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From Authentic Miracles to a Rhetoric of Authenticity: Examples from the Canonization and Cult of St. Vincent Ferrer

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 November 2011


Historians of science have often looked to the authentication of miracles at canonization trials as a way to investigate the ways in which religious and scientific understandings of the natural and the miraculous came together and, sometimes, into conflict. Most historians of science who have forayed into the world of miracles have, understandably, stopped at the moment of a saint's canonization. Examining the treatment of a saint's miracles both before and after the canonization process, however, yields a different picture. Drawing upon materials from the 1455 canonization and subsequent cult of the Dominican Vincent Ferrer (1350–1419), this essay reveals, first, that papal approval marked only one of several ways in which miracles received publicly-accepted “authentication,” and second, that, after the moment of canonization, the idea of carefully authenticated miracles became irrelevant not simply for the great masses of the faithful, but also for the ecclesiastical hierarchy, who adopted an ever shifting rhetoric of authenticity as authors used tales of the saint's “authentic” miracles to drive home their own various polemical points.

Research Article
Copyright © American Society of Church History 2011

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1 Vauchez, André, La sainteté en Occident aux derniers siècles du Moyen Age d'après les procès de canonisation et les documents hagiographiques, Bibliothèque des Écoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome, 241 (Rome: École Française de Rome, 1981)Google Scholar [English translation: Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, trans. Birrell, Jean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)Google Scholar], esp. 562–63, 568. For example, the reviewing cardinals passed along to the full consistory only 35 of 330 miracles attributed to Clare of Montefalco and 34 of 187 miracles attributed to Charles of Blois. In addition to Vauchez's magisterial study, excellent treatments of the medieval process of canonization are to be found in Wetzstein, Thomas, Heilige vor Gericht: Das Kanonisationsverfahren im europäischen Spätmittelalter, Forschungen zur kirchlichen Rechtsgeschichte und zum Kirchenrecht, 28 (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2004)Google Scholar; Thomas Wetzstein, “Proving the Supranatural. Miracles, Sanctity, and Law of Evidence in Medieval and Early Modern Canonization,” (unpublished paper delivered at the conference “Miracles as Epistemic Things,” Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2004); Kleinberg, Aviad M., “Proving Sanctity: Selection and Authentication of Saints in the Later Middle Ages,” Viator 20 (1989): 183205CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Goodich, Michael, Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century: Private Grief and Public Salvation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995)Google Scholar; Goodich, , “The Multiple Miseries of Dulcia of St. Chartier (1266) and Cristina of Wellington (1294),” in Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials, ed. Goodich, Michael (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006)Google Scholar; Krötzl, Christian, “Prokuratoren, Notare und Dolmetscher. Zu Gestaltung und Ablauf der Zeugeneinvernahmen bei spätmittelaltlicher Kanonisationsprozessen,” Hagiographica 5 (1998): 119–40Google Scholar; Toynbee, Margaret, S. Louis of Toulouse and the Process of Canonisation in the Fourteenth Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1929)Google Scholar; Katajala-Peltomaa, Sari, Gender, Miracles, and Daily Life: The Evidence of Fourteenth-Ceutnry Canonization Processes (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009);CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Lett, Didier, Un procès de canonisation au Moyen Âge: Essai d'histoire sociale. Nicolas de Tolentino, 1325 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2008)Google Scholar. See also the essays in Klaniczay, Gábor, ed., Procès de canonisation au Moyen Âge: aspects juridiques et religieux, Collection de l'École Française de Rome 340 (Rome: École Française de Rome, 2004)Google Scholar. The role of medical practitioners in ruling out natural causes for proposed miracles is treated in Ziegler, Joseph, “Practitioners and Saints: Medical Men in Canonization Processes in the Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries,” Social History of Medicine 12, no. 2 (1999): 191225CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed. Katajala-Peltomaa, Sari provides an overview of recent scholarship in “Recent Trends in the Study of Medieval Canonizations,” History Compass 8/9 (2010): 1083–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 In addition to the article by Joseph Ziegler cited above, see Gentilcore, David, “Contesting Illness in Early Modern Naples: Mirocalati, Physicians and the Congregation of Rites,” Past and Present 148, no. 1 (1995): 117–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Duffin, Jacalyn, Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints, and Healing in the Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Park, Katharine, Secrets of Women: Gender, Generation, and the Origins of Human Dissection (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006)Google Scholar.

3 Vidal, Fernando, “Miracles, Science, and Testimony in Post-Tridentine Saint-Making,” Science in Context 20, no. 3 (2007): 481508CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pomata, Gianna, “Malpighi and the Holy Body: Medical Experts and Miraculous Evidence in Seventeenth-Century Italy,” Renaissance Studies 21, no. 4 (2007): 568–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Daston, Lorraine, “Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe,” Critical Inquiry 18, no. 1 (Autumn 1991): 93124CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 The reference was to the distinction between opaque “epistemic things” and technical objects. See Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg, Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997)Google Scholar. Says Rheinberger, “They are epistemic because it has not yet been determined whether they will become obsolete as targets of research, or whether they will become transformed into stable, technical objects that may define the boundary conditions of further epistemic objects. This latter category of objects is, in contrast to the former, transparent, contained, and not transcendent. And as a rule, we can point at them.” Rheinberger, , “A Reply to David Bloor: ‘Toward a Sociology of Epistemic Things,’Perspectives on Science 13, no. 3 (2005): 406–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 Pomata, “Malpighi and the Holy Body,” 569.

