My meeting with Sister Arcangela Tarabotti, born Elena Cassandra Tarabotti, dates back to more than ten years ago when I graduated on Arcangela thanks to Professor Conti Odorisio, who for those who do not know her is one of the greatest scholars and experts of Women's Studies in Europe.
The passion that came from that meeting is still alive and could not be otherwise seen the character in question. I "fell in love" with Arcangela Tarabotti for the strength of her words which in some of her writings became vehemence in defending female dignity.
Arcangela Tarabotti, born in Venice in 1604 and still little more than a child is destined to the convent by her parents probably because of a physical defect, she was in fact limping, or because the older sister in this way gave the Tarabotti family the opportunity to procrastinate the gifts of the other daughters smaller than Elena, however the fact is that the practice of "forced monacations" was a practice much in use at that time and was tolerated by both the Government and the Curia.
Arcangela took her vows when was a teenager and will remember the rite of passage in her writings still as an adult always speaks of it with a sense of desperation for the condition of "forced", a sense of oppression that will never abandon her in the course of her life, sacrificed inside a Benedictine monastery, that of Sant'Anna. Sister Arcangela, however, will also always remember the betrayal suffered by her parents who had forced her to shut down a cloister for life and in her work "The deceived simplicity" uses the metaphor of an unsuspecting and trusting little bird who instead of fluing in the air is caught in a network and trapped.
|Santa Anna Convent when in 1617 |
Elena become nun as Arcangela.
Credits: Didier Descouens
Arcangela retraces its path considering the economic and social aspects that bring so many desperate in convents and monasteries; starting from his condition he finds socio-economic motivations, as we would say today, concerning the entire Venetian Baroque society. Can understand and highlight the reasons that lead the Venetian government and its citizens to a practice so hateful for their daughters but also in the eyes of God, in fact Arcangela also stresses the responsibilities that the Church, despite the Council of Trent, demonstrates in this custom.
Sister Arcangela gives voice to her malaise and discomfort but not only she "avenge" in fact all the unfortunates like her, who does not remember the nun of Monza by Manzoni?, and even more she uses the same verses of the Holy Scriptures to defend women, all women from misogynist attacks that at the time were poured out on women, all of them, as such, that is, inferior beings born only to serve man.
Arcangela Tarabotti has gone down in history as Sister Arcangela but she thought she was just and simply Elena who wanted to be: "A wandering star" and I tried to gather her testimony of a woman and bring her voice beyond her time ...
So for Wikidonne, the Italian project of Wikipedia to reduce the gender gap presents in the encyclopedic entries edited by users, historians, academics, journalists, teachers, writers ... I edited the encyclopedic voice that concerns her while my last contribution is for the blog "Women's History Network" edited by some academics of English universities that deal with Women's Studies: "Arcangela Tarabotti, Elena Cassandra: afeminist Venetian Republic Nun".