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The relics of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

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The relics of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

Salvati, Carla (2005) The relics of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Francis of Assisi was the first saint in the history of Christianity to receive the stigmata. In 1224, while meditating on Mount La Verna the wounds of the Crucified Christ appeared on his hands, feet and side. The subject of this dissertation is the cult of the relics of the stigmata of St. Francis. These include tiny ampoules of blood from the wounds, the habit Francis was wearing when he received the stigmata, the bandage worn over the side wound as well as a sock and shoe worn to protect the wounds on his feet. The hypothesis of this study is that the relics of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi do not fit the categories developed to account for the relics of Antiquity and the early Middle Ages; they introduce unique, new kinds of relics to medieval Christianity. The devotional practices and reflections around the relics of the stigmata of St. Francis show that his wounds were treated as the physical embodiment of a mystical experience. The relics of the stigmata were, I argue, relics of the points of contact and union between Francis and Christ. Devotional sources from the 16th and 17th centuries are examined which express the belief that Christ had crafted the wounds in Francis's body, transforming him into a living artifact. The relics were believed to be the only remaining traces of what Christ had crafted with his own hands. This study examines how the relics of the stigmata were infused with the meaning of the physiology, the poetics and the theology of the wounds which bridged the gap between heaven and earth.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Salvati, Carla
Pagination:xii, 189 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Religion
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Hale, Rosemary
ID Code:8543
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:28
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:28
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