6 The standard accounts of Vincent's life are found in Acta Sanctorum Full-Text Database (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 2000; text from Antwerp: Michael Cnobarus, 1675)Google Scholar, April, 1: 477–529, retrieved from (hereafter AASS); Fages, Pierre-Henri, Histoire de Saint Vincent Ferrier, 2 vols. (Paris: Picard and Louvain: Uystpruyst, 1901)Google Scholar; Fages, Pierre-Henri, Procès de la canonisation de Saint Vincent Ferrier pour faire suite à l'histoire du même saint (Paris: Picard, 1904)Google Scholar; Fages, Pierre-Henri, Notes et documents de l'histoire de Saint Vincent Ferrier (Paris: Picard, and Louvain: Uystpruyst, 1905)Google Scholar; Gorce, Matthieu Maxime, Saint Vincent Ferrier (1350–1419) (Paris: Plan-Nourrit, [ca. 1924])Google Scholar; Brettle, P. Sigismund, San Vicente Ferrer und sein literarischer Nachlass, Vorreformationsgeschichtliche Forschungen, 10 (Münster: Aschendorff, 1924)Google Scholar; de Garganta, José M., O.P., and Forcada, Vicente, O.P., eds., Biografía y escritos de San Vicente Ferrer (Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Christianos, 1956)Google Scholar; Bertucci, Sadoc M., “Vincenzo Ferrer, santo,” in Bibliotheca sanctorum, 12 vols. (Rome: Istituto Giovanni XXIII, 1969–1980), 12:1168–76Google Scholar; Spanò, S., “Vincenzo Ferrer,” in Il grande libro dei santi: dizionario enciclopedico (Turin: San Paolo, 1998): 3:1936–39Google Scholar; Huerga, Alvaro, “Vincent Ferrer,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, 17 vols. (Paris: Beauchesne, 1932–1995)Google Scholar, 16: col. 813–22; Feige, P., “Ferrer, Vicent(e),” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, 10 vols. (Stuttgart: Metzler, [1977]–1999)Google Scholar, 4: cols. 395–97, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopedias – Lexikon des Mittelalters Online; “Ferrer, 1) Vinzenz,” in Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 3rd ed., 11 vols. (Freiburg: Herder, 1993–2001)Google Scholar, 3: col. 1245–46; Niederlender, Philippe, “Vincent Ferrier,” in Histoire des saints et de la sainteté chrétienne, 11 vols. (Paris: Hachette, 1986–1988)Google Scholar, Tome VII: Une église éclatée 1275–1545, ed. André Vauchez, 247–56. See also Bibliotheca hagiographica latina (Brussels: Society of Bollandists, 1898–1899)Google Scholar, numbers 8656–69 (hereafter BHL).

7 The original manuscript of the canonization inquests had disappeared from Rome as early as 1577, when a Valencian named Hieronimus Domenicus Valentinus tried to find it, and it was presumed to have been destroyed in the sack of Rome of 1527. In 1590 in Valencia, Vincent Justinian Antist, O.P., made a copy of a Palermo manuscript (itself imperfect) containing the text of the Brittany, Toulouse, and Naples inquests: Universidad de Valencia, Biblioteca, G.C. 1869, M. 690, “Proceso de la canonizacion de San Vicente Ferrer, 9 del junio 1590” (hereafter, Valencia, “Proceso”). This MS is the only surviving copy of the Toulouse and Naples inquests (a second copy of the MS, Valencia, OP “Catalinas,” MS in quarto, incipit: “Liber sive transumptus processus Beatificationis et Canonizationis santi Vincentii Ferrarii, Ordinis B. Dominici, Valentie orti . . .” was listed as lost in 1936: Fr. Sierra, Adolfo Robles O.P., “Manuscritos del archivio del Real Convento de Predicadores de Valencia,” Escritos del Vedat 14 [1984], 401)Google Scholar. The Brittany inquest also survives intact in the original fifteenth-century exemplar in Vannes: Vannes, Archives Départementales du Morbihan, MS 87 G 11 (hereafter ADM MS 87 G 11). There is no surviving trace of the Avignon inquest. Fages's imperfect and abridged edition of the canonization inquests (Fages, Procès) is based on these two manuscripts. We learn of Valentinus's unsuccessful attempt to locate the complete canonization records in Valencia, “Proceso,” fol. 12r (Fages, Procès, 267–68).

8 For example, Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia 105, art. 7, ad 1, 2; art. 8. See also Smoller, Laura Ackerman, “Defining the Boundaries of the Natural in Fifteenth-Century Brittany: The Inquest into the Miracles of Saint Vincent Ferrer, d. 1419,” Viator 28 (1997): 333–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 338–42.

9 Vauchez, La sainteté, 58–59. In 1307, for example, Pope Celestine V instructed the panel investigating the sanctity of Bishop Thomas Cantelupe of Hereford (d. 1282) to ask witnesses for the circumstances of the miracle, how they knew about the alleged miracle, and, further, specifically whether the supposed miracle occurred above (supra) or against (contra) nature. That set of questions is translated in Michael Goodich, Violence and Miracle, 159n19, from AASS, October 2, 49:589–90. The cardinals not infrequently rejected miracles that did not meet their standards of evidence or causality: Vauchez, La sainteté, 566 (miracle rejected for lack of eyewitnesses, in case of Peter of Morrone), 574 (miracle rejected for contradictory testimony, in case of Thomas of Cantilupe), and 567 (miracle rejected because of another natural explanation of the events, in case of Peter of Morrone).

