Monna Lapa

By Alessandro Franchi (1893-1896) [Public domain]

As Catherine’s mother, there is a wealth of information available about her life through Raymond of Capua’s hagiography. Many of the earliest stories of Catherine that Raymond of Capua aqcuired came from Monna Lapa. Monna Lapa did not agree with Catherine’s lifestyle for years and still struggled against Catherine’s will after 1374 when Catherine became more public in her actions. Eventually Monna Lapa joined Catherine on her travels and grew accustomed to the spiritual lifestyle. After Catherine’s death in 1380, Monna Lapa officially joined the Mantellate group and lived for at least five more years. The relationship between mother and daughter was filled with tension as Monna Lapa wished Catherine to marry and she refused her mother’s wish. The relationship is best seen through the hagiographical accounts of Catherine’s life, although there are a few letters addressed to Monna Lapa that also provide evidence for their often apprehensive relationship.