Obeying the Truth: Discretion in the Spiritual Writings of Saint Catherine of Siena

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9780199344512: Obeying the Truth: Discretion in the Spiritual Writings of Saint Catherine of Siena

In the last century St. Catherine of Siena, an Italian lay woman and mystic of the fourteenth century, was named first a Doctor of the Church and then one of six patron saints of Europe. This recognition of her life and spirituality has been accompanied by increased interest in her writings. Obeying the Truth addresses the key concept of discretion in Catherine's spiritual works. This concept, synonymous with prudence, interacts on many levels with crucial aspects of her teaching. Grazia Mangano Ragazzi argues that discretion, to which Catherine dedicates several passages in her writings, is a helpful, even decisive, tool for interpreting the whole edifice of the saint's spirituality.
Providing a textual analysis of discretion in Catherine's major works, Mangano Ragazzi situates Catherine historically through comparison with her predecessors: Augustine, Cassian, Benedict, Gregory the Great, Bernard, Richard of St. Victor, and Thomas Aquinas; and some contemporaries: Domenico Cavalca, Bridget of Sweden, John Colombini, and Raymond of Capua. She goes on to demonstrate how discretion unifies Catherine's spiritual reflection. The book includes a scrupulously selected bibliography of works in English, Italian and French.
This is both a focused monograph on discretion and an ideal introduction to the saint's writings. Catherine's insistence that the virtuous life is a pre-requisite for any genuine spiritual experience is a warning that is more necessary today than ever.

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About the Author:


Grazia Mangano Ragazzi is an independent researcher who has lived in Italy, England and France, and now lives in Washington, DC, with her husband. She has theological degrees from the Angelicum (Bologna Studium), Cambridge University, and the Institut Catholique in Paris.

Review:


"[An] excellent work...There are few better instructors than St. Catherine, nor many better introductions to her thought than Mangano Ragazzi's book, for Dominicans and all those seeking the ecstatic life of God." --Dominicana


"This book is the fruit of long, rigorous, and passionate study. While addressing a particular theological theme, Dr. Mangano Ragazzi ends up enlightening the whole body of Catherine's theology. The splendor of this theology derives from its vital relationship with God, a gift that Catherine received at an early age. Today the Church, called to announce Christ amidst the unprecedented challenges of the contemporary cultural environment, has an urgent need to learn from Catherine and the other great Doctors of the Church." --H.E. Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna


"In this admirable book, Dr. Grazia Mangano Ragazzi explores a theme crucial to our personal relations with God and neighbor, namely the exercise of what Catherine calls 'holy discretion.' This virtue encompasses a plurality of human qualities: the ability to distinguish truth from lie, right from wrong, just from unjust, and to judge ideas, actions, and events with the light of faith and with that docility which is the gift of wisdom and comes from the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly Catherine's reflections, so convincingly summarized by Dr. Mangano Ragazzi, are all the more relevant to the contemporary world, as they teach us that loving the truth serves the good of the human person and the attainment of the highest spiritual values." --Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli, O.P., Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Theology, Bologna


"Dr. Mangano Ragazzi's book offers a satisfying combination of scholarly rigor and spiritual insight. She prefaces her balanced account-neither skeptical nor piously naive-with the refreshing observation that "there is no trace of sentimentality" in Catherine's writings. In her careful study of St. Catherine's deployment of "discretion" and "prudence," Dr. Mangano Ragazzi manifests a prophetic motivation to redress today's "verbicide" wherein discretion and prudence have been reduced to "timidity" if not "connivance in sin."" --Fr. John Baptist Ku, O.P., Dominican House of Studies


"Scholars of Catherine of Siena will want to read this virtue ethics interpretation of discernment, especially parts II and IV, which offer R.'s original perspective." --Theological Studies


"Dr Grazia Mangano Ragazzi... brings to this distinguished and original study of St Catherine of Siena the kind of passionate lucidity that characterises the saint. The old joke, that mysticism begins in mist and ends in schism, was never less true than for Catherine, and we could say that Dr Mangano Ragazzi shows why in scholarly detail. Now that Catherine's works are available in modern English translation (by Suzanne Noffke), we also have an up-to-date and reliable point of entry in English into the life and thought of a most remarkable saint..." --New Blackfriars


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Grazia Mangano Ragazzi offers an in-depth examination of the concept of discretion in the spiritual writings of Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who is honored as one of the few female Doctors of the Catholic Church and who in 2000 was named a co-patroness of Europe by Pope John Paul II. Despite her illiteracy, which necessitated that she dictate to a scribe, Catherine is revered for her writings, which reveal spiritual reflection of remarkable depth. At the same time she is an inspiring example of one who remained active in the political and ecclesiastical life of her time without sacrificing an intense contemplative life. This book investigates the concept of discretion, to which Catherine dedicates chapters IX to XI of her Dialogue and letter 213. Discretion, Ragazzi argues, is a helpful tool for interpreting the whole edifice of Catherine s spirituality. The term evades precise definition but can be summarized as a form of self-knowledge that leads to an authentic knowledge of God. Ragazzi first examines the role played by scribes in the composition of Catherine s writings, and whether it is possible to consider such writings as authentic representations of her thought, then provides a detailed analysis of Catherine s works to determine the meaning and importance of discretion in her spirituality, and how it relates to the concept of prudence. Ragazzi finds that the clearest influence on Catherine s thought was that of Dominican spirituality: her spiritual director, Raymond of Capua, was a Dominican, as was the majority of those belonging to her circle. But Franciscan mysticism, which was prevalent in religious life during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, also seems to have exerted considerable influence. Ragazzi s meticulous study shows how Catherine s way of being a theologian exemplifies the principle that any person authentically striving to live a Christian life, if gifted with great faith and intellectual ability, can engage in theology in a creative manner without the abstract and specialized speculation reserved for academic theologians. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780199344512

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Book Description Book Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2014. 218p. Hardback. The book makes constructive contributions to our knowledge of this Sienese saint. Ragazzi's treatment of Catherine of Siena's literacy is one of the most straightforward and informative presentation of a contested topic to appear in recent years. . Ragazzi's assessment of Catherine's theology is an insightful guide of how to understand the contours and significance of the Sienese saint's doctrines in our twenty-first century world. Carolyn Muessig, Sehepunkte |a 23/10/2015 (Publisher's information). Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 39023

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Book Description 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Grazia Mangano Ragazzi offers an in-depth examination of the concept of discretion in the spiritual writings of Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who is honored as one of .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 197 pages. 0.363. Bookseller Inventory # 9780199344512

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