Archive for the ‘Gregory XVI’ Tag

Feast of Blessed Antonio Rosmini (July 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Antonio Rosmini

Image in the Public Domain



Founder of the Institute of Charity


Pray that God in his mercy may give me patience to carry my cross though it be to the end of my life, and that I may never think hardly of those have brought it on me.

–Blessed Antonio Rosmini, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 284


Blessed Antonio Rosmini, a priest, a scholar, a philosopher, and an Italian patriot, was usually embroiled in ecclesiastical controversies.

Our saint, born in Rovereto, Italy, Holy Roman Empire (when it was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire, to quote Voltaire), on March 25, 1797, came from wealth and lower aristocracy.  His family’s money came from silk manufacturing.  Rosmini, a graduate of the University of Padua, joined the ranks of priests in 1821.  Then he wrote and studied at Rovereto (1821-1826) and Milan (1826-1828).

Rosmini started getting into trouble immediately.  He opposed state interference, such as the nomination of bishops, in ecclesiastical matters.  The Church, our saint insisted, must be independent of all states and an arm of none.  That position offended many powerful people.

Nevertheless, Rosmini had powerful allies, too.  One of these was Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari (1765-1846), also known as Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846).  Gregory XVI approved Rosmini’s new order of priests, the Institute of Charity, founded on February 20, 1828.  St. Magdalena of Canossa (1774-1835), foundress of the Daughters of Charity, had, in 1820, invited our saint to found a similar order for men.  He accepted, eight years later.  The founding of the Institute of Charity was a response to one of the church’s problems–the inadequate education of priests.

Rosmini, a capable philosopher, countered John Locke.  In particular, our saint wrote in response to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  Rosmini’s rebuttal was A New Essay Concerning the Origin of Ideas (1830).  Another major work that proved to be more controversial was Treatise on Moral Conscience (1839).  Rosmini was in trouble with elements of Holy Mother Church for that work from 1839 to 1854, when the Church exonerated him.

[NOTE:  I choose not to paraphrase Rosmini’s philosophy.  Instead, I refer you, O reader, to the article about our saint at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for those details.]

Two other controversial works were Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848).  The latter work anticipated Catholic social teaching that Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) established.  The five self-inflicted wounds of the church were:

  1. The separation of the priests and the people at Mass.  Rosmini favored liturgical renewal that entailed the transition to vernacular language in the Mass.
  2. The Inadequate education of priests.  Rosmini addressed this problem in the Institute of Charity.
  3. The disunity of bishops.
  4. The nomination of bishops by secular authorities.
  5. The enthrallment of the Church to wealth.

Rosmini’s reputation in the Church was improving until 1848.  Pope Pius IX (reigned 1846-1878) was initially a liberal and a reformer.  During the first two years of his pontificate, our saint’s support for Italian unification was not a liability either.  In 1848, however, Pio Nono became a reactionary.  The following year, the Church listed Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848) on the Index.

Rosmini, 58 years old, died in Stressa, Piedmont, Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, on July 1, 1855.

Rosmini’s official ecclesiastical reputation has varied postmortem.  He was officially exonerated from 1854 to 1888-1889.  Then Pope Leo XIII condemned some of our saint’s propositions.  The Vatican exonerated our saint again in 2001, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.  Then Pope Benedict XVI declared Rosmini a Venerable in 2006 and beatified him the following year.

Rosmini was ahead of his time.





Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church and renew its life [such as Blessed Antonio Rosmini].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37


Feast of Henri Dominique Lacordaire (May 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Lacordaire

Image in the Public Domain



French Roman Catholic Priest, Dominican, and Advocate for the Separation of Church and State


When I was in Rome in 1846 Gregory XVI used to bless and shoot down his subjects in turns.  Pius IX puts them in prison….I sincerely hope that Providence will put and end to this scandal.

–Lacordaire on the Papal States


Henri Dominique Lacordaire was a faithful yet unconventional (for his time and place) Roman Catholic.  He would have fit in better after Vatican II than he did during his lifetime.

Lacordaire, born near Dijon, France, on May 13, 1802, made an interesting journey of faith.  He, raised a Roman Catholic, became a Deist in college.  Later he returned to Holy Mother Church.  Our saint entered the seminary at Issy on May 12, 1824.  During his years in seminary Lacordaire’s relative heterodoxy became apparent.  He, ordained a priest on September 22, 1827, was a puzzle to his superiors, who did not know what to do with him.  They assigned him to work as a chaplain–first to a convent then at College Henri IV.  These tasks did not satisfy our saint, who volunteered to serve in New York City instead in 1829.

