Upon taking charge of new confessands, confession covenng their entire lrves spintual during the medical treatments.

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