Analysis of Angela Da Foligno Memorial: Devotion

CELEBRAZIONE EUCARISTICA 4 gennaio Sant'Angela da Foligno
Portrait of St. Angela Da Foligno

While reading Angela Da Foligno’s Memorial, it was easy to feel and vividly experience the devotion that she felt towards God. Particularly in Step Six, she uses terms such as “illuminating grace” to describe what she faced during this step. Here, she was presented with all of her sins, begging the “creatures” to not “accuse” her. Throughout Steps Eight and Nine, you can also envision this. Not only did she feel guilt and remorse for the way that Jesus died on the cross, but she also took it upon herself to offer herself to him, including the removal of her clothing. She wanted to “give my [her] heart to christ” because of all the good that he accomplished for her, something that only one with true devotion to God and Jesus would bear to do.

Le Sante: La Guaritrice e La Guerriera

Caterina da Siena è una figura che causa molta intriga. Nella sua lettera al Papa Gregorio XI la Santa fa molte richieste. Una delle più evidenti è stata la richiesta del ritorno del Papa a Roma da Avignone. Cosa che alla fine fa il Papa. Il misticismo e il conseguente seguito che la circondava da giovane è forse un forte motivo per cui Caterina da Siena si sente così privilegiata a fare richieste del genere ad una figura così importante come il Papa. Un comportamento volitivo completamente al di là delle aspettative di una donna dell´epoca. Leggendo la sua lettera a Gregorio XI non si può fare meno che ricordarsi d´un altra santa, pero una d´aspetto guerriero cioè Giovanna d´Arco. Come Caterina da Siena anche Giovanna d´Arco scrisse colui che poi sarebbe diventato re di Francia, Carlo VII, chiedendo azione contro la minaccia inglese a Orleans, suppliche che il re ascolta e la manda in battagli contro gli inglesi. Molto simile c´è il fatto che tutte e due le sante avevano visioni e sembrava che avessero un rapporto speciale con Dio; la differenza principale tra di loro è che Caterina da Siena è una santa guaritrice e Giovanna d´Arco è una santa guerriera.

Angela da Foligno Analysis: Step Two

Interacting with Angela da Foligno’s steps to form a close alliance with God, was very interesting.  The text was very informative and relatable from a spiritual and religious perspective. The language used in the text was very lively and created vivid imagery/messages . As a person of the Catholic faith I relate greatly with  the part of the text in which step two is spoken about, confession is one of the biggest steps on your journey to get closer to God. The descriptive language used to describe how one feels before confession is very impactful, “The second step is a confession of sin accompanied by shame and bitterness. At this point the soul feels no love, only pain. “ Opening up about the feelings and thoughts she experienced because of the fact her soul needed the spiritual healing and connection of God. 

Angela da Foligno Analysis

While reading Angela da Foligno’s memorial, I noticed that a lot of what she said in her steps of repenting her sins showed guilt, pain, and she seemed kind of remorseful. For instance, in steps 8 and 10, she talked about how she became aware of her sins with great pain, and understanding. She stated that God had rescued her from her sins and hell, but that in a way she feel like she crucified him. Angela paints a picture in our minds when she states “….he appeared hanging on the cross. He told me that I should look at his wounds”…” He showed me all that He endured” etc. It was her way of showing us that God had gone through a ton, being sacrificed for her sins, but that she was still reminded of them when he states “All this I endured for you.”

Angela da Foligno: Willed

In The Memorial, Angela’s transcendental journey is disclosed to us through various steps, where we see her devotion grow as she moves further along. During the ninth step, Angela reveals some of the things that she abstained from and some of the things that she integrated into her daily life in order to strengthen her relationship with God. Once “the path to the cross” became clear to her, Angela started to reject “fine food, fancy clothing and head dresses.” In addition, she also stripped herself in a literal and metaphorical sense which strongly indicates her drive to follow God, regardless of society’s view on what is scandalous or not.

