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Andrew Corsini

(1302—1373)


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(1302–73),

bishop of Fiesole. Andrew was born a member of the noble Florentine family of Corsini. After a somewhat dissolute youth he became a Carmelite friar in Florence in 1318. Ordained priest in 1328, he offered his first Mass in a hermitage to avoid the customary family celebrations. After preaching in Florence for a short time, he was sent to study in Paris for three years and completed his studies under the direction of his uncle, a cardinal at Avignon. Back in Florence he was soon chosen prior of his community, whose church, situated in the artisan area of the town, was subsequently enriched by Masaccio's paintings of the life of St Peter. Here Andrew preached to great effect and acquired a reputation for healing both souls and bodies. One spectacular conversion due to him was that of a cousin who had been a notorious gambler. When the bishop of nearby Fiesole died in 1360, Andrew was chosen to succeed him.

His standard regime in this small but ancient see was one of strictness, poverty, and peace-making. He would seek out the poor who needed help but were ashamed to ask for it; he would also wash their feet every Thursday. His special talent for making peace among frequent civil disturbances was given new opportunities when the pope sent him as nuncio to Bologna, where the nobility and the common people were bitterly divided. Andrew was an ideal mediator as his family connections linked him to the former, while his life of poverty as a friar made him acceptable to the latter. On his return to Fiesole he was taken ill on Christmas night and died on the feast of the Epiphany (6 January). He was buried in the Carmelite church in Florence. He was canonized in 1629. Feast: 4 February.

H.S.S.C., vii. 27; Lives by S. Mattei (1872) and P. Caioli (1929);B.L.S., i. 45–6.

Subjects: Christianity.


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