Mary Doyno

Mary Doyno

CRIA Fellow
Catherine’s Daughters: Female Penitents, Thomas Caffarini, and the Creation of the Dominican Third Order


Mary Harvey Doyno received her PhD from Columbia University and is an assistant professor in the Humanities and Religious Studies department at Sacramento State University. Her research focuses on sanctity, lay religion, and religious authority in late medieval and early modern Italian cities. Her work has appeared in Past & Present, Common Knowledge and History Compass. Her first monograph, The Lay Saint: Charity and Charismatic Authority in Medieval Italy, 1150-1350, will be published by Cornell University Press in September 2019.

Project Summary

Catherine of Siena’s reputation as mystic, prophet, and papal advisor is well established. Less known is her membership in a community of female lay penitents. Catherine’s Daughters will offer a history of Catherine’s community and consider the influence such communities had on the creation of a Dominican institutional identity. Between 1400 and 1418, the Dominican friar Thomas Caffarini produced a dizzying amount of text that aimed both to earn Catherine’s canonization and to minimize her connection to her fellow penitents. By returning Catherine to her full religious context, this project explores how Dominican attitudes toward female lay penitents shaped the building of their order.