Autobiography of an Aspiring Saint

Paperback | December 15, 1996

byCecilia Ferrazzi

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Charged by the Venetian Inquisition with the conscious and cynical feigning of holiness, Cecelia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) requested and obtained the unprecedented opportunity to defend herself through a presentation of her life story. Ferrazzi's unique inquisitorial autobiography and the transcripts of her preceding testimony, expertly transcribed and eloquently translated into English, allow us to enter an unfamiliar sector of the past and hear 'another voice'—that of a humble Venetian woman who had extraordinary experiences and exhibited exceptional courage.

Born in 1609 into an artisan family, Cecilia Ferrazzi wanted to become a nun. When her parents' death in the plague of 1630 made it financially impossible for her to enter the convent, she refused to marry and as a single laywoman set out in pursuit of holiness. Eventually she improvised a vocation: running houses of refuge for "girls in danger," young women at risk of being lured into prostitution.

Ferrazzi's frequent visions persuaded her, as well as some clerics and acquaintances among the Venetian elite, that she was on the right track. The socially valuable service she was providing enhanced this impresssion. Not everyone, however, was convinced that she was a genuine favorite of God. In 1664 she was denounced to the Inquisition.

The Inquisition convicted Ferrazzi of the pretense of sanctity. Yet her autobiographical act permits us to see in vivid detail both the opportunities and the obstacles presented to seventeenth-century women.

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From Our Editors

Financially unable to enter the convent, Cecilia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) refused to marry, and as a single laywoman set out in pursuit of holiness. Eventually, she improvised a vocation: running houses of refuge for young women at risk of being lured into prostitution. Despite the socially valuable service she was providing, not everyone ...

From the Publisher

Charged by the Venetian Inquisition with the conscious and cynical feigning of holiness, Cecelia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) requested and obtained the unprecedented opportunity to defend herself through a presentation of her life story. Ferrazzi's unique inquisitorial autobiography and the transcripts of her preceding testimony, expertly tra...

From the Jacket

Financially unable to enter the convent, Cecilia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) refused to marry, and as a single laywoman set out in pursuit of holiness. Eventually, she improvised a vocation: running houses of refuge for young women at risk of being lured into prostitution. Despite the socially valuable service she was providing, not everyone ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:136 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:December 15, 1996Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226244474

ISBN - 13:9780226244471

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Series
List of Abbreviations
Introduction
The Other Voice
Roman Inquisition and Venice
Purity and Danger
Writing and Speaking
Power and Obedience
Pretense
Aftermath
Note on the Translation
Testimony of Ferrazzi Preceding Her Autobiography
First Interrogation
Second Interrogation
Third Interrogation
Fourth Interrogation
Autobiography of Cecilia Ferrazzi
Appendix 1- Persons Mentioned in the Text
Appendix 2- Places Mentioned in the Text
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

From Our Editors

Financially unable to enter the convent, Cecilia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) refused to marry, and as a single laywoman set out in pursuit of holiness. Eventually, she improvised a vocation: running houses of refuge for young women at risk of being lured into prostitution. Despite the socially valuable service she was providing, not everyone was convinced that she was a genuine favorite of God. Denounced to the Venetian Inquisition in 1664, she requested and obtained the unprecedented opportunity to defend herself through a presentation of her life story.