Pope John Paul II famously canonised more saints than all his predecessors combined. Several of these candidates were controversial. To this day there remain holy men and women "on the books" of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints whose canonisation would provoke considerable debate. This was no less true during the period covered in this pioneering study by renowned medieval historian Ronald C. Finucane.This work, which forms an important bridge between medieval and Counter-Reformation sanctity and canonisation, provides a richly contextualised analysis of the ways in which the last five candidates for sainthood before the Reformation came to be canonised. Finucane uncovers the complex interplay of factors that lay behind the success of such campaigns; success that could never be taken for granted, even when the candidate's holy credentials appeared uncontroversial and his backers politically powerful.Written by a master of the historical craft whose studies on miracles and popular religion for the high Middle Ages have long been an important point of reference for students, this work presents brilliantly reconstructed case studies of the last five successful canonisation petitions of the Middle Ages: Bonaventure, Leopold of Austria, Francis of Paola, Antoninus of Florence, and Benno of Meissen.
Ronald Finucane died at the height of his critical powers in 2009, shortly after he submitted this work for publication. Distinguished professor of history at Oakland University, he was the author of four books including Miracles and Pilgrims: Popular Beliefs in Medieval England and Soldiers of the Faith: Crusaders and Moslems at War, both History Book Club selections.