Saint Gaétan de Thiene
Fondateur de l'ordre des Théatins (+ 1547)
Contemporain de Martin Luther, il fut de ceux qui, au temps de la Réforme et bien avant le concile de Trente, travaillèrent à préserver l'Italie du protestantisme. Pendant 13 ans, il fut secrétaire au Vatican sous le pape Jules II et le pape Léon X. Ce qu'il y vit n'était guère conforme à l'Évangile et sa piété le portait alors à imiter encore davantage Notre-Seigneur. A la mort de sa mère, il renonça à sa charge et passa les six années suivantes à donner aux pauvres son héritage à Vicence, Venise ou Vérone, visitant les taudis, balayant dans les hôpitaux, soignant les incurables. Il fonda avec son ami Jean-Pierre Carafa, le futur pape Paul IV, un institut de prêtres qui mèneraient, comme lui, une vie pauvre et austère, les Théatins. Ils s'engageaient à ne pas mendier pour eux, à soigner les malades, à répandre l'usage des sacrements parmi les laïcs et à ramener le clergé à ses devoirs. Il mourut à Naples, étendu sur un lit de cendres. Le mode de vie de son Institut inspira les grands réformateurs du XVIe siècle.
Le sanctuaire Saint Cayetano (Saint Gaetan), patron en Argentine du 'pain et du travail' se trouve dans un quartier périphérique de Buenos Aires. Chaque année, le 7 août, des milliers de fidèles se mettent en file indienne pour passer devant la statuette du saint et prier... le cardinal Bergoglio (maintenant Pape François) avait l’habitude de remonter la file des pèlerins pour discuter avec eux et bénir les enfants.
"Ne vas pas à la rencontre de l’autre pour le convaincre de devenir catholique, non, non, vas le rencontrer parce qu’il est ton frère!" Message du Pape pour la Saint Cayetano, patron des travailleurs argentins - 7 août 2013
Chierici Regolari Teatini - site en italien
Mémoire de saint Gaétan de Thienne, prêtre, qui se consacra aux œuvres de charité, en particulier aux souffrants de maladie incurable, encouragea des associations pour la formation chrétienne des laïcs et, pour la réforme de l’Église, fonda une société de clercs réguliers, en engageant ses disciples à vivre à la manière des premiers Apôtres. Il mourut à Naples en 1547.
"Quand nous demandons du travail, nous demandons de pouvoir avoir de la dignité"
Gaétan, juriste de formation, était devenu à Rome secrétaire du Pape Jules II, lequel était surtout un homme de guerre, soucieux de restaurer la puissance politique de l'Église. Très déçu par un tel comportement si opposé à l'Évangile, Gaétan quitte la Cour pontificale où son avenir était pourtant prometteur. Ce sont les pauvres qu'il préfère et qui l'attendent. Grand timide, il surmonte à force de prière ses appréhensions.
Il se met au service des orphelins, des incurables et des prisonniers : pour eux, il fonde l'Association de l'Amour divin. Heureusement, il a comme soutien un prêtre ami, Jean-Pierre Caraffa, lequel deviendra Pape sous le nom de Paul IV. Comme ce dernier était évêque de Théate, la congrégation que fonde Gaétan en 1523 sera appelée les Théatins : des clercs et des laïcs rassemblés par une vie sacramentelle intense et par l'amour fraternel, en priorité pour les pauvres et les petits. Mission providentielle, alors qu'à cette époque, Martin Luther stigmatisait les vices et le train de vie du Clergé. Avec d'autres, Gaétan fait partie de ceux qui, avant le concile de Trente, ont travaillé à la Réforme de l'Église en Italie, préservant le pays du Protestantisme.
Saint Gaétan avait mis l'accent dans son Institut sur l'idéal de consécration au Christ, spécialement par la prédication évangélique et le renouveau de la Liturgie. Recteur de paroisse à Vicence, son pays natal, il y déploya une vive ardeur apostolique. Il termine son "combat" à Naples le 7 août 1547 au milieu des pauvres, les préférés du Christ.
En Gaëtan, les mouvements caritatifs comme les Équipes de saint Vincent de Paul et le Secours catholique peuvent trouver un modèle toujours actuel. Gaëtan vient du latin gaietanus, qui signifie "habitant de la ville de Gaète", cité située dans le Latium pendant l'Antiquité romaine.
