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Publisher's Summary

In 1858 a German princess who had been recently inducted into the convent of Sant'Ambrogio in Rome wrote a frantic letter to her cousin, a confidant of the Pope, claiming that she was being abused and that she feared for her life. What the subsequent investigation by the Church's Inquisition uncovered were the extraordinary secrets of Sant'Ambrogio and the illicit behavior of the convent's beautiful, young mistress, Maria Luisa. Having convinced those under her charge that she was having regular visions and heavenly visitations, Maria Luisa began to lead and coerce her novices into lesbian initiation rites and heresies. She entered into a highly eroticized relationship with a young theologian known as Padre Peters, urging him to dispense upon her, in the privacy and sanctity of the confessional box, what the two of them referred to as the "special blessing".

What emerges through the fog of centuries is a sex scandal of ecclesiastical significance, skillfully brought to light and vividly reconstructed in scholarly detail. Offering a broad historical background on female mystics and the cult of the Virgin Mary, and drawing on written testimony and original documents, Hubert Wolf tells the incredible story of how one woman was able to perpetrate deception, heresy, seduction, and murder in the heart of the Church itself.

©2013 Verlag C. H. Beck oHG (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This sordid tale of sexual indecency, false saints, and murder within a 19th-century convent in Rome has all the trappings of a good thriller." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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OMG so boring

Even as a religious scholar (studied at Harvard Div), I was expecting a far less narrative. This puts me to sleep within 30 minutes every time I try to listen.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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good. interesting.

it goes on for quite a bit. If you're into history, you'll really like it. But the names and places are a bit tricky to follow, so you must focus on the info. it is nice and scandalous though ;)

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So boring.

I couldn't get through much without giving up. I appreciate many genres, including nonfiction and history generally, but this is unbearable.