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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

If Protestant reformers mocked the cult of the saints, Catholics in the century or so after the Council of Trent (1546–1563) not only reaffirmed the centrality of saints in their lives, but also recognized and celebrated holy women and men more than ever, including those formally recognized by the church (the beatified or canonized). Visual representations of the saints filled Catholic spaces and imaginations: saints were seen as valued intercessors or advocates with the divine, and as exemplars of how one ought to live one’s life. This article pays particular attention to case studies of Baroque models of sainthood, models honoring and privileging an exuberant piety of self-denial and self-giving. Baroque saints were women and men who, with the help of grace, chose light over darkness, good over evil, and persevered in those choices no matter the cost or consequences in this world. Baroques models of holiness developed both in Europe and also in what were “new” and strange lands for Europeans.

Keywords: beatification, canonization, conversion, Council of Trent, discipleship, grace, image, imagination, incarnation, intercessor, martyr, mission, missionary

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