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for ascertainingjäma sanctitatis was affirmed: that is behaviour where Christian virtues are possessed to a heroic degree.

The accusations of simulated sanctity were directed at first towards female mystics who enjoyed a reputation of sanctity both among the nobility and also among the religious orders. This was, for example, the case with Orsola Benincasa, who was subsequently cleared ofthe charges. Others did not escape, such as female prophets and visionaries who in Italy or Spain followed the paths of sanctity that were indicated by Catherine of Siena and were still regarded as female living saints during the first part ofthe sixteenth century. Philip II himself heeded the counsel of a mystic who was later accused of simulation.42 The line between approved and simulated mysticism became ever more evanescent and difficult to define according to doctrine. Where there are records, one can deduce from the inquisitional trials conducted between the end ofthe sixteenth and the start of the seventeenth centuries that the accusation of simulated sanctity was directed above all against tertiaries or beatas who practised in non-cloistered female institutions, or against laywomen who followed the path to perfection under the guidance of a spiritual father. This was the case in Toledo, where in 1575-6 there was a trial against the tertiary Francisca de los Apostoles, who sought to found a beaterio and a hospice for female converts, and who declared that the task had been entrusted to her by God, who spoke to her in a vision.43 The same happened some years later in Venice, where Cecilia Ferrazzi, a woman of humble origins who had built a conservatory for poor girls, was called by the Inquisition to respond to the charge of simulated sanctity.44 The sociological analysis of the women charged with simulated sanctity leads us to conclude that the inquisitio also had the goal of disciplining the behaviour and habits of semi-religious women not protected by the cloister. However, we must not underestimate the fact that the accusation of simulation could also correspond to a real occurrence, as the episode of Ana Domengo da Barcellona seems to prove: she was a Dominican prophetess who claimed to want to be the St Teresa of the Order of Preachers.45 Since at the end of the sixteenth century the reputation of sanctity was still socially significant, there was no shortage of cases of fraud that even at the highest levels went undetected. For example, the levitation of a mystic achieved through the use of a wooden device deceived even the General of the Dominicans.

As we have mentioned, the inquisitional fight against the mystical model aimed to advance the development and acceptance, on the part of the faithful,

42 Kagan, Lucrecia's dreams. 43 Ahlgren, Francisca de los Apostoles, pp. 119-33.

44 Schutte (ed. and trans.), Autobiography of an aspiring saint.

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