Ivana CERESA (1942-2009)

Ivana Ceresa was born in 1942 in the province of Mantua (Italy), where she will then live until her death in 2009. Since her high school, she wanted to be a theologian, but she must wait after the Second Vatican Council to access the theological faculty, inaccessible to women until the 1970s. She became then a literary teacher and only later a theologian. Her book “Dire Dio al femminile” (Saying God in the Women way) was for many women a stimulus to become conscious of gender issues and of the need for an exit from the patriarchate. Ivana called herself a beguine and said, “I’m the beguine of every age, because I’m in a way in incognito … I love in the manner of beguines, in a nonconformist and a bit transgressive” (Ivana Ceresa, Utopia and conserves it, Three Moon Editions, Mantua, 2011). Her friendship with Romana Guarneri, the historian who identified in 1946 the book of Marguerite Porete, and with Luisa Muraro, a great scholar of the beguinal movement, reinforced this identification that led her to say to be a beguine today is to continue the choice of these women, that is to live in the world without being in the world“. In 1996, Ivana achieved her most important realization: the foundation of the Order of Sorority of Mary SS. Coronation, recognized by the Bishop of Mantua, Egidio Caporello, in March 18, 2002. In the introduction to the Rule of Order of Sorority, Ivana refers to the beguines of the North and how they expressed strong female freedom with their autonomy and independence towards ecclesiastical and secular control. For the same raison, also Sorority states: “We are women called by the Holy Spirit to make visible the presence of women in the Church and in the world“.