Rédacteur: Frère Bernard Pineau, OP
SAINT GAÉTAN de THIENNE
Troisième enfant du condottiere Gaspard de Thiène et de la comtesse Maria Porto, Gaétan de Thiène naquit à Vicence en octobre 1480. C'est en souvenir d'un de ses oncles, chanoine et professseur à l'Université de Padoue (mort en 1465), qu'il reçut au baptême le prénom de Gaétan. Orphelin de père dès l'âge de deux ans, il fut éduqué par sa mère, fille spirituelle des dominicains de Santa Corona de Vicence. Après avoir fait ses humanités à Vicence, il fréquenta l'Université de Padoue où il conquit le doctorat in utroque jure (17 juillet 1504). La même année, il reçut la tonsure des mains de l'évêque de Vicence, Pietro Dandolo. Très soucieux de l'éducation religieuse et de la promotion sociale des paysans vivant sur les terres que sa famille possédait à Rampazzo (province de Vicence), il y érigea en 1505, avec son frère Battista, une église dédiée à sainte Marie-Madeleine pour qui la Renaissance avait une grande dévotion.
Désireux d'accroître sa culture, Gaétan partit à Rome (1507) où, remarqué par Jules II, il fut nommé protonotaire apostolique et scrittore des lettres pontiflcales. Il reçut en bénéfice deux églises paroissiales du diocèse de Vicence : Santa Maria di Malo (16 octobre 1507) et Santa Maria di Bressanvido (20 novembre 1507) ; il en confia la cura animarum à des desservants de son choix et de vertu exemplaire. A Rome, il habitait près de l'église San Simone ai Coronari, sur l'actuelle place Lancellotti, non loin du Génois Giambattista Pallavicini, évêque de Cavaillon, puis cardinal, dont il fut l'auxiliaire et le familier, et qu'il assista à l'article de la mort (août 1524). Par la suite, il s'efforça d'aplanir le conflit qui avait éclaté en 1509 entre Jules II et Venise à propos de la Ligue de Cambrai.
Après un bref séjour à Padoue et dans son église paroissiale de Santa Maria di Malo (1512), Gaétan retourna à Rome où il entra dans l'Oratorio del Divino Amore (1515) qui rassemblait alors l'élite des ecclésiastiques de la Ville Eternelle et « la plupart des hommes qui désiraient réellement la réforme de l'Eglise » ; les membres de cette confrérie se réunissaient en l'église de Santa Dorotea, au Transtévère, et leurs activités caritatives s'orientaient vers les incurables du refuge de San Giacomo in Augusta, dont Gaétan deviendra plus tard le custode. Dans ce climat tout imprégné de spiritualité évangélique, la vocation sacerdotale de Gaétan arriva à maturité. Grâce aux dispenses canoniques qui lui furent concédées par Léon X, il fut ordonné sous-diacre, diacre et prêtre les 27, 28 et 29 septembre 1516, par Mgr Francesco Bertoli, évêque titulaire de Milepotamo. Pour mieux s'y préparer spirituellement, il remit la célébration de sa première messe à l'Epiphanie de 1517. Cette année là, il commença de correspondre avec la sœur Laura Mignani, une mystique de Brescia, qu'il prit comme guide spirituel. Dans sa lettre du 28 janvier 1528, il révèle qu'au cours de la nuit de Noël 1517, en la basilique de Sainte-Marie-Majeure, lui apparut la Vierrge qui déposa l'Enfant-Jésus dans ses bras.
Gaétan retourna à Vicence en avril 1518. Il s'agrégea (9 janvier 1519) à la Compagnie des Saints-Clément-et-Jérôme qu'il réforma selon la nouvelle spiritualité de l'Oratoire du Divin Amour. Il fit de mème avec la Compagnie du Saint-Corps du Christ, de Vérone, dont il devint membre le 10 juillet 1519. Les registres de celle-ci témoignent de la ferveur avee laquelle il soutenait la vie spirituelle de ses confrères, notamment en les exhortant à la fréquentation des sacrements. Gaétan de Thiène est d'ailleurs considéré comme l'un des premiers zélateurs de la communion fréquente à son époque. En 1520, à Vicence, il réorganisa l'hôpital de la Miséricorde qu'il transforma en refuge pour incurables et l'unit in spiritualibus à celui de San Giacomo de Rome.
Après le décès de sa mère (novembre 1520) et le mariage d'Elisabetta Porto, l'unique nièce qui lui restait, Gaétan put se consacrer totalement à l'apostolat. En 1522, sur les conseils du célèbre dominicain Giambattista da Crema qu'il avait choisi comme directeur spirituel, il gagna Venise. Au cours du carême de la même année, aidé par quelques nobles dames vénitiennes, il y fonda de ses deniers l'Ospedal Nuovo pour incurables (sur le canal de la Giudecca).
