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Memorandum one

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I, Stefano Cecchi, the provost of Pescia, have completed the necessary inquiries into the spiritual status of the suspended abbess of the Theatines at Pescia, Benedetta Carlini, who claims God sent visions of an intense spiritual kind. Because of her female affliction, one must be inherently skeptical when claims of a direct line with our creator are made. The feminine mind does not always have the ability to decipher visions and physical signs sent by the God of all that is good, from those sent by the one who has fallen completely from the grace (Brown, pg.59). As the intensity of Benedetta's visions have increased, it has become necessary to perform formal inquiry with the Theatinesregarding all the events that have occurred.

Before meeting Benedetta, I was informed by her confessor, Father Paolo Ricordati, of the minimal details of her spiritual encounters, and the stipulations put on her physically by those of heavenly stature (Lecture 15, 3/21/12). Of Christ's order that she abstain from "meat, eggs, and [dairy], and to not drink anything other than water" (Brown, pg.64). Of the angels assigned to guide and punish her when wrong is done. And of her regular washing with water in a pursuit to cleanse her outside body of all impurities. I kept Benedetta's accounts in the forefront of my mind while I heard her and her fellow nuns recount the events that took place. (Brown, pg.64-65)

Upon entering the convent, I promptly examined the abbess's stigmata (Brown, pg.76). As experienced with Catherine of Sienna, the stigmata is an important sign of God's favor (Lecture 15, 3/21/12). Because having the holy wounds of Christ promotes Benedetta to a spiritual realm reserved for those of superlative virtue, it was decided to investigate its authenticity above all else so to possible diminish any clout over her account (pg.58). Fresh blood was inadvertently drawn from Benedetta's wounds after tentatively inspecting her hands, feet, head, and side when previously, the stigmata "had been nothing more than small red marks on the body (Brown, pg.76)". When I returned ten days later, on the seventh of June, I found the wounds less willing to bleed than as was initially observed (Brown, pg.77). I observed a drastic change in the wounds' appearance on the fourteenth of June when blood rushed generously from Benedetta's head and she was overcome with pain (Brown, pg.78). This could be a work of Christ, an increase in His commitment to allow Benedetta to feel His suffering. Being satisfied with Benedetta's answers to my inquiries regarding the procurement and state of her stigmata, I moved on to questioning her about the visions she claimed (Brown, pg.81).

In almost all of Benedetta's encounters, those heavenly figures interacting with her--Jesus, the Mother, and saints and angels of all kinds--are praising her virtues, not the virtues of the known holy. This kind of pride sheds a sinister light on the nun's accounts. For a lack of humility is a sin of the highest kind (Lecture 8, 2/13/12). However, my worries were appeased when it Benedetta's constant subordination to her Father confessor Paolo Ricordati in every instance. After her visions, Benedetta would go to Father Ricordati for guidance on how to act in the aftermath. If she did not, it was in fear that her visions would not be well received. Also, her intense scrutiny and attempted suppression of the spiritual interactions shows a lack of willingness to accept eagerly that which has not been examined by those with a higher knowledge of the workings of God. (Brown, pg.52)

In regard to Benedetta's professed heavenly visions, I felt the need to decipher whether they were imaginary or actual. I asked Benedetta reasonable questions. "How long ago did they start? What was she doing at the onset of each? How long did each vision last? (Brown, pg.81)" Her answers proved sufficient enough to qualify her encounters as visions and not dreams. I did encounter a slight problem when questioning Benedetta regarding the content of her visions. Because I found it prudent to compare the symbols revealed to Benedetta to the holy texts, I asked her about the happenings of her encounters. In her early visions, I can conclude that Benedetta was not in a state of ecstasy because of her awareness of her surrounding nuns. However, in those that came to her at later times, like her vision on Mount Perfection, "[Benedetta] did not think she was in herself like the other times, being unable to see the other sisters nor being aware of what she was doing...and when she made the sign [of the cross] she departed from her normal senses. (Brown, pg. 85)" This proves a state of ecstasy in accordance with the teachings of St. Teresa. This valid state of being was also experienced by Benedetta during her marriage to Christ. I asked Benedetta, if she saw "Jesus and the Virgin during the mystical marriage," to which she replied that "She saw them infallibly and not in her imagination. (Brown, pg.85)" To further compare Benedetta's accounts to doctrine, I searched within its meaning any clue towards heresy.

I met with Felice di Giovanni Guerrini, Bartolomea Crivelli, Benedetta's assigned companion, and Margherita d'Iptolito (Brown, pg.90). Their accounts of the events that took place during Benedetta's marriage reinforced my knowledge of the experience (Brown, pg.91). However, the unusual claims Benedetta made while speaking as Jesus, and praising herself, and damning all unbelievers eternally, unsettles me (Brown, pg.91). While being one with Christ is in line with the scriptures, (Galations 2:20), it is not of Christ to preach a message not rooted in love (1 John 4:7-8). Benedetta, however, redeemed her character through her insistence that the wedding ceremony not be public. She even chose to exclude



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