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best to mention that the convent known by her name is not that in which her religious life was spent. She was only taken there after her death. Her monastic life was passed in the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated in the Florentine suburb of San Frediano, a low-lying part of the city, and at the present day inhabited by the lowest and the roughest class of its citizens. The convent, renowned for the possession of Perugino's Calvario, has, as I have said, been secularised. Hence the relics of the Saint had to bear a second removal, this time to a large, raw, new building on the Piazza Savonarola, one of the new Florentine squares, where the ousted nuns have built a modern restingplace for themselves, and the relics of their beloved foundress. The reason why the first move was effected is curious and interesting. It was in 1628 that the change took place, by virtue of a brief issued by Pope Urban VIII., and for the reason that two nieces of his own were nuns in the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which he learned from the report of Cardinal Barberini was so unhealthy, that he resolved they should no longer be exposed to such danger to life and wellbeing. He therefore ordered the nuns to leave the building, offering at the same time to defray the expenses of the construction of a new one in a better situation. This little incident proves that hygiene was not quite so much disregarded in those days as we are apt to believe. But here comes in an amusing incident. It seems the Pope was dissuaded from his idea of constructing a new building for his nieces ; so he advised them instead to enter into negotiations with the Cistercian monks in possession of a building in Borgo Pinti, to cede to them their convent, and to go in their place to the convent of the Angeli, from which they, nota bene, were escaping because of its unhealthiness. The monks, not much impressed by this instance of brotherly love and Christian charity, were unwilling to yield, and perhaps would not have done so but for the fact that the nuns were protected and backed up by the Pope. They asked, however, as an addition, the large sum of 38,000 scudi as indemnification, as well as the famous abbey of Spineto in the province of Siena, in order that they might have a place to which to retire for the purpose of recruiting their strength, should this be threatened by the San Frediano site. It is not to be wondered at that the monks exacted a lage indemnification for this exchange, if for no other reason than that their convent, besides being of vast extent, possessed many artistic treasures. Besides the famous VOL. 85 (V.-NEW SERIES).

NO. 503.


Calvario of Perugino, there were works by Lorenzo di Credi, Ghirlandajo, Roselli, and other noted Tuscan and Umbrian painters. In any case, by stratagem, wile or persuasion, the exchange was effected. It now became necessary to re-name the convent, which up

to that date had been inhabited by friars of a male order. The recent elevation of Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, one of their Sisters, to the rank of saint, made a natural and happy pretext for dedicating the new convent to her, and hence it was decided it should bear her name. This canonisation of the saintly nun followed only twenty-five years after her death, a most unusual event, being the shortest period on record known to have elapsed between death and.canonisation, for as a rule, Rome very wisely permits to itself plenty of time to see how the saintly reputation wears, and to make sure that this elevation of one person above their fellows is not due to personal prejudice or family interests, for Italian families, especially noble ones, are always anxious to have a saint among them, it being looked on as a special patent of nobility. Indeed, though Santa Maria Maddalena fully deserved the honour accorded to her, private interest did work in her case, as regards at least the brevity of time in which her canonisation was accomplished. The shortness of the period was probably largely due to the fact that the reigning Pope Urban VIII. was a Tuscan by birth, because the pontiffs of the time were ever anxious, not only to add as many saints as possible to the calendar, but desired that as many of these blessed ones as possible should come from their own part of the country. Hence the Holy Father may have strained a point in favour of Sister Maria Maddalena on account of her noble Tuscan birth. The process or trial to which all candidates for canonisation are subjected, in which every incident of their lives is examined and criticised most minutely, was in her case attended with no difficulty whatever, so holy and blameless was her record. The devil's advocate could find no cause against her. Her claims to beatification were held to be stronger, by the fact that her mortal body had remained uncorrupted, and in fact the body shows even now no signs of putrefaction. Magnificent festivities and sumptuous religious functions attended the proclamation of the Saint's beatification. Every possible honour was done to her memory. Strange indeed is it to think of glorious pageants enacted in the name of one who, during her life was so devoutly humble, that she considered herself inferior to the least distinguished of the Sisters

of her Order. At the time of her canonisation, a miraculous multiplication of the oil store in her convent was said to have taken place. This oil not only worked most wonderful cures, but also restored to purity and cleanliness wine and eggs that had gone bad, besides increasing the store of food in the convent

in other ways.

