Vita di Frate Ginepro

Fra Ginepro (Bevagna, 1190 circa – Roma, 1258) è stato un religioso italiano. Fu un frate francescano e compagno di San Francesco d’Assisi. Il personaggio, forse di fantasia, ha tratti curiosi e caratteristici che testimoniano una spiritualità di “santa pazzia”.
Le sue vicende sono descritte, in un genere comico-letterario molto raro al suo tempo, nell’agiografia Vita di Frate Ginepro, spesso allegata ai Fioretti di san Francesco. Le sue ossa (“rite recognita”) furono riposte nel 1958 – a settecento anni dalla morte – nella chiesa da sempre francescana dell’Aracoeli.

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Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno (born Filippo Bruno, 1548 – 17 February 1600) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, cosmological theorist, and Hermetic occultist. He is known for his cosmological theories, which conceptually extended the then-novel Copernican model. He proposed that the stars were distant suns surrounded by their own planets, and he raised the possibility that these planets might foster life of their own, a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism. He also insisted that the universe is infinite and could have no “centre”.

Starting in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges of denial of several core Catholic doctrines, including eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and transubstantiation. Bruno’s pantheism was also a matter of grave concern, as was his teaching of the transmigration of the soul/reincarnation. The Inquisition found him guilty, and he was burned at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600. After his death, he gained considerable fame, being particularly celebrated by 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who regarded him as a martyr for science, although historians agree that his heresy trial was not a response to his astronomical views but rather a response to his philosophical and religious views.
Bruno’s case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the emerging sciences.

William Turner, American Catholic bishop

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St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a laywoman associated with the Dominican Order, was a mystic, activist, and author who had a great influence on Italian literature and the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1461, she is also a Doctor of the Church.
She was born and raised in Siena, and at an early age wanted to devote herself to God, against the will of her parents. She joined the Dominican tertiaries. She made herself known very quickly by being marked by mystical phenomena such as invisible stigmata and a mystical marriage. Her influence with Pope Gregory XI played a role in his decision to leave Avignon for Rome. She was then sent by him to negotiate peace with Florence. After Gregory XI’s death and peace concluded, she returned to Siena. She dictated to secretaries her set of spiritual treatises The Dialogue of Divine Providence. The Great Schism of the West led Catherine of Siena to go to Rome with the pope. She sent numerous letters to princes and cardinals to promote obedience to Pope Urban VI and defend what she calls the “vessel of the Church.” She died on 29 April 1380, exhausted by her penances. Urban VI celebrated her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
The devotion around Catherine of Siena developed rapidly after her death. She was canonized in 1461, declared patron saint of Rome in 1866, and of Italy (together with Francis of Assisi) in 1939.
She was the first woman (along with Teresa of Ávila) to be declared a “doctor of the Church,” on 4 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI. She was also proclaimed patron saint of Europe in 1999 by Pope John Paul II. Catherine of Siena is one of the outstanding figures of medieval Catholicism, by the strong influence she has had in the history of the papacy and her extensive authorship. She was behind the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome, and then carried out many missions entrusted by the pope, something quite rare for a woman in the Middle Ages. Her Dialogue, hundreds of letters, and dozens of prayers, also give her a prominent place in the history of Italian literature.

Edmund Garratt Gardner FBA (12 May 1869 – 27 July 1935) was an English scholar and writer, specializing in Italian history and literature. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he was regarded as one of the foremost British Dante scholars.

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Arnold of Brescia

Arnold of Brescia (c. 1090 – June 1155), also known as Arnaldus (Italian: Arnaldo da Brescia), was an Italian canon regular from Lombardy. He called on the Church to renounce property ownership and participated in the failed Commune of Rome.
Exiled at least three times and eventually arrested, Arnold was hanged by the papacy, then was burned posthumously and (his ashes) thrown into the River Tiber. Though he failed as a religious reformer and a political leader, his teachings on apostolic poverty gained currency after his death among “Arnoldists” and more widely among Waldensians and the Spiritual Franciscans, though no written word of his has survived the official condemnation. Protestants rank him among the precursors of the Reformation.

Elphège Vacandard

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