Who was the Piccarda?
Piccarda Donati was the sister of Corso and Dante’s close friend Forese Donati. She was a noble woman in the 13th century and her character appears in Dante’s great epic poem The Divine Comedy written in early 1300.
The souls in Heaven are so beautiful, so pure that they fail to resemble their earthy selves. Piccarda was the only soul, Dante recognized without aid.
Dante first encounters Piccarda Donati in the Sphere of the Moon, which is the lowest placement of Heaven (Purgatory) and assigned to those, who for one reason or another did not maintain their religious vows.
Piccarda was a nun and belonged to the POOR CLAIRES order. Her brother Corso forcibly removed her from the convent in order to marry his henchman Rossellino della Tosa, for self-serving political reasons. She died soon after this marriage. In her acquiescence to her brother’s wishes, though forced, she neglected her vows to God.
When Dante asked her if she would like to be placed in higher Sphere, her answer was no, if she desired to be higher in heaven, then her wish would differ from God’s will. She rejoices in her placement.