by Raymond de Sabanac and Simone Zanacchi
edited by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Bruce L. Venarde
translated by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Bruce L. Venarde
Iter Press, 2010
Paper: 978-0-7727-2057-3 | eISBN: 978-0-7727-2058-0
Library of Congress Classification BX4705.C7735T86 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 282.0922

The Great Schism (1378–1417) divided Western Christendom into two groups: those who recognized a pope in Rome and those who recognized one in Avignon. It was a crisis of authority that brought with it spiritual anxiety and political uproar. This book presents the responses of two fascinating women whose experiences demonstrate the impact of the Schism on ordinary Christians. Constance de Rabastens (active 1384–1386), who lived in a village in rural Languedoc, had dramatic visions indicting the Avignon pope Clement VII, despite his being recognized in her region. Ursulina of Parma (1375–1408), a diminutive young woman from an urban milieu in Italy, believed that she was commanded by Christ to engage in shuttle diplomacy between the Roman and Avignon papacies in order to end the Schism. Two Women of the Great Schism translates an account of Constance’s visionary experiences as recorded by her confessor Raymond de Sabanac and a posthumous biography of Ursulina by Simone Zanacchi, a pious abbot who wrote some sixty years after his subject’s death. These texts bring to life the extraordinary spiritual and political engagement of two late medieval women who refused to be passive bystanders as rival papal factions tore Christendom apart.