A la fin de 1523, Gaétan retourna à Rome, avec le projet de s'unir avec d'autres clercs dans la pratique d'une vie commune. Il trouva ses premiers compagnons et collaborateurs parmi les membres de l'Oratoire du Divin Amour : Giampietro Carafa (le futur pape Paul IV), Bonifacio de' Colli et Paolo Consiglieri. Tous les quatre renoncèrent à leurs bénéfices ecclésiastiques, et avec l'autorisation de Clément VII (bref du 24 juin 1524), ils prononcèrent leurs voeux solennels le 14 septembre 1524, en la basilique Vaticane, en présence de Mgr C. Bonciani, évêque de Caserte, délégué par le Pape. Ainsi était créé le premier des ordres modernes de clercs réguliers. La base de l'Institut était la vie commune dans la pratique des conseils évangéliques. L'accent était mis sur la pauvreté la plus rigoureuse La norme fondamentale du nouvel institut était le renouveau de la Vita apostolica telle qu'elle est décrite dans les Actes des Apôtres. Les célébrations communautaires de la liturgie eucharistique et chorale ainsi que la cura animarum devaient être exemplaires. Ayant renoncé aux rentes et à la mendicité, les quatre compagnons espéraient que l'exercice de leur ministère et la charité des fidèles leur procureraient des ressources suffisantes. Ils entendaient d'ailleurs s'en remettre totalement à la Divine Providence.
La première demeure des Théatins (ainsi nommés parce que Carafa, qui fut leur premier supérieur, portait le titre d'episcopus theatinus, c'est-à-dire de Chieti) fut située au Champ de Mars, près de l'actuelle église de San Nicola dei Prefetti. Ils résideront ensuite dans une maison du Pinclo, près de l'actuelle Villa Medici. Celle-ci devint rapidement un foyer d'intense spiritualité sacerdotale. Gaétan fut agressé et subit les sévices des troupes d'occupation lors du sac de Rome en 1527. Lui et ses compagnons, qui étaient alors au nombre de douze, furent libérés par un capitaine espagnol. Il gagna Venise, où les Théatins, en novembre 1527, se fixèrent définitivement en l'église San Nicola dei Tolentini. Le 14 septembre 1527, au cours du chapitre général, Gaétan fut élu supérieur de l'Institut, charge qu'il conserva pendant trois ans. Comme à Rome, la communauté devint sous sa direction un centre de réforme et de spiritualité. Avec Giampietro Carafa, il dirigea et soutint saint Jérôme Emilien dans ses œuvres en faveur de l'enfance abandonnée. Il fut aussi très lié avec Bonaventura da Centis, artisan de la réforme de la province franciscaine de Venise, avec le dominicain Bartolomeo da Pisa, avec le bienheureux Paolo Giustiniani qui œuvrait à la réforme des Camaldules, avec l'humaniste et poète Marcantonio Flaminio qui demanda en vain d'être reçu parmi les Théatins, avec le célèbre imprimeur de Salo Paganino Paganini, qu'il invita à Venise pour installer une imprimerie près du couvent des Théatins.
Saint Gaétan œuvra tout particulièrement avec Gian Matteo Giberti à la réforme du diocèse de Vérone, où il résida probablement en 1531et 1532 et de nouveau en 1541. La communauté pouvait désormais élargir le champ de ses activités pastorales et caritatives aux oratoires et hôpitaux de Vicence, Vérone, Padoue, Brescia et Salo (lac de Garde). Mais c'est sur l'Oratoire de Venise que l'influence des Théatins fut particulièrement intense et elle était d'ailleurs plus nécessaire aussi en raison de la position stratégique qu'il occupait du point de vue religieux.
C'est à Venise que Gaétan et ses clercs réguliers entrèrent pour la première fois en contact avec les courants luthériens. En 1530, le nonce Averoldo Altobello confia à Carafa le procès (suivi d'une condamnation) du conventuel Girolamo Galateo qui manifestait des sympathies pour Luther. Dans le bref du 8 mai de la même année qu'il adressa à Carafa, Clément VII loua son zèle et l'encouragea à poursuivre dans cette voie. Le Memoriale que Carafa envoya à Rome le 4 octobre 1533 (il y mettait à nu les plaies de l'Eglise et indiquait les moyens les plus efficaces pour promouvoir la réforme et réprimer les erreurs) témoigne de l'esprit qui animait les clercs réguliers dans leur volonté de préserver la foi et de promouvoir la réforme catholique.
