Medical doctors often appear in late medieval canonization processes: sometimes they give testimony to miracles they have assisted or from which they benefited themselves; sometimes they testify to fama sanctitatis. Most often, however, they are professionals verifying the symptoms of a patient. The process to evaluate the sanctity of Augustinian hermit Nicholas of Tolentino (1245-1305) is no exception to this. Medical doctor was the most represented profession. These canonization records are a written outcome of an enquiry of papal commissioners; they are preserved in two manuscripts. The commissioners were appointed by Pope John XXII; the hearing took three months and it was carried out in five cities of the Marches of Ancona (Tolentino, Macerata, Camerino, San Ginesio, and San Severino). To pursue the canonization of Nicholas of Tolentino, men and women testified to his pious life as well as miracles performed by him. Altogether, 365 witnesses (196 men and 169 women) were interrogated and 371 depositions recorded. According to the witnesses, Nicholas had performed 26 miracles in vita and 280 post mortem. The depositions formed a large record, which reached the papal curia in Avignon on 5 December 1326.
In this process, the word medicus occurs 205 times, eight times more often than notarius. In addition, there are 35 occurrences of the word medicina (referring to remedy or cure, but also to medicine), six occurrences of medicamentum, and two of medicalus. Medicus is associated with magister in 32 cases, and the terms consilio, auxilio, rogare, mandare, curare, volere, and diffidare define its lexical environment. These terms reveal the hoped-for function of a doctor's presence in canonization processes; he is a witness, but particularly a practitioner, who tried – in vain – to cure the patient.
The marked presence of doctors testifies to the highly elaborate management of medicine in the episcopal cities of Camerino and Macerata, as well as the quasi città, villae, terrae, or castra of the area in the first half of the fourteenth century. Respectively, it also testifies to the elevated social position of the witnesses in this process. This enables the measuring of the gains of these doctors. It would be much harder, however, to estimate their competence, since in canonization processes – contrary to many other contemporary sources – their work ends in failure.