Bellinzaga, Isabella Cristina (Lomazzi)

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Author of a controversial book on the spiritual life;b. Milan, 1551; d. there, Jan. 26, 1624. Lomazzi was her family name; Bellinzaga, the name of the maternal uncle who adopted her. In 1584 she made a private vow to follow the spiritual direction of the Jesuits. Under the guidance of Achille gagliardi, and perhaps with his collaboration, she wrote between 1584 and 1594 her little book, Breve compendio intorno alla perfezione cristiana (Brescia 1611), better known in its French translation as Abrégé de la perfection (Paris 1596). Its central thesis is that perfection consists principally in contempt of all created things, especially self, and in determination to die rather than offend God. That she makes three stages of perfection correspond to increasing passivity of the will caused the book to be suspected of quietism; it was placed on the Index from 1703 until 1900. Going through numerous editions and translated also into German, Dutch, and Spanish, the Breve compendio exercised considerable influence on subsequent spiritual writers, including in France, Pierre de bÉrulle, the Capuchin laurent de paris, the Dominican Antoine du Saint-Sacrement, and the Jesuits Jean Joseph surin and Jean rigoleuc; in Italy, the Basiltan Giuseppe de Camillis and Miguel de molinos.

Bibliography: h. brÉmond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment réligieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 191136) 11:3-16. m. viller, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique: Doctrine et histoire (Paris 1932 ) 1:1940-42.

[m. s. conlan]

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Bellinzaga, Isabella Cristina (Lomazzi)

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