Avec l'autorisation du Saint-Siège (bref de fondation, confirmé par un autre bref de Clément VII du 21 mars 1529), les Théatins furent à la base d'un renouveau d'un autre genre sur le plan liturgique : il s'agissait de la révision soit des textes soit des célébrations liturgiques qu'ils devaient expérimenter dans leur communauté et soumettre ensuite à l'approbation du Siège apostolique. Si la réforme du Petit office de la Sainte Vierge fut rapidement menée à bien. Celle du Bréviaire et du missel romain fut plus longue et plus ardue. Lorsque Pie V rendit obligatoires le Bréviaire puis le Missel romains par les bulles Quod a nobis (9 juillet 1568) et Quo primum (14 juillet 1570), on put se rendre compte à quel point l'œuvre des Théatins et les critères qu'ils adoptèrent pour réaliser cette réforme avaient été utiles.
Au cours de l'été 1533, accompagné par le bienheureux Giovanni Marinoni, Gaétan gagna Naples, appelé par le Conseil de la cité. Après avoir demeuré à Santa Maria della Misericordia, puis à Santa Maria della Stalletta, dite de Jérusalem, grâce à l'intervention du vice-roi Pedro de Toledo, les Théatins s'installèrent près de San Paolo Maggiore (19 mai 1538). Gaétan dirigea in spiritualibus le monastère de la Sapience fondé par Maria Carafa, sœur de Paul IV. Avec l'aide de deux dames de la noblesse espagnole dont il était le conseiller, il contribua à fonder le monastère des Capucines, près de Santa Maria in Gerusalemme, et le foyer des filles repenties de Santa Maria Maddalena. Fin 1534, Gaétan était correttore de la Compagnie des Bianchi qui assistaient les condamnés. Un groupe de prêtres diocésains, formés selon la spiritualité des clercs réguliers, fut installé près de l'hôpital des incurables pour favoriser le renouveau du clergé napolitain. En collaboration avec Giovanni Marinoni et avec l'aide de quelques nobles, Gaétan fut aux origines du Mont de Piété. Il dénonça le péril des cercles crypto-luthériens.
Saint Gaétan fut élu à plusieurs reprises preposito de Naples ; il fut preposito de la maison de Venise de 1541 à 1543. Il retourna ensuite à la maison de Naples dont il fut élu de nouveau preposito (1547). L'acte par lequel les Théatins s'agrégèrent les Somasques est de sa main. Il mourut à Naples le 7 août 1547, après avoir offert sa vie pour la pacification de la ville qui était déchirée par une lutte fratricide.
Béatifié par Urbain VIII (8 octobre 1629), saint Gaétan de Thiène fut canonisé par Clément X (12 avril 1671) qui ordonna la célébralion de sa mémoire dans l'Église universelle (27 mars 1673).
Saint Cajetan Church, Gustavo A. Madero, Federal District, Mexico : Mosaic of Saint Cajetan
- Cajetan the Theatine
- Cajetan of Thiene
- Gaetano dei Conti di Tiene
- Gaetano da Thiene
Cajetan was born the second son of pious and noble parents, Caspar de Thienna and Maria Porta, who dedicated him as an infant to the Blessed Virgin Mary. From childhood he was known as “the Saint”, and in later years as “the hunter of souls.” A distinguished student, he studied law in Padua, Italy, and was offered positions in the government, but he turned them down and left his native town to seek a religious vocation and obscurity in Rome. Found out, he was forced at age 28 to accept a position at the court of Pope Julius II. He was ordained a priest at age 36.
On the death of Pope Julius, Cajetan returned to Vicenza and disgusted his relatives by joining the Confraternity of Saint Jerome, whose members normally were drawn from the lowest and poorest classes. Cajetan spent his fortune in building hospitals, and devoted himself to nursing the plague–stricken. He founded a bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to loan sharks; it later became the Bank of Naples. He was known for a gentle game he played with parishioners in which he would bet prayers, rosaries or devotional candles on whether he would perform some service for them; he always did, and they always had to “pay” by saying the prayers.
