Consorella or Mantellata? Notes on Catherine of Siena’s Confraternal Legacy

Emily A. Moerer


In addition to her identity as a saint, reformer, political activist and visionary, Catherine of Siena was uniquely affiliated with two groundbreaking institutions of the late middle ages: the lay confraternity and the third order. This paper focuses specifically on the figure of Catherine in order to address several important questions related to confraternity studies, including the role of gender in distinguishing lay devotional groups, the nature of women’s participation in confraternities, and the problem of their practice of the discipline. The resulting study sheds new light on Catherine’s corporate devotional identity by documenting her commemoration in text, image, and historical memory as both a consorella and a mantellata.

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