10 On this latter point, see Smoller, “Defining the Boundaries of the Natural,” 336–38; on the predominance of miracles in the Brittany inquest (as opposed to the other surviving inquests), see Laura Ackerman Smoller, “Northern and Southern Sanctity in the Canonization of Vincent Ferrer: The Effects of Procedural Differences on the Image of the Saint,” in Procès de canonisation, ed. Klaniczay, 289–308.

11 Smoller, “Defining the Boundaries of the Natural,” 342–46.

12 Ibid., 346–53.

13 The eyewitness account comes in a letter written by Pietro Ranzano, author of the first vita of Vincent Ferrer, which he sent to fellow Dominican Giovanni da Pistoia, along with a brief life of the new saint excerpted from Book 20 of Ranzano's Annals. The letter, dated August 1, 1463, appears in Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 112, fol. 51r–52r. Descriptions of the canonization appear at fol. 63r–68r. A partial edition is provided in Termini, F. A., “Riconstruzione cronologica della biografia di Pietro Ransano,” Archivio storico siciliano, n.s., 41 (1916): 9697Google Scholar. The bull of canonization (Pius II's Rationi congruent, October 1, 1458) appears in Bullarum diplomatum et privilegiorum sanctorum romanorum pontificum taurinensis editio, 25 vols., ed. Gaude, Francisco (Turin: Seb. Franco et Henrico Dalmazzo, 1857–1872), 5:144–49Google Scholar.

14 Rationi congruent, 149: “15. Miracula vero quae Deus per eumdem sanctum fecerat, propter eorum multitudinem, ne modum literarum, si, ut praefertus, confectae fuissent, egrederentur, duxit silentio praetereunda. Mandans processus omnes super illis habitos, in ecclesia domus S. Mariae super Minervam de Urbe dicti Ordinis, ad perpetuam rei memoriam custodiri, et illorum copiam volentibus exhiberi, ac etiam in officio ipsius sancti viri, quoad fieri posset, latius declarari.”

15 Antoninus Florentinus, Chronicon seu opus historiarum [BHL number 8663] (Nürnberg: Koberger, 1484) [German Books before 1601, Roll 326, exemplar from Upsala University Library], fol. CCIX verso: “Que predicta [miracula] sunt ex epistola canonizationis eius extracta.”

16 That Antoninus's epistola must represent a separately circulating letter (and not the bull of canonization) of the type that Otfried Krafft calls Kettenbriefe or “chain letters,” and such as alerted Dominican houses to the canonizations of Dominic, Peter Martyr, and Thomas Aquinas, was suggested to me by Otfried Krafft, in private correspondence of September 10, 2007. See also Otfried Krafft, Papsturkunde und Heiligsprechung: Die päpstlichen Kanonisationen vom Mittelalter bis zur Reformation: Ein Handbuch, Archiv für Diplomatik, Schriftgeschichte, Siegel- und Wappenkunde, 9 (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2005), 384, 760 (965–81 deal with Vincent's canonization); Krafft, , “Ein Brief des Mailänder Dominikanerpriors Lambert von S. Eustorgio zu Kanonisation, Elevation und Kultanfängen des Petrus Martyr (1253),” Sonderdruck aus Quellen und Forschungen aus Italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 83 (2003): 403–25Google Scholar. One later hagiographer makes reference to what may be another such letter regarding Vincent's canonization. A friar from the Dominican convent in Chioggia some time after 1467 writes, “Sane venerationis illius inter sanctos literis publicatis ad ampliorem sue sanctitatis comendationem circa ipsum de hoc stupendum auditu divinam miserationem peregisse certa atestatione conprimus. . . .”: Walberberg (Germany), Bibliothek St. Albert, MS 27, ch. 40, fol. 49v (my emphasis). (Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, film no. 35,238; BHL number 8665: Vita Vincentii Ferrerii auctore monacho Clugiensi.) Hereafter, Walberberg, BSA, MS 27.

17 Rationi congruent, 148: “et deinde, ex more, dicta ipsorum [i.e., S.R.E. cardinalium] testium fecit in duobus consistoriis generalibus publice recitari.”

18 Edited (and discussed) in Pagano, Mario, “I ‘Miracoli’ inediti di S. Vincenzo Ferrer in volgare siciliano,” Siculorum gymnasium 53 (2000): 345–90Google Scholar; the manuscript in which this miracle collection appears is also discussed in Pagano, , “Un inedito volgarizzamento siciliano dalla Legenda Aurea: La Vita di S. Cristina,” Siculorum gymnasium 52 (1999): 750–52Google Scholar. It is possible that these Lérida miracles were additionally reported at the now lost inquest held in Avignon, but that seems unlikely. First of all, witnesses from the crown of Aragon largely appear in the Naples inquest (Naples being at the time under Aragon's rule), and, secondly, if witnesses were to travel from Lérida to testify, it would have been much closer to journey to Toulouse than to Avignon. It is more likely that the inquest was forwarded to the papal curia as part of a petition to open the process, just as a collection of miracles from Brittany was (see n. 27 below).

19 AASS, April, 1:496 (“miracula illa speciosissima, quibus claruit in vita, & quae apud maximum romanae ecclesiae Pontificem, qui eum ceteris Sanctis connumeravit, fuerunt clarissimis testimoniis approbata. Verum cum ipsorum numerus fuerit supra octingenta et sexaginta . . . .”).

