Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri
Portrait by Michele Baretta.
|Founder, Oblates of the Virgin Mary|
|Born||12 May 1759|
|Died||5 August 1830|
|Major shrine||Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Pinerolo, Italy (interred)|
|Influences||St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Alphonsus of Liguori, St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Nicolas Joseph Albert von Diessbach|
|Influenced||Spiritual direction, parish missions, anti-Jansenistic moral theology, St. Joseph Cafasso, St. John Bosco, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Joseph Cottolengo|
|Major works||Réflexions sur la sainteté et la doctrine du Bienheureux Liguori (Paris, 1823)|
Venerable Father Pio Bruno Pancrazio Lanteri, O.M.V., or simply Bruno Lanteri (12 May 1759 – 5 August 1830), was a Catholic priest and founder of the religious congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in northwestern Italy in the early 19th century. His spiritual life and work centered on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.He was also renowned for challenging Jansenism by distributing books and other publications that promoted the moral theology of St. Alphonsus Liguori, as well as establishing societies to continue this work.
A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.
A religious congregation is a type of religious institute in the Catholic Church. They are legally distinguished from religious orders — the other major type of religious institute — in that members take simple vows, whereas members of religious orders take solemn vows.
The Oblates of the Virgin Mary is a religious institute of priests and brothers founded by the Venerable Bruno Lanteri (1759–1830) in the Kingdom of Sardinia in the early 19th century. The institute is characterized by a zeal for the work of preaching and the sacrament of confession, according to the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and the moral theology of St. Alphonsus Liguori. It is also marked by love for Mary and fidelity to the magisterium.
Lanteri's cause for canonization was begun in 1920 and he was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1965.
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
Lanteri's life was marked by physical suffering from his pulmonary conditions that restricted his public speaking ability and his poor eyesight, because of which he often sought an assistant to read aloud to him. At age seventeen he sought the quiet and prayer of Carthusian monastic life and, although his entry was prevented by fragile health, he maintained this desire for silence and solitude throughout his life.Witnesses of his life suggest that he reached the heights of mystical prayer during his years of house-arrest under Napoleon (1811–14).
Christian contemplation, from contemplatio, refers to several Christian practices which aim at "looking at", "gazing at", "being aware of" God or the Divine. It includes several practices and theological concepts, and until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
At the death of Lanteri's mother in 1763, his father presented the four-year-old boy to a statue of Mary in their parish church, telling him, "She is your mother now." From this time, Lanteri maintained a deep and persistent devotion to Mary and communicated it to his colleagues and disciples, going so far as to declare that the religious institute he founded was principally the work of Mary and not his own.
After meeting Fr. Nicolas Joseph Albert von Diessbach (25 February 1732 – 22 December 1798) in Torino in 1779,Lanteri adopted Diessbach's passion for distributing good books as a remedy with both spiritual and human dimensions. Diessbach himself was converted from the Calvinism of his youth and the agnosticism of his military years by the chance reading of a good book that passionately expounded the truths of Catholicism. With Lanteri he established a close-knit group of laypeople and clergy called the Amicizia Cristiana (Christian Friendship), who worked together to disseminate well-written, edifying books that inspired people to grow in their faith, contribute to society and cope with the unwelcome changes in their lives at the dawn of the French Revolution. The Amicizia maintained catalogues of such books and managed a covert lending library in support of this work. Lanteri also communicated this passion for good literature to the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
Fr. Diessbach, a former Jesuit (the Society of Jesus having been suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773) also introduced Lanteri to the spiritual patrimony of St. Ignatius of Loyola, particularly his Spiritual Exercises. In this series of guided meditations through which one becomes more attentive to the movements of the heart (discernment) and the accompanying rules for adapting them to individuals' particular spiritual needs, Lanteri recognized a powerful instrument for pastoral ministry, especially for conversion.He applied them continuously in his own life and prayer, recommended them to others, and established groups of people whom he trained to do the same. These groups eventually yielded to the formation of the Convitto Ecclesiastico (Priestly Residence) and the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, whom he charged to continue this work.
The suppression of the Jesuits in the Portuguese Empire (1759), France (1764), the Two Sicilies, Malta, Parma, the Spanish Empire (1767) and Austria and Hungary (1782) is a complex topic. Analysis of the reasons is complicated by the political maneuvering in each country which was not carried out in the open but has left some trail of evidence. The papacy reluctantly went along with the demands of the various Catholic kingdoms involved, and advanced no theological reason for the suppression.
Pope Clement XIV, born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 May 1769 to his death in 1774. At the time of his election, he was the only Franciscan friar in the College of Cardinals. To date, he is the last pope to take the pontifical name of "Clement" upon his election.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who co-founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541. The Jesuit order served the Pope as missionaries, and they were bound by a vow of special obedience to the sovereign pontiff in regard to the missions. They therefore emerged as an important force during the time of the Counter-Reformation.
Lanteri worked to turn the tide of Jansenism, which had become popular in Europe in the preceding centuries and retained many adherents in his time, though formally condemned by the Catholic Church. He himself held certain Jansenistic tenets at age 20, but through the influence of Jesuit Fr. Diessbach he encountered the moral theology of then-Blessed Alphonsus Liguori and definitively rejected Jansenism.
Lanteri subsequently promoted Liguorian moral theology, which is based on mercy and hope in contrast with a condemning and rigoristic Jansenism, both personally as he counseled people and young priests and institutionally through various publications. Of particular note is his 1823 book, published anonymously in French, entitled Réflexions sur la sainteté et la doctrine du Bienheureux Liguori (Reflections on the Holiness and Teaching of Blessed Liguori). It was soon translated into Italian and then Spanish. In this prose work, Lanteri describes the character of Liguori and his doctrinal teaching, particularly his moral theology. The book includes an exhaustive catalogue of Liguori's written works, which was a substantial aid to the Vatican committee reviewing Alphonsus' life and works.
Scholars such as Guerber have shown that Lanteri, together with Diessbach and their associates in Northern Italy and France, was in large part responsible for the widespread familiarity among clergy with the moral theology of Alphonsus Liguori and its usefulness to both combat Jansenism and accomplish their evangelical mission.One persistent point of Lanteri's teaching was to always follow the magisterium of the Church; the writings of Alphonsus Liguori had been officially declared "free of anything worthy of censure", and Lanteri always used this fact in support of his own promotion of Liguori's teaching.
Bilocation, or sometimes multilocation, is an alleged psychic or miraculous ability wherein an individual or object is located in two distinct places at the same time.
Eugène de Mazenod, more commonly known as Eugène de Mazenod, was a French Catholic priest. At the age of eight, the Mazenod family was forced to flee the French revolution, leaving their considerable wealth behind. As refugees in Italy, they were very poor, and moved from place to place. At the age of twenty, he returned to France and became a priest. Mazenod founded the congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Initially focused on rebuilding the Church in France after the Revolution, their work soon spread, particularly to Canada. Mazenod was appointed Bishop of Marseille in 1837, and Archbishop in 1851. He was beatified on 19 October 1975 by Pope Paul VI, and canonized on 3 December 1995 by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is 21 May.
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