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Angelina of Montegiove (Angelina dei Conti di Marsciano/Angelina da Montegiove)
1357/60-1435
Biography Born at Montegiove di Orvieto. Orphaned at an early age. Got married but remained childless. Moved to Foligno around 1394. There, she joined the Sant’Anna monastery (also known as ‘Il monastero delle Contesse’, a reference to the soaicl background of many of its members) of regular tertiaries, which had been founded in 1388 by the Observant Franciscan pioneer Paoluccio Trinci, who attached great importance to the tertiary movement, as a force to ‘christianise’ society. When Angelina joined, the Sant’Anna tertiaries already lived a very austere and poor life, in a very un-hierarchical set-up without a formal superior, trying to live the Franciscan evangelical life as purely as possible. Quickly, Angelina became a stimulating spiritual force within this community, and soon was acknowledged as its leader. She secured a papal bull that confirmed the canonical status of the monastery in 1403 (Boniface IX). The reputation of the Sant’Anna tertiaries, who did not have total clausura, was such that other groups of bizzoche sought attachment to it. Thus a congregation came into being, which was officially recognised by papal bull in 1428 (Martin V). The congregation was also allowed to elect a female minister general who would act as visitator of the various communities. Angelina was elected into this position at the first general chapter of the congregation (1430). As minister general, she gave active guidance to the congregation, and developed for it a set of statutes (elements of which can still be traced in some 1496 constitutions drawn up for the monasteries of Foligno, Sant’Anna and Sant’Agnese). This was a remarkable development, giving the women a kind of freedom and possibility of self-organisation not normally granted. Yet the Friars Minor objected. Minister General Guglielmo da Casala, referring to a papal bull of December 1428 that would have put all Franciscan tertiaries under his obedience, demanded that the congregation of Angelina would be subject to him. Angelina had to give in, and on 5 November 1430, in a public ceremony held at the church of St. Francis, promised total obedience in the hands of the provincial minister of Umbria. Soon thereafter, however, the chapter of the Sant’Anna monastery claimed that this promise was not valid, as it had been obtained under duress and without consent of the women’s chapter. The women were able to get papal reconfirmation of their autonomy privileges (1431). To avoid further hassle from the Friars Minor, the congregation found refuge under episcopal jurisdiction and accepted some direction from the friars of the TOR. Just before her death, Angelina demanded another bull to reconfirm this autonomy from the Franciscans. This was granted, yet only for a little while. In 1466, the Observants were able to bring the congregation under their controll, getting rid of the female minister general, and enforcing total clausura on the female communities, which previously had been involved with more outward practices of piety. After 1521 (after the promulgation of the new rule for regular tertiaries by Leo X), the various monasteries associated with the Angelina movement became part of the TOR (but apparently kept in close contact with each other). In 1903, the Sant’Anna religious and associated communities transformed themselves into a non-clausura congregation that was active in the world: the Franciscan tertiaries of Blessed Angelina. By then, Angelina’s cult had already been confirmed (8 March 1825).
Writings Statutae. See the study of L. Mattioli.
Vitae L. Jacobilli, Vita della beata Angelina da Corbara, contessa di Civitella, institutrice delle monache claustrali del Terz’ordine di San Francesco e fondatrice in Foligno del monastero di S. Anna, primo delli sedici che ella eresse in diverse province (Foligno, 16251627/Bologna, 1659/Montefiascone, 1740); Pettinari, Memoria intorno alla vita della B. Angelina (Rome, 1842); Nicoló da Prato (=A. Cristofani), Leggenda della B. Angelina da Marsciano (Foligno, 1882); Biografie antiche della beata Angelina da Montegiove. Documenti per la storia del monastero di S. Anna di Foligno e del terz'Ordine Regolare di S. Francesco, ed. A. Filannino & L. Mattioli (Spoleto, 1996).
Studies
Alessandrini, A. 'Angelina da Montegiove', in: Dizionario biografico degli italiani III, 208.View
Andreozzi, G. La beate Angelina da Montegiove e la coscienza unitaria nel terz’Ordine di san Francesco (Rome, 1984).View
Bartoli, Marco. 'Le antiche constituzioni delle monache di Foligno', in: La Beata Angelina da Montegiove e il Movimento del Terz'Ordine Regolare Francescano Femminile, ed. R. Pazzelli & M. Sensi (Rome: Analecta TOR, 1984), 123-138.View
Canepa, E. 'L'Osservanza al femminile: i rapporti fra le terziarie della beata Angelina e le clarisse riformate umbre (sec. XV-XVI)', in: Le terziarie francescane della beata Angelina. Origine e spiritualità, ed. Enrico Menestò, Biblioteca del 'Centro per il collegamento degli studi medievali e umanistici in Umbria, 17 (Spoleto, 1996), 21-31.View
Cargnoni, Costanzo. 'Le costituzioni antiche della congregazione di Angelina da Montegiove', in: Le terziarie francescane della beata Angelina. Origine e spiritualità, ed. Enrico Menestò, Biblioteca del 'Centro per il collegamento degli studi medievali e umanistici in Umbria, 17 (Spoleto, 1996), 97-138.View
Casagrande, Giovanna. 'Terziarie francescane regolari in Perugia nei secoli XIV e XV', in: La beata Angelina da Montegiove e il movim. del Terz'Ordine regolare francesc. femminile, ed. R. Pazzelli & M. Sensi (Rome, 1984), 437-492.View
Filannino, A. 'La B. Angelina dei Conti di Marsciano e le sue fondazione', in: Prime manifestazioni di vita comunitaria maschile e femminile nel movimento francescano delle penite (Rome, 1982), 451-457.View
Filannino, A. Bibliografie antiche della beata Angelina da Montegiove, documenti per la storia del monastero di Sant’Anna di Foligno e del Terz’ordine regolare di S. Francesco (Spoleto: Centro Italiano Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 1996).View
Filannino, A. La contessa con gli zoccoli. Angelina da Montegiove, nobile, penitente e francescana (Foligno: Istit. Terziarie Francescane – S. Maria degli Angeli: Ed. Porziuncola, 2006).View
Filannino, A. Studi sulla beata Angelina dei Conti di Marsciano, fondatrice della Congregazione di Foligno (Milan, 1964).View
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