20 Valencia, “Proceso,” Naples witness number 16, fol. 257v, saying that three Catalonian monks had returned from a pilgrimage to Vincent's tomb with “many authentic miracles in public form.” (“Dixit etiam testis ipse quod quidam magister bartholomeus scutifer monachus monasterii populeti accessit cum duobus aliis monachiis ad visitandum corpus dicti fratris Vincentii, et in reversione sua adduxit multa miracula auctentica in publica forma, que omnipotens Deus fecerat precibus et meritis dicti fratris Vincentii.” My emphasis.)

21 On this miracle and the testimony about it, see Laura Ackerman Smoller, “A Case of Demonic Possession in Fifteenth-Century Brittany: Perrin Hervé and the Nascent Cult of Vincent Ferrer,” in Voices from the Bench, ed. Goodich, 149–76.

22 ADM MS 87 G 11, witness number 8 (Petrus Floc'h): “et fuerunt pulsate campane et hoc fuit reputatum ab omnibus pro miraculo.”

23 Ibid., witness number 9 (Simon Maydo): “et vidit tunc quod viri ecclesiastici de eadem ecclesia fecerunt pulsare campanas et dicebant hoc esse miraculum.”

24 For example, Valencia, “Proceso,” fol. 192v, witness 9 (Fr. Joannes Massa, O.P); fol. 227r, witness 27 bis (Galliardus de Ruppe, a Carmelite friar), and fol. 196r, witness 11 (Magister Alricus de Ruppe), all from the Toulouse inquest, who offered the presence of ex votos in Brittany as proof that God works many miracles at Vincent's tomb.

25 Part of the opening ceremonies in the canonization inquest (the cathedral visit took place on November 20, 1453), as described a letter from the sub-commissioners who ran the inquest, in ADM MS 87 G 11, 16–17, and printed in Fages, Notes et documents, 397–98: “necnon ymaginines cereas, cruces, feretra mortuorum ut asserebat [Johannes Maucazie, prior of the Carmelite house of Bondon, who was speaking to the commissioners on behalf of the bishop, church, and citizens of Vannes], resuscitatorum sudaria, compedes ferreos a carceribus et captivitatibus liberatorum ibidem in memoriam miraculorum dicti Magistri Vincentii sine numero ut subiungebat existentes cernere et de super testimonium dare curaremus.”

26 ADM MS 87 G 11, witnesses numbers 1 (Yvo Gluidic), 6 (Oliverius le Bourdiec), 28 (Johannes Jegoti), and 89 (Guillotus le Mareschal).

27 Ibid., witness number 6 (Oliverius le Bourdiec).

28 Ibid., witness number 239.

29 Ibid., witness 69 (Johanna, wife of Johannis Aufray): “Sed miraculum non publicavit ut promiserat propter pudorem. Ex post infra octo dies vel sic infirmitas revenit sibi. . . . et rememorans quod non publicasset miraculum ut promiserat . . . venit ad ecclesiam . . . . et fecit publicari miraculum”; for similar statements, see also witness numbers 75 (Johannes Rochelard), 36 (Johannes Boayden), 22 (Yvo, abbot of B. Marie de Lanvaulx), 28 (Johannes Jegoti), and 38 (Johanna, wife of Johannes Baut).

30 Ibid., witness 89: “asserit quod ipse hoc notifficavit domino Yvoni Natalis qui miracula dicti M. V. in dicta ecclesia conscribebat.”

31 Ibid., witness 239: “deponit quod ipse scripsit a quatuor annis in dicta ecclesia venetensi in uno libro quem nobis apportavit et nobiscum dimisit miracula que concurrentes ad dictum sepulcrum publicarunt . . . . Sed supplicavit nobis quod dictum librum diligenter visitaremus et ab eo extraheremus illa que nobis miracula viderentur.”

32 For example, the story told by Johanna, wife of Johannes Aufray, of her miraculous deliverance from blindness (ibid., witness 69). After a bout of “apoplexy” left her sightless, Johanna commended herself to Vincent Ferrer, with the result that her vision returned within three days of her vow. But, she continues, “for modesty's sake” she did not publicize the miracle, and within eight days she was ill and blind once more. At this point, Johanna consulted a woman physician (medica), but to no avail. Then, she adds, a neighbor asked her if she hadn't commended herself to any saint, the implication being that some irregularity in her behavior toward such a patron could result in a return of her disease. Recalling her failure to publicize her miracle, Johanna hastened to the Vannes cathedral, where she confessed, prayed, invoked Vincent's help a second time, and—now healed for good—made public the miracle. (See n. 29, above.)

33 For example, ibid., witnesses numbers 1 (Yvo Gluidic), 5 (Alanus Philippot), 28 (Johannes Jegoti), and 38 (Johanna, wife of Johannis Baut).

34 Valencia, “Proceso,” fol. 186r, Toulouse witness number 6, Fr. Hugo Nigri, O.P.: “recitavit multa magna miracula que dicebat facta fuisse per dictum Magistrum Vincentium de cuius corporis visitationem se venire dicebat.”

35 See n. 20, above.

36 ADM MS 87 G 11, witness number 1 (Yvo Gluidic): “Et pluries et quasi per singulos dies dominicos audivit quamplura et diversa miracula in dicta ecclesia publicari de quibus in singulari propter eorum numerositatem non recolit. Sed se reffert ad quemdem librum in dicta ecclesia existentem in quo predicta miracula describuntur.”; and ibid., witness number 28 (Johannes Jegoti): “Dicit tamen quod fuit presens in recitatione trium vel quatuor miraculorum per unum ordinis predicatorum confessorem certarum monialium de partibus Carcaxonem que scripta sunt in libro quem scripsit quidem Yvo Natalis presbiter super eisdem miraculis in dicta ecclesia Venetensi.”