The Revolution of 1830 changed that plan.  Lacordaire was actually a revolutionary, not a liberal.  In the context of Roman Catholicism during his lifetime his leftist tendencies meant that he favored constitutional government, sought to reconcile the Church and forces of liberty, and considered the separation of church and state essential for the Church to fulfill its proper role in society.  Our saint considered the monarchical and reactionary leaders of French Roman Catholicism, nostalgic for l’Ancien Régime, misguided.  For thirteen months until 1832, Lacordaire, Father Felicité Lamennais, and layman Charles Montalembert operated the leftist L’Avenir (The Future), despite much opposition from French bishops.  After Pope Gregory XVI condemned leftist Catholics in Mirari Vos (1832) the journal ceased to exist.  Lamennais eventually left the Church.  Lacordaire, however, submitted to the Supreme Pontiff with a combination of grief and grace.

Our saint spent the rest of his life as a figure of widespread yet not universal suspicion within his Church.  He, in demand as an orator, delivered series of influential lectures at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, in 1835 and 1843-1852.  Along the way he joined the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order) in 1840, thereby restoring that order to France after an absence of half a century.  The Revolution of 1848, according to Lacordaire, was an event the Church should have welcomed, not condemned.  That year, for eleven days, our saint served as a member of the new Constitutent Assembly.  He resigned because of conflicts between his political principles and the Pope’s temporal sovereignty in the Papal States, the existence of which our saint condemned.

Lacordaire, a man more than a century ahead of his time, died, aged 58 years, at Sorèze, France, on November 21, 1861.





Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Henri Dominique Lacordaire,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Feast of Venerable Cornelia Connelly (April 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Venerable Cornelia Connelly

Image in the Public Domain



Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus


I belong all to God.

–Venerable Cornelia Connelly


The spiritual pilgrimage of the Venerable Cornelia Connelly entailed learning to distinguish between the wishes of her husband and the call of God on her life.  Cornelia Peacock, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 15, 1809, grew up a Presbyterian.  In 1831 she married Pierce Connelly (1804-1883), an Episcopal priest.  In 1835 the Connellys converted to Roman Catholicism, for Pierce had become convinced that Holy Mother Church was the true church.  By 1839 husband and wife were teaching in rural church-operated schools in Louisiana.  Soon hardships visited the family.  Their fourth child, Mary Magdalene, died at the age of seven weeks in 1840.  Shortly thereafter, John Henry, their two-year-old son, died on February 2 (the Feast of the Presentation), of injuries he had suffered after a dog had pushed him into a vat of boiling cane juice.  Later in 1840, when Cornelia was pregnant with Adeline, her fifth child, Pierce announced that he had decided to study for the priesthood.  This started the process of breaking up the family, for he would have to take a vow of celibacy to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Cornelia eventually accepted her husband’s decree as being consistent with the will of God.  Certainly God worked through Pierce’s decree for the good of many, including Cornelia.  (She was better off without him.)  In 1843 Pierce was in Rome, studying under the guidance of Pope Gregory XVI.  Cornelia and the children joined him in the Eternal City and resided at the Sacred Heart Convent on Trinita de Monte.  Pierce visited once a week; the marriage was functionally over.  Soon the couple separated formally.  In 1845 Pierce became a priest and Cornelia took a vow of celibacy.  She built a new life in England, where Roman Catholicism, recently emancipated, was reviving and rebuilding.  In 1846 she began to work in the field of education of girls and assumed leadership of a new convent school at Derby.  The following year she founded and became the superior of the new Society of the Holy Child Jesus.  Our saint told the nuns:

As you step through the muddy streets, love God with your feet; and when your hands toil, love Him with your hands; and when you teach the little children, love Him in His little ones.

Pierce had a vindictive aspect to his character.  In 1848, when he arrived in England, Cornelia told him to leave.  He took three of their children out of the new order’s school without Cornelia’s permission, posed as the co-founder of the Society, and sued (in an Anglican court) for his conjugal rights.  (He was supposed to be a celibate priest, according to his vows.)  Eventually the court sided with Cornelia.  Then Pierce resigned from the Roman Catholic priesthood, turned against Holy Mother Church, took all but one child (a painter, who remained loyal to his mother) to the United States, and turned them against our saint.  Pierce spent the rest of his life defaming Cornelia’s character and writing and publishing anti-Roman Catholic tirades.

Cornelia, who suffered emotionally due to the alienation from most of her family and the published attacks of her character, served as the superior of the Society for more than three decades.  She oversaw the founding of schools in England, France, and the United States, and promoted the education of young women.  Physical suffering (in the form of eczema) marred her final few years.  Our saint died, aged 70 years, at St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, on April 18, 1879.

Pope John Paul II declared Cornelia a Venerable in 1992.

The passage of time has rendered its verdict in favor of Cornelia, as opposed to Pierce.  She, as a nun, was married to Jesus, certainly a better husband.







O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Venerable Cornelia Connelly,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722