* This seraphic virgin,' as Pietro Cepani, her biographer, styles her, was the daughter of Signor Cammillo di Geri dei Pazzi, and of Signora Maria di Lorenzo Buondelmonte. The first Pazzi known in the history of Florence, is Pazzo dei Ranieri, who is said to have left for Palestine, in 1088, at the head of 2500 Florentines; and after performing prodigies of valour, to have been the first to plant the banner of the Cross on the walls of Jerusalem. But it is very doubtful whether the Italians arrived in the Holy Land in 1088 in time for the siege of Jerusalem, and it is believed that this tradition grew out of the fact which occurred the year following, when the Tuscans, under the leadership of Pazzo, distinguished themselves against the Sultan of Egypt, and one of them climbed the wall of Damietta. For this Godfrey de Bouillon conferred upon Pazzi, the leader, some stones taken from the Holy Sepulchre, which were held as sacred. They were presented by Pazzo to the Florentine Republic, which caused them to be placed in the church of San Biagio, where they remained till quite recently. Every year on Holy Saturday the parish priest strikes fire from one of these stones, and relights with them the everlasting lamp that hangs before the crucifix, and which is extinguished on the eve of Holy Thursday, for no light burns in any Catholic Church during the hours when Jesus was laid in the sepulchre. From this light is then taken the light for the high altar of the Cathedral. It is rekindled during the singing of the Gloria, at which moment all the church bells of the city, which have been silent for forty-eight hours, begin to ring, and there is also lighted, by means of a mechanical dove which starts from the high altar, a car full of fireworks, standing outside the principal gate of the Cathedral. This ceremony is known to all Florentines as the Scoppio del Carro. This car, which is ornamented with dolphins, the arms of the Pazzi, is drawn to its place from the stables where it abides the whole year round, by two fine white oxen adorned with garlands and bright ribbons. The whole has the look of a pagan sacrificial car. When nearly all the fireworks are popped off, the oxen are once more attached, and the car drawn to the Canto dei Pazzi in order that it may discharge its last contents in front of the palace of the founder of this ancient Florentine fête. The custom is kept up to this hour, with this sole difference, that while in former days the priest carried the light from his church to the Duomo in a large lantern to the sound of drums, he now carries it simply in procession. The ceremony is one of the most popular festivals of the year in the city of Flowers. The peasants come into the town in shoals to attend it, for they believe that the good or ill success of the passage of the artificial dove which carries the light to the fireworks, foretells the good or ill success of their crops for the ensuing year. It is always witnessed by enthusiastic crowds who greet with shouts the success of the experiment, with groans, sighs, and tears, its failure. Queen Victoria, during her visit to Florence, was present at this ceremony, which she saw from the windows of the Bigallo or Orphan Asylum, the beautiful Gothic porch of which stands at the head of the Via Calzajoli, or Stocking Maker's Street, and which is such a familiar feature in the views of the city. The next appearance in history of the Pazzi family, is on the occasion of their world-renowned conspiracy against the Medici family, which is always called after their name, and in which Lorenzo de Medici, known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, so nearly perished, and his young brother Giuliano was killed.

The Pazzi family, which still exists in Florence, is descended from the third son of a grandson of Pazzo the Crusader. Buondelmonte, too, is a name familiar in Florentine history, and has been immortalised by Dante, who points out how much happier it would have been for Florence had this family never entered its gates, for through their cause arose that fierce fight between Guelph and Ghibelline that rent the cities of Italy asunder. The sad tale of the unlucky lover of the daughter of Acciajoli is known to readers of Rogers' Italy,' by the poem he has written on the incident, and by the lovely illustration by Stothardt which heads it. The house of Buondelmonte became extinct in 1845.

Our Saint was, therefore, the issue of two illustrious lines. Her birth occurred in Florence, April 2, 1566, at a date when the great days of the Republic were over, but when, nevertheless, the town under the rule of Cosimo II. was still strong and prosperous.

She was christened Caterina. From her earliest childhood, gentleness and obedience characterised her, and she soon showed a strong tendency to meditation and devotion. When she was ten years old she took her first Communion, at

which time she bound herself at her own instigation to a vow of perpetual virginity. At fourteen she was left by her parents, who were obliged to quit Florence (her father having been appointed Governor of Cortona), in the charge of the nuns of St. John of Malta. Here her conduct was of the most exemplary description, and here she seems first to have been seized with one of those trances or ecstasies, in which so large a portion of her after-life was spent. According to the account given by those who beheld her, her face became exceedingly beautiful in colour and expression when she fell into these raptures, and while thus rapt, she would utter aloud certain meditations or rather improvisations which were eagerly noted down by nuns appointed for the purpose. She herself had no remembrance of them when she returned to her senses, and when the words which had been taken down from her lips were read to her, she did not recognise them as her own. At the time of her residence in the convent of St. John, her health gave her parents some uneasiness. So she was removed from the convent on their return to Florence, and sent to a villa in the country, where she pursued a tonic regime prescribed by the physicians. At the age of sixteen, hearing that her father was thinking of seeking a husband for her, she quietly but firmly informed him that she was ready to have her head cut off, sooner than break the vow she had made at her first Communion. Soon after this, she openly declared her intention of devoting herself to a religious life. As she was an only daughter, her parents were at first most unwilling to consent to her wish, but eventually they gave in, recognising that it was useless to combat her resolution. She chose for herself thể convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in San Frediano, on account of the extreme strictness of its rule. After she was accepted as a postulant, her mother, who had been even more opposed than her father to this step, wishing for at least a portrait of her child, sent to the convent a secular dress, in which she desired that a portrait of her should be painted. It was with much difficulty that the young enthusiast could be induced to array herself in this attire, even for so brief a time, or to sit for her likeness to the painter sent by her parents, who was no other than the famous artist Santi di Tito. This portrait is now preserved in the Palazzo Rucellai, having passed into the possession of the Rucellai family through marriage. It shows a face of great resolution and power, attached to a frame of great physical energy and strength, a body such as would have required for its normal and healthy

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