37 Ibid., witness number 263 (Guillermus Rolandi): “reducens ad memoriam quoddam miraculum de quo fit mencio in quadam tabula depicta existentes supra sepulcrum dicti Magister V., videlicet quod deus resuscitavit quemdam infantulum quem eius mater occiderat ad preces dicti Magister V” (my emphasis).

38 Ranzano's Vita Vincentii (=BHL numbers 8657/8658) can be found in AASS, April, 1:481–510. I have also examined the following manuscripts of the vita: Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Chigi F. IV. 91, fol. 1–23v, and Toulouse, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 486, which is presumed to be Ranzano's autograph and bears the marks of a working draft.

39 On humanists writing saints' lives, see Frazier, Alison Knowles, Possible Lives: Authors and Saints in Renaissance Italy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Collins, David J., Reforming Saints: Saints' Lives and Their Authors in Germany, 1470–1530 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

40 The vita was written at the request of the Aragonese Pope Calixtus III and the Dominican Master General Martial Auribelli, as Ranzano, a fixture at the Naples court of Aragon, makes clear in the prologue to the vita (AASS, April, 1:483, addressing himself to Martial Auribelli: “volens nostri Vincentii gesta mandare memoriae posteritatis, mihi jussisti, ut ea, quae de ejus mirabilibus factis apud Maximum Pontificem universamque Romanam Ecclesiam claris veridicisque testimoniis comprobata sunt, deberem ipse conscribere”) and in the letter to Giovanni da Pistoia, cited in note 13, above (Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 112, fol. 54r): “Ea delegi ego ex tam multis ills quae accurate perscripsi in opere illo quatuor libris distincto quod hoc anno & Martialis auribelli hortatu & Calisti pontificis iussu de illius vita composui.”

41 In his Chronicle, written some time between Vincent's canonization in 1455 and Antoninus's death in 1459, Antoninus notes that “even though this Saint Vincent spent nearly his entire career under the obedience of Benedict XIII . . ., and the Italians and many other nations judged him [Benedict], with his followers, to be an apostate and schismatic . . . in no way does this overshadow the saint's merits or diminish his sanctity.” Antoninus, Chronicon, fol. CCVIII verso: “Advertendum autem diligenter quod sanctus iste vincentius etsi cursum suum pene consumaverat sub obedientia Benedicti .xiii. Avinioni cum sua curia residens et illum ytalici cum pluribus aliis nationibus apostaticum et scismaticum arbitrarentur cum sequacibus suis . . . in nullo hoc habet sancti merita obumbrare vel sanctitatem minuere. . . . Siquidem utraque pars habuit peritissimos viros in omni facultate et sanctissimos viros. . . . Unde qui erraverunt in eo satis excusavit eos apud deum ignorantia facti et quasi invincibilis.”

42 That is, Book II, chapter 1 (the first book details Vincent's childhood, youth, and education; the second book treats his adult career; the third his prophecies and miracles; and the fourth his death and posthumous miracles).

43 Ranzano, Vita Vincentii, AASS, April, 1:502–3.

44 Most notably, in a panel attributed to the school of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Florence, Stibbert Museum, no. 834, in which the partially cooked baby rests on what looks like an altar set for the Mass and the saint appears vested as a celebrant. I develop this theme at much greater length in the book I am writing on the canonization and cult of Vincent Ferrer.

45 Mentions of the tale can be found in: ADM MS 87 G 11, witness number 73 (Oliva de Coatsal); ibid., witness number 263 (Guillermus Rolandi); Valencia, “Proceso,” fol. 257v–258r (unnamed Naples witness number 16), and fol. 260r–260v (unnamed Naples witness number 18). Some of this testimony has been translated in Smoller, Laura, trans., “The Canonization of Vincent Ferrer,” in Medieval Hagiography: An Anthology, ed. Head, Thomas, Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 1942 (New York: Garland, 2000), 794–95Google Scholar, 803n15.

46 Ranzano, Vita Vincentii, in AASS, April, 1:503.

47 Walberberg, BSA, MS 27, ch. 33, fol. 40v–41v.

48 For Lérida, Pagano, “I ‘Miracoli’ inediti,” 362–65 (miracle number 7); Antoninus, Chronicon, fol. CCIX verso.

49 For example, Antoninus, Chronicon, fol. CCVIII recto, where Antoninus remarks on the “apostolica gratia” by which Vincent, preaching in his native Catalan tongue, was understood by audiences everywhere, and fol. CCIX recto, where princes hang on advice from Vincent “ut apostolum novellum.”

50 Ibid., fol. CCIX verso: “Que predicta [miracula] sunt ex epistola canonizationis eius extracta. Insuper et quedam alia testificata et recollecta repperi.”

51 Ibid., fol. CCVII verso. Bread and wine: “subvenit . . . quo ad corpus procurando panem et vinum duobus milibus hominum sequentibus eum”; miracles of gospel age: “fecit miracula in resuscitando mortuos plurimos, illuminando cecos centum, sanando diversis languoribus mille.”

52 For example, Antoninus, Chronicon, fol. CCVIII recto: “Hoc autem stupendum erat et apostolica gratia quod predicans in ydiomate vulgari cathalonico: intelligebatur etiam ab aliis nationibus illud ignorantibus.”

53 The miracle of the bread and the wine appears at Chronicon, fol. CCIX verso; the chopped-up baby story is at fol. CCX recto. Antoninus, in fact, with slightly more respect than Ranzano for his sources, places the miracle of the chopped-up baby correctly among Vincent's post mortem miracles, twelfth in a list of fourteen taken from sources other than the “letter of canonization.” He also is careful to describe these miracles as “testificata” (proven or affirmed): ibid., fol. CCIX verso.