To renew the lives of the clergy, on 3 May 1524 in Rome, with the help of three others, including the future Pope Paul IV, he formed the Congregation of Clerks Regular, known as the Theatines. They devoted themselves to preaching, the administration of the Sacraments, and the careful performance of the Church‘s rites and ceremonies. Saint Cajetan was the first to introduce the Forty Hours’ Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as an antidote to the heresy of Calvinism. When the Germans, under the Constable Bourbon, sacked Rome, Saint Cajetan was scourged to extort money from him; what his attackers did not understand was that he had long before spent his worldly wealth on good works.
Cajetan had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His piety was rewarded one Christmas eve when she appeared to him and placed the Infant Jesus in his arms. When Saint Cajetan was on his death-bed, resigned to the will of God, she appeared to him again, this time surrounded by ministering angels. He said, “Lady, bless me!” Mary replied, “Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to Paradise.” She then told him to have patience with the illness that had attacked him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul to heaven. “Cajetan,” she said, “my Son calls you. Let us go in peace.” And so, he did.
Saint Cajetan was born at Vicenza in 1480, and was dedicated from infancy to the Blessed Mother of God. After having made legal studies with great distinction at Padua, he was appointed Prothonotary Apostolic at the Roman Curia. But he gave all the time he could spare to the wrork of pious fraternities, spending his fortune in building hospitals and devoting himself in person to the nursing of the plague-stricken. Finally, his zeal for souls led him to resign his office and enter the priesthood. In 1524, in conjunction with Bishop Caraffa, who was afterwards Pope, he founded the first congregation of regular clerks, which took its name from Chieti, or Theate, the See over which his co-laborer had presided.
“They embraced a more than Franciscan poverty,” says Mr. Arnold, “for they bound themselves not only to have no property or rents, but to abstain from asking for alms, being persuaded that the providence of God and the unsolicited charity of the faithful would sufficiently supply their wants.”
The Theatins devoted themselves to preaching the administration of the sacraments, and the careful performance of the rites and ceremonies of the Church. They have produced many eminent, men, including Cardinal Thomassi and Father Ventura, The holy brotherhood lived in Rome on Mount Pincio, and the year after settling there, the Constable of Bourbon, commander of the army of Charles V., marched from Milan to Rome, and took the city in May, 1527. Philibert of Chalons, Prince of Orange, who succeeded in command after the wicked Constable had been slain, plundered the city, and was guilty of great cruelties. The house of the Theatins shared the fate of the rest, and Saint Cajetan being recognized, and imagined to be possessed of great wealth, was barbarously scourged and tortured to extort from him his supposed treasure.
The mystery of the Nativity was his special subject of contemplation, in which the eternal love of God for man was made so wonderfully manifest. It was in the year 1517, when, according to his custom, Cajetan was rapt in ecstasy before the altar of the Crib on Christmas eve. Tears flowed down his cheeks, so deeply was he moved by the mystery of the birth of the Lord, whom he pictured to himself as a little helpless Child lying in the arms of His Mother. Then arose in his heart the great desire to entreat the venerable Mother of God that she would lay the Divine Child in his arms, but his humility permitted him not. Whilst, however, his heart longed for this favor, behold! there appeared to him Saint Jerome and Saint Joseph, who desired him to hold out his arms and approach them to the Divine Mother. He did so, and the Queen of Angels truly laid the Child Jesus in his arms. The happiness which entered into his heart, passes description. The impression which this vision left behind never departed from the holy man during the course of his life, but so often as he received the Body and Blood of the Lord in Holy Communion he paused a little, believing that Mary herself was there offering him, under the form of the most Holy Sacrament, her Divine Child to caress.
Saint Cajetan was the first to introduce the custom of the Forty Hours Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as a means of counter-acting the heresy of Calvin, who propagated a fearful disrespect for the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord.
He always cherished a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin and when, writes Father Bowden:
“He was on his death-bed, resigned to the Will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Mother of God, radiant with splendor, and surrounded by the ministering seraphim. In profound veneration, he said: ‘Lady, bless me!’ Mary replied: ‘Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to Paradise.’ She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil spirit who troubled him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul in triumph to Heaven. Then turning her countenance full of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said: ‘Cajetan, my Son calls thee. Let us go in peace.'”
When his hour of death came, his physicians told him not to lie on the floor, but he replied, “My Saviour died upon the Cross; suffer me to die upon ashes.” Thus died Saint Cajetan on 7 August 1547.
