Jacopone Da Todi

c.1230-1306. Franciscan monk and poet. Born into nobility, he studied law at Bologna and became a wealthy lawyer in his hometown. After the tragic death of his wife, he experienced spiritual conversion and repentance, donated his wealth to the poor, and became a lay brother. He supported the “Spirituals,” with the cardinals Peter and Jacob Colonna and Angelo Clareno, in their opposition to papal opulence and political machinations. Boniface VIII excommunicated and imprisoned him in 1298. He was released in 1303. Jacopone is the mystic who gave to Italian poetry its sharpest notes of religious experience. His two great works are the hymns Laude (“hymns of praise”) and Stabat mater dolorosa (“the sorrowing mother stood”). He has long been called “blessed” in Todi, but the Congregation of Sacred Rites refuses to consider his beatification, probably due to his sarcastic treatment of Boniface VIII in Laude.