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By Cecilia Ferrazzi

Charged by means of the Venetian Inquisition with the unsleeping and cynical feigning of holiness, Cecelia Ferrazzi (1609-1684) asked and got the unparalleled chance to safeguard herself via a presentation of her lifestyles tale. Ferrazzi's distinctive inquisitorial autobiography and the transcripts of her previous testimony, expertly transcribed and eloquently translated into English, let us input an surprising area of the previous and listen to 'another voice'—that of a humble Venetian girl who had outstanding reports and exhibited unprecedented courage.Born in 1609 into an artisan relations, Cecilia Ferrazzi desired to turn into a nun. while her mom and dad' demise 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 target. The socially useful carrier she used to be delivering better this impresssion. now not all people, in spite of the fact that, was once confident that she used to be a real favourite of God. In 1664 she was once denounced to the Inquisition.The Inquisition convicted Ferrazzi of the pretense of sanctity. but her autobiographical act allows us to work out in vibrant aspect either the possibilities and the hindrances provided to seventeenth-century ladies.

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She replied, "My name is Cecilia, daughter of the late Alvise Ferrazzi and of Maddalena Polis, his wife. I was born in Venice, and I don't know where my father came from, although I've heard he was from Bassano. And I was orphaned at the age of sixteen or seventeen, when my parents died of the plague here in Venice. ' I was raised in my father's house until I was about eighteen. Then, when my parents died, I was put in the house of my uncle Defendi [Polis]' with whom I stayed about six months or less.

She began as governess of the patrician Paolo Lion's two motherless daughters while he was away from Venice on government service. Soon she began to take under her wing other girls from various social classes. Almost by chance, she had found her vocation. As the number of her charges multiplied, she attracted wealthy supporters willing to underwrite the much-needed social service she was providing. Thus she was able to move from her first house of refuge at San Lorenzo to increasingly larger quarters at San Giovanni Evangelista, in Cannaregio, and finally at Sant'Antonio di Castello.

Acting in the name of God, they could and did order her to despise and humiliate herself. For the most part insensitive and obsessed with their power, they sometimes fought over her and kicked her around "like a ball," as she put it. In this game, they set the rules and could arbitrarily change them. Once she was denounced to the Inquisition, Ferrazzi came under the control of still other superiors, the inquisitor and his colleagues. These men had the power to determine where and how she spent the rest of her earthly life.

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