By Timothy G. Pearson
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The reform of the Church begun at Trent was generally quickly embraced in southern Europe and coincided with overseas colonial expansion and extensive missionary efforts in Spanish and Portuguese territories. In northern Europe, however, the dynastic quarrels and spiritual tumult caused by the embrace of Protestantism eventually prompted religious dissenters of many stripes to look upon the new world as a promised land of religious freedom. France, in many ways caught between these extremes, was slow to implement the decrees of Trent and also to develop a sustained colonial interest.
42 Martin’s work and others like it stand out for the amount of detail they relate, and the practice of employing their subjects’ own writings as primary source material. Such biographies preserved on a large scale the autographic writings of female holy persons that might otherwise have been lost. Sadly, such works from New France are rare – limited to just two examples, this one and a life of the hospital nun Catherine de Saint-Augustin, discussed in chapter five. 43 The faith community of New France, as we shall see, also had their own ways of engaging with these holy women without the mediation of texts that were not, at any rate, written for them.
With the creation of the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1588, Rome instituted a multi-step process for investigating the lives and deaths of candidates for canonization. indd 23 2014-06-03 13:13:45 24 Becoming Holy in Early Canada candidates. Investigations were henceforth to be based on legal principles – the need to prove sanctity according to the terms of Canon Law. All candidates except for martyrs had to satisfy three general requirements: doctrinal purity, heroic virtue, and miraculous intercession after death.