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Beyond the Bulls: The Life and Afterlives of St. Francisco Solano. Unravelling the First Canonisation Process in the New World

Citation: Piccone camere, Carlos (2023) Beyond the Bulls: The Life and Afterlives of St. Francisco Solano. Unravelling the First Canonisation Process in the New World. Doctoral thesis, School of Advanced Study.

Piccone Camere, Carlos_Thesis_Final.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

From a critical historical approach, this manuscript examines the phenomenon of sanctity in colonial Peru and its relationship with politics and power, focusing its attention on the process of canonisation of Francisco Solano, OFM (Montilla, 1549 – Lima 1610), the first to be introduced before the Holy See from America. As Solano’s reputation for sanctity spread, and after an auspicious opening of his diocesan process, the expectations of his sponsors and devotees increased. In fact, Solano’s profile met all the prototypical elements to be expeditiously canonised: he was a Spaniard subject of noble origins, an observant religious priest, a zealous pastor, a tireless missionary, and a mystic granted with thaumaturgical powers; so potentially the strongest candidate for being officially declared as the first saint of the New World. By answering the overarching question of why Solano was not immediately chosen, this study seeks to move “beyond the bulls” —beyond the official documentary sources. By doing so, Solano’s process is placed within the context of changes to the criteria for canonisation, highly influenced by the politics of the papacy, Spanish empire, and Creole elites at the time.

Hence, each of the five chapters will illustrate the multi-layered nature of sainthood proposed by the Roman Catholic Church in the early modern period, aiming to show where the process of Solano is located in the history of canonisation’s landscape (Chapter 1), which were his main biographical and hagiographical features (Chapter 2), how was the model of sanctity presented by the Catholic Church in his time (Chapter 3), who were the protagonists behind Solano’s bulls of beatification and canonisation Chapter 4), and what could be read between the lines of these official documents (Chapter 5). This study argues that Solano’s process of canonisation is an underexplored source that holds a unique opportunity for research to understand both the history of colonial Lima and its wider connections at particular points in time, as well as the importance to the process of canonisation in the interplay of politics at many levels —papal, imperial, and local.

Creators: Piccone camere, Carlos and
Subjects: History
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Keywords: Church history, Catholicism, Colonial Peru, Spanish early modernity, Canonisation, Sanctity
Divisions: Institute of Languages, Cultures & Societies
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • 31 July 2023 (accepted)


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