The Nuns of Sant´ Ambrogio: the true Story of a Convent in Scandal

© C. H. Beck

Hubert Wolf reconstructs the trial against “The Nuns of Sant´Ambrogio” in his new book. The attempted murder of an aristocratic nun in the Roman convent of Sant’Ambrogio triggered an inquisitorial investigation, the development of which exceeded all the judges’ fears: nuns who fell into peculiar conditions hovering between sexual and mystical ecstasy, novices who were raped, confessors who blessed via French kissing, suspicious persons who were got rid of – all this turned out to have happened for decades and for the greater glory of God and the Virgin Mary. The site of these events was only a stone’s throw away from the Vatican, and important guests repeatedly stayed overnight and protected the convent.

The records of this unparalleled inquisitorial investigation were to disappear into the depths of the Vatican archives forever. Nobody could know that they were going to be made accessible to research a hundred years later – and that Hubert Wolf would track them down. He reconstructs the trial against the nuns and the confessors from the meticulous transcripts, thus revealing Sant’Ambrogio’s secret, which, due to the direct involvement of the Vatican’s top theologians and the Pope himself, continues to have explosive power until today.

Literature: Wolf, Hubert: Die Nonnen von Sant‘Ambrogio. Eine wahre Geschichte, München: C. H. Beck, 4th edition 2013.

French edition: Le Vice et la Grâce. L'affaire des religieuses de Sant'Ambrogio, Paris: Éditions du Seuil 2013.
Italian edition: Il vizio e la grazia. Lo scandalo delle monache di Sant’Ambrogio, Milan: Libri Mondadori 2015.
English edition (UK): The Nuns of Sant’ Ambrogio: the True Story of a Convent in Scandal, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015.
English edition (US): The Nuns of Sant’ Ambrogio: the True Story of a Convent in Scandal, New York: Penguin Random House 2016.
Korean edition: 성 암브로시오 성당의 수녀들 1858년 하느님의 성전에서 벌어진 최초의 종교 스캔들, Seoul: Sigma Books 2016.