54 Miraculous multiplications of bread and wine are recounted by Dominuus Petrus Molinis, Toulouse witness number 7 (Valencia, Proceso, fol. 187v–188v) and Naples witness number 20, Antonius Roca (ibid., fol. 262v). Ranzano also will relate this story in his Vita Vincentii, AASS, April, 1:504, but there is nothing in Antoninus's biography to indicate that he has read Ranzano's work.

55 Castiglione's brief life (Vita beati Vincentii abbreviata= BHL number 8664) was printed in Vincent Ferrer, Sermones de tempore et de sanctis (Venice: Jacobus Pentius de Leuco, for Lazarus de Soardis, 1496), at ff. a1v–a5r. (I have consulted the exemplar found in Bridwell Library Special Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.) A modern edition from a manuscript in Florence (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Conventi Soppressi, MS J-VII-30, ff. 33–45v) can be found in Wittlin, Curt, “Sobre les Vides de sant Vicent Ferrer compilades per Ranzano, Antonino i Miquel Peres: ampliacío literària d'extrets escollits en el Chronicon d'Antonino de Florència,” Anuari de l'Agrupacío Borrianenca de Cultura 5 (1994): 1627Google Scholar. Castiglione's list of miracles also appears in AASS, April, 1:510–11. On Castiglione, see Bausi, Francesco, “Francesco da Castiglione fra umanesimo e teologia,” Interpres 11 (1991): 112–81Google Scholar. As far as the date of the Life, the assertion of Walker [Walker, James Bernard, O.P., The “Chronicles” of Saint Antoninus: A Study in Historiography (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1933), 94Google Scholar] that Antoninus drew upon Castiglione's biography is not correct. Alison Frazier follows this suggestion as a basis to pose 1459, the year of Antoninus's death, as a terminus ante quem for Castiglione's vita. [Frazier, Possible Lives, 393.] But careful comparison of the texts shows that Castiglione drew on Antoninus, and not vice versa. I see, therefore, no reason to doubt a 1470 date for Castiglione's vita.

56 Frazier, Possible Lives, 38–39.

57 Castiglione, in Vincent Ferrer, Sermones de tempore et de sanctis, fol. a4v: “Id unum [miraculum?] est propter quod huius viri [Castiglione's informant] mentionem feci: quod pre magnitudine rei vix proferre audeo. Quod nisi hominem testem locupletem hunc de quo loquor presbiterum virum probum atque gravissimum non ausim profecto hoc loqui tanta est ipsius portenti novitas et miraculi excellentia” (my emphasis).

58 Ibid.: “non longe ab eo loco ubi vir sanctus et frequentissimus populus aderat duo scelesti viri vir mulierque in nephandissimo scelere deprehensi ad supplicium traherentur quo igni cremati tanti piaculi penas luerent.”

59 Ibid., fol. a4v–a5r (quotations from a5r): “Tantum enim conscientia reatus et compunctio admissi sceleris illos corrosit ut cum accessissent viri qui illos ad supplicium educerent nil preter ossa ipsa nuda consumptis carnibus et cute reperta sint . . . quin vir dei tantum spiritu et oratione potuerit ut illi non modo ab instanti supplicio et ignominia publica verum etiam ab omni pena quam in futura vita perpessuri erant sola compunctione cordis et brevi conscientie adustione liberati ad eternam requiem felicem quod patriam commigrarint.”

60 Ibid., fol. a4v: “Quod nisi hominem testem locupletem hunc de quo loquor presbiterum virum probum atque gravissimum non ausim profecto hoc loqui tanta est ipsius portenti novitas et miraculi excellentia. Sed hoc impossibile est hominibus possibile apud deum nec profecto falsum est verbum domini quod de credentibus in se dixit: Hec que ego facio et ipsi facient et maiora horum facient.” The example of Peter confirms this remark, for Castiglione: Jesus raised three dead persons; Peter, twelve or more.

61 Ibid., fol. a5r.

62 Ibid.: “. . . beatus Vincentius vir sanctissimus perpetuo celebs magister et predicator veritatis sit pro nobis perpetuus intercessor.”

63 He includes, also, after the story of the combusted criminals, the tale of the resuscitation of a four-year-old boy, whose birth to a long-barren mother had resulted from an initial vow to Vincent Ferrer. According to Castiglione, this miracle had happened “in our own times” in Bologna (fol. a5r). The story is very similar, however, to a miracle tale that appears in the Sicily/Lérida collection (the only post mortem miracle there), where it is set in “Tholetu” in Spain. (Pagano, “I ‘Miracoli’ inediti,” 367–70, miracle number 10). Antoninus also mentions this miracle as one of the three post mortem miracles coming from the “letter of canonization” (Chronicon, fol. CCIX verso): “Puer quidam quem mater facto voto ad beatum virum ex marito conceperat cum mortuus esset et per multas horas defunctus iacuisset deferentibus hominibus corpus eius ad sepeliendum mater ad sepulchrum sancti cucurrit cum lachrymis multis exorans sanctum vincentium ut sicut precibus suis obtinuerat ut ipsum conciperet et mundo pareret ita ipsum ad vitam huius seculi revocaret. Ipsa igitur matre super corpus filii sui defuncti miserabiliter lachrymante et vociferante revixit puer integram recuperans sanitatem qui ex infirmitate mortem incurrerat.”