- William J Walsh. “Apparition to Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatins, Lombardy, Italy, 1517”. , 1905. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 August 2014. Web. 12 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/heavens-bright-queen-apparition-to-saint-cajetan-founder-of-the-theatins-lombardy-italy-1517/>
Seguace di Martin Johann Schmidt (1718–1801). Glorie des hl. Kajetan, 1740, 74 X 57, Monogramma e data: M.I.S 17(40)
Cajetan (Gaetano) of Thienna, Priest (RM)
Born in Vicenza, Lombardy, Italy, in 1480; died in Naples, Italy, on August 7, 1547; beatified by Urban VIII in 1629; canonized by Clement X in 1671. Saint Cajetan, founder of the blue-habited Theatines, was the son of Lord Gaspar of Thienna (Tiene) and his wife Mary di Porto. Both were known for their piety. At his birth his mother, a fervent Dominican tertiary, dedicated Cajetan to the Blessed Virgin. Although his father died while fighting for the Venetians against King Ferdinand of Naples when Cajetan was only two, the example of his mother helped Cajetan to grow into a man of sweet temper, constant recollection, and unwavering compassion, especially toward the poor and afflicted.
Saint Cajetan, founder of the holy order, whose members are called Theatines, was born in 1487, at Vicenza, in Lombardy, of noble and pious parents. Immediately after his baptism, his mother consecrated him to the Blessed Virgin, humbly begging her to guard him and take his spiritual welfare under her motherly protection. His entire after life proved how effectual his mother’s prayers had been. He was never, even in his most tender years, like other children; his greatest pleasure consisted in praying, building small altars, giving alms to the poor, and being most perfect in his obedience to his parents. His whole conduct was such, that even in childhood, he was called a saint He afterwards went to the University, and always made it his greatest care to preserve his innocence unspotted among so many temptations. Having received, at Padua, the degree of civil and canon laws, he repaired to Rome, where he was ordained priest, and preferred by Pope Julius II to a high ecclesiastical position. After the death of the Pope, he resigned his dignity and returned to his home, desiring to work more effectually for the salvation of souls. He served the sick in and out of the hospitals, with untiring charity, in the time of pestilence. His labors were at first, confined to his native town; later, however, he went to Venice. His principal aim was to save souls. The sick, he persuaded by kind and gentle exhortations; and others he moved to virtue by his earnest sermons. The popular saying was, that Cajetan looked like a seraph when standing before the altar, and like an Apostle when in the pulpit. His devotion when he said mass, was equalled by his fervor and zeal while preaching. Whenever he had the opportunity, he tried to win a soul for the Almighty. After some time, he went again to Rome, where, inspired by God, and with the co-operation of three other pious and learned men, he founded an Order for such priests as desired to live an apostolic life, to reform the negligence of the clergy, and the corrupt morals of the people of the world; to observe carefully the sacred ceremonies of the church; restore the observance of pious conduct in the temples dedicated to the worship of the Most High; to labor in opposition to the heretics; assist the sick and dying, and in a word, to promote the welfare of men to the best of their ability. He imposed a special obligation on the members in regard to the vow of poverty; they were not only forbidden to have annual revenues, but even to ask alms. They had to leave the whole care of their subsistence to God, and wait patiently for what Providence would send them. Hard as this seemed to be, still many were found willing to bear such abject poverty. The first house of the order was at Rome; but it was abandoned after the first year, on account of an inroad of imperial soldiers, who also treated Cajetan with great cruelty. Among these soldiers there was ‘One who had formerly been acquainted with the Saint at Vicenza, and knew that, at that time, he was very rich. Believing that he still possessed great treasures* he tried to force them from him, by maltreating him most brutally, and several times casting him into prison. From Rome, the holy founder went to Venice, where he again nursed those stricken down with pestilence. He was then ordered by the Pope to Naples, to found a new house for his Order. This city had to thank the vigilance of this Saint, under God, for its preservation from heresy; for, several disciples of Luther, who at that time disseminated his poisonous doctrines in Germany, had come to Naples and begun privately, as well as publicly, to maintain, under the name of “Evangelical liberty,’* the teachings of Luther. They had also brought with them several books which contained the Lutheran doctrines, designing to give them to the people, and thus contaminate the city with the doctrines they contained. When Saint Cajetan was informed of this, and had, moreover, seen the Evil One standing in the pulpit beside Bernardin Ochino, one of Luther’s disciples, whispering into his ear every word that he preached, he notified the ecclesiastical authorities of these facts, and preached so zealously against the new heresy, that the heretical books were all given up and burnt, and the inhabitants of the city were preserved in the true faith. The Saint rendered the same service to several other cities in Italy.