Angela da Foligno: Guilt

Angela da Foligno

In this painting, Angela da Foligno is shown holding onto a cross tenderly and revealing the mystic scars on each of her palms. On her face, is a rather guilty expression, which is further explained in The Memorial of Angela da Foligno. She says that at the seventh step of her spiritual development, she was “moved to reflect on the cross” which brought about a lot of pain. During the eighth step, Angela became aware of her sins all over again while looking at the cross, feeling as though she had crucified Jesus herself. I imagine that because the cross serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that Christ made for the betterment of humanity, the guilt that Angela was feeling only increased.

Angela da Foligno

Angela of Foligno - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia
Saint Angela of Foligno

Reading Angela da Foligno’s steps of penance was very interesting to me. It was very different to our previous readings, as this one felt the closest to god. It was very spiritual, and felt “separated” from being human, if that’s the right way to put it. The language felt different. An example of this would be the sixth step where she talks about acknowledging her sins. She uses very spiritual language when describing her experiences. She called her knowledge of her sins as an “illuminating grace”. Another small detail that was interesting to me was when she described her love as fire, which reminds me of Dante’s inferno, full of fire representative of life, full of strong emotion.

Angela da Foligno: Step Fourteen

Angela Da Foligno’s story has amazing imagery that came through very strongly. In her story, she talks about the steps it took that made her closer to God. In my opinion, the step that had the best imagery was step number fourteen. Angela talks about how Jesus spoke to her and gave her a greater knowledge of himself. Angela states, “He summoned me and told me to place my mouth at the wound in his side; and it seemed to me that I was seeing and drinking his blood as it was freshly flowing from his side.” This particular quote from Memorial of Angela da Foligno was very significant to me because of how integrated the details were. After she drunk his blood, he told her that it was cleansing her, which is also another detail that was very notable because of how squirmy it made me. I also enjoyed how she told this as a story and explained the step by step process of how this gruesome event happened. It helps me as the reader create a scene and setting for the words on the paper, like a movie in my head.

Angela da Foligno’s Memorial Analysis

St. Angela of Foligno by mephetti

In Angela da Foligno’s Memorial, she writes about her devoted journey to becoming closer to God and repenting her sins. She writes out her journey into steps. When describing her experience during the fourteenth step, Angela writes graphic details about what God told her to do. In the first paragraph on page 29, Angela says that God is telling her to drink the blood from his side wound. She says that his blood is cleansing her. This is very bloody and graphic imagery. Angela enhances this imagery by describing the blood from his wound as “freshly flowing”. In reality, the image she portrays in her writing is difficult to visualize based on the human experience. In the second paragraph, she tells us about asking God to pour out the blood in her body so that she can “ suffer a death more vile than his”.  This demonstrates Angela’s level of devotion to God.

Angela da Foligno Analysis:

One part of Angela da Foligno’s Memorial that interested me was on page 29, where Angela states that she wishes to die a “vile death”. This took place during the 14th step, where begins to wish that she could be “rightfully killed for faith in Him or love of Him”, as she wants to die for Jesus as he died for humanity. She then elaborates, stating that she wished to be crucified like Jesus was, but to be put in a ditch by her killer since she’s “not worthy to die as saints die”. She closes off this step by repeatedly saying how she wants her death to be horrid and long, and how it pains her that she “could not find a vile death”. 

This part in particular interested me because over the course of this text, we see Angela’s self-worth completely diminish as she continues to devote herself to God. It starts off with wanting to give her things to the poor, then escalates to her not eating or drinking, then finally ending with her wishing to die and (literally) give her life to God. It seems as though over the course of cleansing her soul, Angela’s become desensitized to death. We first see this perspective in the beginning of page 27, as she informs the scribe about the deaths of her mother, husband, and children. While this would be tragic to most, she seems unphased by this as she believes “God accomplished these things for me”, which makes it clear that she puts her utmost trust in God and believes that he does everything for a reason. Her apathy towards death progresses and this is where we see Angela wish for a “vile death”, which shows that not even death cannot waver her sense of trust in God or her desire to cleanse her soul.