Cecilia FERRAZZI (1609 – 1684)

Cecilia Ferrazzzi , cover of the book “Autobiography of an Aspiring Saint”,Edited and Translated by Anne Jacobson Schutte https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/A/bo3619422.html

She was a mystique and promoter of welfare activities, condemned by the Inquisition for fiction of sanctity.
Born in Venice as the daughter of a well-to-do craftsman (box maker), Cecilia showed early signs of religious inclination. After the birth of a new daughter in 1623, her parents consented to her will of entering the convent, but their death during the great plague of 1630 caused the project to fail. Cecilia therefore lived for some years in the house of lay protectors, continuing to manifest the signs of her vocation, accompanied by ecstasies and visions.
Her confessor, the Carmelite father Bonaventura Pinzoni, was convinced that Cecilia was destined for a future of holiness, while the patriarchal vicar Giorgio Polacco was rather of the opinion that she was possessed by the devil. Finally Cecilia found hospitality at the Carmelite house of Santa Teresa (founded by her sister Maria). In the forties she began to dedicate herself to welcoming young women in difficult situations, mostly abandoned and orphaned girls (“putte pericolanti”, girls in danger). The new activity was particularly successful and found protectors and financiers among authoritative members of the nobility: in 1658 the patrician Francesco Vendramin bought a building in Sant’Antonio di Castello for the Ferrazzi Institute and the new house was able to accommodate up to three hundred girls.
Towards the end of 1663, however, Cecilia was reported and in June 1664 arrested by order of the inquisitor Agapito Ugoni. Subjected to trial under the accusation of fiction of sanctity, on the 1st of September 1665 she was sentenced to seven years in prison. In 1667 the sentence was commuted to the forced residence in Padua, guarantor cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo, and in January 1669 she regained full freedom (especially thanks to the pressure of its protectors and an intervention by the doge of Venice Domenico Contarini on the Congregation of the Holy Office). She lived in relative tranquillity the last years of her life, dying in Venice on January 17, 1684.
The house she had founded had been entrusted after her arrest to the Capuchins and it still survives today as a secular institution (Professional Women’s Institute “Vendramin Corner”).

Source: http://www.ereticopedia.org/cecilia-ferrazzi

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