Stock, Nuns

Vita della Venerabile Serva di Dio Giovanna Maria Battista Solimani, Fondatrice dell' Ordine delle Monache Romite, e della Congregazione de' Sacerdoti Missionari di S. Giovanni Battista

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CANEPA, Lorenzo
Genoa, Casamara
US$ 1,850.00
A LAVISH VITA OF A GENOESE NUN. Folio [29 x 20.5 cm]. (12), 304 pp, plus engraved frontispiece (often lacking!) signed ‘Guidotti’, depicting the nun in the act of writing, quill in hand. Bound in contemporary stiff vellum with gilt title label on spine; all edges speckled in blue. Binding a little soiled; contents very good. A broad-margined, fresh copy. Scarce sole edition of the first full-length biography of Sor Giovanni Maria Battista Solimani (1688-1758), printed some 30 years after her death. Despite the effort invested in the present lavish production, Solimani was never beatified and remains merely a ‘Serva di Dio’ to this day. While perhaps not a miracle-worker, Solimani was responsible for the founding of not one but two new religious orders. In 1744 her ‘Sisterhood of St John the Baptist’ (‘Baptistines’ or Battistini) received Papal approval, having existed informally since 1730. “The congregation intended to lead a life of penitence in imitation of the precursor of Christ and under his patronage. All the choir sisters, therefore, added to their names in religion that of Baptista in honour of their illustrious model... The congregation drew its members from among the young girls and widows who were admitted into their houses as lay-sisters. Tertiaries took care of their churches and gathered the alms of which they had need. A rigorous cloister was observed. The sisters rose at midnight for Matins, slept in their clothes, went bare-footed, and observed a continual abstinence. The whole life was one of extreme austerity.” (Catholic Encyclopedia). In addition to this Solimani also founded in 1749 the Congregation of Missionary Priests of St John the Baptist, but by the end of the 18th century that order had been suppressed. OCLC shows US copies at the NYPL, Georgetown, Chicago, Princeton, and JHU. It seems that some copies seen in the trade lack the frontispiece. The present Vita was preceded only by a 32-page pamphlet on Solimani printed in Latin in 1782 (unrecorded in OCLC). * ICCU TO0E\050652; and cf Musso, Una mistica del secolo XVIII: Vita della madre Giovanna Battista Solimani (Genoa, 1960).