The holy man was exceedingly severe towards himself. He never divested himself of his rough hair-shirt. Almost daily he scourged himself most mercilessly. In partaking of nourishment he was so temperate, that his life might justly be called a continual fast. He spent most of his nights in devout exercises, taking but a short rest upon straw. He never spoke except to honor God or benefit man. He was indefatigable in his exertions for the salvation of souls, and hence it is not surprising that God bestowed many graces upon him. One Christmas Eve, when he was passing the night in the Church of Saint Mary Major, the Holy Child appeared to him, and the Blessed Virgin, who carried Him, laid Him. into the Saint’s arms, filling his soul with heavenly consolation. The holy man had many other visions during his life, and was often seen in a state of ecstacy during his prayers. He also possessed the gift of prophecy, and miraculously cured a great many sick. There was a priest of his Order, whose foot was to be amputated. The evening before the operation was to be performed, the Saint examined the foot, which was extremely swollen and affected with gangrene; he kissed it, made the holy sign of the cross over it, bandaged it anew, exhorting the sufferer to put his trust in God and to ask the intercession of Saint Francis. After this he turned to God m prayer. When on the following day, the surgeon came to perform the painful and dangerous amputation, they found, to their amazement, that the foot was healed.
When Saint Cajetan sailed from Venice to Naples, a terrible storm arose, and all on board expected the boat to sink every moment. Cajetan took his Agnus Dei and threw it into the sea, which immediately became calm. His life is filled with similar events; we, however, having no space for more of them, will only relate how happily and with what heroic charity he ended his earthly career.
The authorities at Naples, civil as well as ecclesiastical, had resolved to institute the Inquisition in the city, to guard the faithful more thoroughly against heresy. The people were, however, opposed to it to such an extent, that a revolt was feared, and neither the exhortations and persuasions of Saint Cajetan nor of other men were of any avail. The holy man was deeply distressed at the danger of so great a city and still more of so many souls. Hence he offered his life as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the Almighty, praying that God would accept of it, restore peace, and spare the city and its inhabitants. The following event will show how pleased the Almighty was with this sacrifice. Soon after the Saint had offered himself to Heaven, he became dangerously sick, and repeating his offer, died a most peaceful and holy death, having had the privilege of seeing Christ and the Blessed Virgin. The Saviour assured him of his salvation, the Divine Mother of her protection until his death. And yet he would not die in any other manner than as a penitent; for when the physician said he needed a more comfortable bed, he protested most emphatically against it, saying that he would not, in his last hour, allow his body any comfort, but that he would be laid in his penitential robes upon ashes on the ground, adding: “There is no road leading to Heaven but that of innocence or repentance. He who has departed from the first, must take the second; else he is eternally lost.” He received the last Sacraments with great devotion, turned his eyes towards Heaven, and rendered up his soul tranquilly to God, in the year of our Lord 1547. The strife in the city soon after ceased and peace was restored, as if God had wished to show that He had accepted the life of Saint Cajetan as a peace offering for the salvation of innumerable souls. Many miracles were wrought by the Almighty to recompense the great faith which Saint Cajetan manifested in the Divine Providence, when he instituted such complete poverty in his new order. After his death also, God honored him by working many miracles through his intercession.
Überlingen ( Baden-Württemberg ).Saint Nicholas minster - Altar ( 1727 ) of Saint Cajetan: Vision of Christ by Saint Cajetan
Überlingen ( Baden-Württemberg ). Münster St.Nikolaus - Kajetanaltar ( 1727 ) - Vision der Christi durch den heiligen Kajetan. Photographie : Wolfgang Sauber
I particularly desire that the last maxim which Saint Cajetan gave on his death-bed should sink deeply into your heart. “There is no road to Heaven but that of Innocence or Penance.” This is a truth which is founded upon Holy Writ. If then it is your earnest wish to go to Heaven, examine yourself carefully, and see if you are walking in the right path. How is it with your innocence? How with your penance? I leave it to you to answer these questions, and will only say, in the words of Saint Cajetan: “If you have departed from the road of innocence, you must enter that of penance; else you are eternally lost.” Having said this much to you, I will give you a few instructions on the life of this great servant of God.