64 Walberberg, BSA, MS 27, fol. 1–55.

65 Ibid., chapter 31, fol. 38r: “cappam super aquas extendit et facto signo crucis cum satio asendens ita sub pedibus suis quasi tabula substetit quod secure in christi nomine gurgitem illum pertransivit.”

66 Ibid., chapter 40, fol. 50v: “Hec que nunc retulimus fratribus ipse narravit eadem propriis occulis se aspexisse iure iurando sacrarum manuum firmiter aseverando contestatis.

67 Ibid., chapter 25, fol. 29v–31r.

68 The six are as follows: (1) Castelvetrano, S. Giovanni Battista, anonymous, Vincent Ferrer altarpiece (formerly at S. Domenico, according to Pagano, “I ‘Miracoli,’” 346–47, n. 5); reproduction, Kaftal, George, Iconography of the Saints in Central and South Italian Schools of Painting (Florence: Sansoni, 1965)Google Scholar, figures 1315, 1318, 1320, 1321, 1324, 1326, 1327, 1328, 1329, 1332, 1334, 1335; (2) Naples, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Colantonio, Vincent Ferrer altarpiece (formerly at S. Pietro Martire); reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in Central and South Italian Schools, figures 1316, 1317, 1319, 1322, 1325, 1330, 1331, 1333, 1336, 1337; Virdis, Caterina Limentani, Polittici (San Giovanni Lupatoto, Italy: Arsenale, 2001), 349–52Google Scholar; (3) London, National Gallery and Vatican, Pinacoteca, Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de' Roberti, Griffoni altarpiece (formerly at San Petronio, Bologna); reproduction, Kaftal, George and Bisogni, Fabio, Iconography of the Saints in the Painting of North East Italy (Florence: Sansoni, 1978)Google Scholar, figures 1384, 1390, 1392, 1393, 1396; (4) Venice, SS. Giovanni e Paolo, school of Giovanni Bellini, polyptych and predella panels; reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in North East Italy, figures 1389, 1394, 1395, 1397, 1398; (5) Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Oxford, Ashmolean, Bartolomeo degli Erri, polyptych (formerly at S. Domenico, Modena); reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in North East Italy, figures 1375, 1376, 1377, 1378, 1380, 1381, 1382, 1383, 1385, 1386, 1387, 1388, 1390; Benati, Daniele, La bottega degli Erri e la pittura del Rinascimento a Modena (Modena: Artioli Editore, 1988)Google Scholar, 143; and (6) Florence, Accademia, Giovanni Francesco da Rimini, altarpiece and predella panels (formerly at San Domenico del Maglio, Florence); reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in North East Italy, figure 1391. Only the fourth and sixth cycles lack a depiction of the chopped-up baby story. The cycle from Castelvetrano in Sicily represents Vincent's miraculous multiplication of bread and wine, while stained-glass windows in Saint-Lô show the miraculous healing of a local boy: Castelvetrano, S. Giovanni Battista, anonymous, Vincent Ferrer altarpiece; reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in Central and South Italian Schools, figure 1327; and Saint-Lô, cathedral, Chapel of St. Thomas, stained glass; reproduction, Jacqueline, B., “Trois scenes de la vie de saint Vincent Ferrier dans un vitrail de Notre-Dame de Saint-Lô (XVe siècle),” Archivium fratrum praedicatorum 49 (1979): 133–44Google Scholar. The altarpiece painted for the Dominican church in Modena depicts a dramatic miracle narrated by Ranzano and also found in the Sicily/Lerida collection, in which three devils in the form of wild horses threaten to disrupt one of Vincent's sermons: Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Bartolomeo degli Erri, polyptych (formerly at S. Domenico, Modena); reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in North East Italy, figure 1388. Other favored scenes include healings of the sick, exorcisms, and the vision of Christ that miraculously cured Vincent himself.

69 Florence, Stibbert Museum, no. 834, School of Domenico Ghirlandaio, panel; reproduction, Kaftal, George, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting (Florence: Sansoni, 1952)Google Scholar, figure 1149; Gubbio, S. Domenico, school of O. Nelli, fresco; reproduction, Kaftal, Saints in Central and South Italian Schools, figure 1323.

70 Woodcut: Sanctus Vincencius doctor ordinis predicatorum (Schreiber 1729; formerly in Leipzig Universitätsbibliothek, missing since World War II); reproduction, Cohn, Werner, Holz- und Metallschnitte aus öffentlichen Sammlungen und Bibliotheken in Hannover, Koblenz, Köln, Leipzig, und Lüneberg (Strassburg: J. H. Ed. Heitz, 1835)Google Scholar = volume 86 of Paul Heitz, Einblattdrucke des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts, number 16. Illuminated initials: Colmar, Bibliothèque municipale, Ferrer, Vincent, Sermonis de tempore et de sanctis (Cologne: Quentell, 1487)Google Scholar (Hain 7002, GW 9836), coté IV/8798, Pars III (initial D) and coté G/1614, t. I (initial B); reproductions, Heck, Christian, “Saint Vincent Ferrier dans des miniatures et un manuscript inédits du XVe siècle,” Annuaire de la Société d'Histoire et d'Archéologie de Colmar 27 (1978): 6368Google Scholar, figures 1 and 5.

71 That is, the cycle by Colantonio from Naples, a place with strong ties to Pietro Ranzano, and the cycle by Bartolomeo degli Erri from Modena (now in Vienna and the Ashmolean).

