Angelica BONFANTINI (+1244)

Around the year 1190, Angelica decides to leave her wealthy family (father Caicle of Bonfantino and her mother Bologna) and retires as a hermit on a land of the Colle della Guardia offered by her family. In the succeeding years a community is formed and in 1194, the bishop of Bologna, Gerardo Ghisla, on the order of Celestine III, places the first stone of the Church of San Luca.
Can we consider Angelica like a beguine ? In my opinion, yes. In fact, in “101 donne che hanno fatto grande Bologna – 101 women who have done Bologna great ” (Newton Comptoir Editori, 2012), Serena Bersani says : “It is not clear in which area of ​​religious institutions Angelica has been placed. Certainly she did not make vows for a certain rule, but she was a woman who had converted to religious life, voted to hermitage and after to the constitution of a coenobitic community form. Even though she did not belong to an institutionalized religious structure, she always had the approval of the apostolic office and of the Bishop of Bologna. “(p.25) It is also reported that after received the land donated by her mother, two years later Angelica decided to give it to the canons of Santa Maria di Reno “to reserve the usufruct to life in exchange they helped to build the church and the monastery where they would then host later.” The act was formalized in front of a notary on July 30, 1192. However, litigations started with the canons and so Angelica managed to get them started thanks to a papal Bull. The possessions passed under the jurisdiction of the Holy See. After her father died, her mother bought other land on the hill and her example was imitated by other Bologna’s benefactors. At the death of Angelica, quite old, in 1244, the church and the monastery were already well-established and ready to transform from a hermitic community to a monastic community.

Source : Serena Bersani, 101 donne che hanno fatto grande Bologna, Newton Comptoir Editori, 2012