Lorenzo Polizzotto examines the educational, religious, political, and philanthropic practices of the Florentine youth confraternity of the Purification. Founded in 1427 at a time of unbounded optimism in Florence's future, the Purification was entrusted with the socialization of the youths. With the right education and training, these youths were expected eventually to lead Florence to its manifest destiny. The Purification's educational practices were solidly grounded in religious and humanist principles. In concert with the other youth confraternities, the Purification pioneered an educational programme which influenced pedagogical practices throughout Europe until the middle of the twentieth century. Its success made it an attractive prize for the contending political forces in Florence, becoming first an instrument of Medici ambitions and then of Savonarolan radical millenarism. Once Florence fell under the permanent rule of the Medici, the Purification sought to serve the city by turning to philanthropy, which it dispensed as a moral and educational duty.