72 Ditchfield, Simon, “Martyrs on the Move: Relics as Vindicators of Local Diversity in the Tridentine Church,” in Martyrs and Martyrologies: Papers Read at the 1992 Summer Meeting and the 1993 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, Studies in Church History 30 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993)Google Scholar, 284, 292–93; see also his Liturgy, Sanctity and History in Tridentine Italy: Pietro Maria Campi and the Preservation of the Particular (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)Google Scholar.

73 Antist, V. Justiniano, La vida e historia del apostólico predicador Sant Vicente Ferrer, Valenciano, de la Orden de Santo Domingo (Valencia: Pedro de Huete, 1575)Google Scholar, in Biografía y escritos de San Vicente Ferrer, ed. Garganta, , and Forcada, , 87334Google Scholar. Examples of Antist's citing his manuscript of the canonization inquests and noting the social status of the witnesses to a miracle: the resuscitation of the Breton archer Johannes Guerre, see Antist, Vida de San Vicente Ferrer, part 2, chapter 9, 275–76; the resuscitation of a Breton abbot's nephew, ibid., chapter 9, 277–78.

74 Ibid., part 2, ch. 37, 322–23: “Aunque en todo este libro he curado muy poco de allegar una breve historia que anda impresa de la vida de este Santo por la poco diligencia de su autor en averiguar cosas antiguas pero en unos milagros que trae hechos aquí en Valencia en tiempos de nuestros padres y abuelos, le doy mucho crédito porque van bien referidos y antes que se imprimiesen fueron examinados por personas que pudieron fácilmente comprobar su verdad” (my emphasis).

75 Diago, Francisco, Historia de la vida, milagros, muerte y discípulos del bienaventurado Predicador Apostólico valenciano S. Vicente Ferrer (Barcelona: Gabriel Graells y Giraldo Dotil, 1600; facsimile: Valencia: Paris-Valencia S.L., 2001)Google Scholar.

76 Diago, Historia, book 1, chapter 2, 23–25, citing a family memoir translated from Limousin into Castilian: “En el año (dize la memoria traduzida de lemosin en castellano) de 1350 y nueve Miguel Garrigues especiero, que tenia un hijo suyo llamado Antonio Garrigues de edad de cinco años enferma de unas apostemaciones en el cuello, teniendo noticia de la Santidad y de las maravillosas cosas que se dezian del hijo de Guillermo Ferrer notario . . . procuro llevar a Vincente Ferrer hijo del dicho para que le tocasse el mal, teniendo por fe que le avia de curar . . . . [L]e toco la apostemacion y se la lamio con la lengua. Y encontinente Antonio Garrigues fue hecho sano.”

77 He mentions miracles worked for a woman named “Dona Angela” in 1574; a donzella named Isabel Iuan Çamora in 1588; and Dona Beatriz de Çanoguera, wife of a cavallero and current jurado of Valencia: Diago, Historia, book 1, chapter 39, 447–54.

78 de Valdecebro, Andrés Ferrer, Historia de la vida maravillosa y admirable del segundo Pablo apostol de Valencia S. Vicente Ferrer (Madrid: Manuel de Sancha, 1781)Google Scholar; the original edition was Madrid: Matheo de Llanos, 1682. He refers to Vincent as “mi Santo Pariente San Vicente Ferrer”: Ferrer de Valdecebro, Historia de la vida maravillosa, “Al que leyere” (unpaginated).

79 Ferrer de Valdecebro, Historia de la vida maravillosa, “Al que leyere”: “la vida es para imitar, los milagros para admirar; y de la admiracion no se saca ningun provecho, de la imitacion muchos.”

80 Ibid., “Santa y devota receta, que dejó San Vicente Ferrer, para que las que son esteriles tengan fruto de benedicion” [unpaginated]: “Dejó dispuesto pues el Santo glorioso, para que le tengan las que son esteriles, lo siguiente: Que vivan bien, y procuren no pecar, y que no nieguen el debito à sus maridos, que se ofrezcan à Dios por la mañana, rezando el Credo, y por la tarde el Rosario de Maria Santisima todos los dias, y que lean las que supieren leer el Psalm. 127. que es: Beati omnes qui timent Dominum; y las que no supieren leer, hagan que se lo lean, y lo oygan con atencion, que alli ofrece el Serenisimo Rey David que serán fecundas como vides las mugeres; tendrán hijos como renuevos de olivos, y verán con paz y abundancia à los hijos de sus hijos.” As Ferrer de Valdecedbro notes, the Psalm promises those who fear the Lord will be rewarded: “Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house.” (Ps. 127:3, Douay-Reims translation).

81 Ibid.: “[El] ultimo [de milagros en mugeres esteriles] que este año pasado hizo en la Excelentisima Señora Condesa de Oropesa, es manifesto en toda España.”

82 Collins, David J., “Albertus, Magnus, or Magus? Magic, Natural Philosophy, and Religious Reform in the Late Middle Ages,” Renaissance Quarterly 63, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 27CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.

83 As André Vauchez reminds us, what defined a miracle for scholastic theologians was as much its utility as its supernatural character. So, for Albertus Magnus, an authentic miracle was one that strengthened the faith and that contained an invocation of God before it was effected. Vauchez, La sainteté, 579.

84 Gerson, De distinctione verarum visionum a falsis, quoted in Caciola, Nancy, Discerning Spirits: Divine and Demonic Possession in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2003)Google Scholar, 290.

85 Daston, “Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence,” 118–19.

86 Castiglione, in Vincent Ferrer, Sermones de tempore et de sanctis, fol. a4v: “Hec que ego facio et ipsi facient et maiora horum facient” (my emphasis).