• Saint Cajetan placed a special trust in God in regard to the necessaries of life. Many persons are too much concerned about their temporal matters; others, too little; the latter lead an idle life, take no care of their homes, do not work according to their station in life, or squander their earnings or inheritance. But by far the greater number are too greedy of wealth. Their thoughts, from early morning till late at night, are occupied with their temporal affairs. They do not even take time to say a morning prayer or to assist at Holy Mass, because they fear to miss some hing by it, or think they neglect their household duties. They give not one thought to God or to their soul during the whole day. In short, they are as much absorbed in their temporal affairs, as if riches were the sole aim and object of their existence. They expect everything from their own exertions, not remembering that all success depends on the Almighty. May you not belong to either of these classes. Work for your livelihood according to your position; avoid idleness; but above all, trust in God, who will assuredly not forsake you, if you do your duty. “Behold the birds of the air; for, they neither sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than they? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they labor not, neither do they spin. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God does so clothe; how much more you, O ye of little faith? Seek therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:2) Saint Cajetan never suffered from want. God frequently assisted him by miracle. With many men it is quite different. They are often in want, and God does not assist them. For some, it is their own fault; for others, it is a trial. The latter must console themselves with the thought that this want serves them to obtain salvation. God wishes to lead them, like Lazarus, through poverty, into Heaven. Had Lazarus possessed worldly goods like the rich man, perhaps he would have had to suffer in hell like him. Therefore, they must not grieve over their poverty, but bear it with resignation. They must endeavor to lead a Christian life and put entire trust in God, and He will surely not forsake them. But those who have come to poverty, because they have been idle, or worked on Sundays or holidays without necessity, or sought for gain by unlawful means, should not be surprised, if they suffer want; for, how can they reasonably expect to be blessed by the Almighty, if they so often, without shame or fear, transgress His commandments? Do they not know that God’s curse threatens him who transgresses His laws?
“Cursed shalt you be in the city, cursed in the field. Cursed shall be thy barn and cursed thy stores. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy womb and the fruit of thy ground, the herds of thy oxen and the flocks of thy sheep,” etc. But the Almighty also promises His blessing to those who keep His commandments “Blessed shalt thou be in the city and in the fields; blessed shall be the fruit of thy womb and of thy ground, and the fruits of thy oxen and the droves of thy herds. Blessed thy barns,” etc. (Deuteronomy 27) If men desire that God should help them in their poverty, they must resolve to keep His commandments better, to work according to their station, and take sufficient care of their affairs. “Be- hold, says He, this day I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life.”
- Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Cajetan, Founder of the Theatine Order”. , 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 March 2018. Web. 12 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-cajetan-founder-of-the-theatine-order/>
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-cajetan-founder-of-the-theatine-order/
Chiesa di San Gaetano, Cosenza
Our saint was called Cajetan, from his uncle the famous Cajetan of Thienna, who was canon of Padua, and esteemed one of the greatest philosophers of his age. We have a work of his printed at Padua, an. 1476, fol. under the following title: “Gaëtani de Tienis Vicentini Philosophi clarissimi in IV. Aristotelis Meteorum libros expositio.” This edition is “rare and very much sought after,” says the author of the Bibliographie instructive, No. 1277. Spondanus mistakes in pretending that St. Cajetan was called Marcellus. Fleury has been guilty of the same mistake, Instit. au Droit Eccles. t. 1, p. 202. [back]
St. Cajetan was the first institutor of regular clerks, that is, priests united by vows to fulfil the duties of an ecclesiastical state. They reckon generally eight congregations of regular clerks in Italy. 1. Regular clerks of St. Paul, called Barnabites, from their house dedicated to God in honour of St. Barnaby at Milan, instituted in 1533. 2. Regular clerks of the Society of Jesus, instituted in 1540. 3. Regular clerks of St. Mayeul or Somasquos, thus called from a village near Milan, instituted in 1530. This congregation was united to that of the Theatins in 1546, and again separated in 1555. 4. Regular clerks, Minors, instituted in 1588. 5. Regular clerks, ministering to the sick, called also cross-bearers, from a red cross which they wear on their cassock, instituted in 1591. 6. Regular clerks of pious schools, instituted in 1621. 7. Regular clerks of the Mother of God, instituted at Lucca in 1628. 8. Theatins; but as these were the first, they had no other name given them in the bull of their institution than that of regular clerks, without any other addition, as Spondanus in his Church Annals takes notice. These different congregations have nearly the same dress; they make use of the ancient cassock which the secular priests wore towards the end of the sixteenth century, and in the beginning of the seventeenth.
Thomassin (Discipl. de l’Eglise, t. 1, p. 1806. Edit. 1725,) says, that the life of the regular clerks is nearly the same as that of the canon regulars; there is yet this difference, that the ancient canon regulars observed the fasts, the abstinences, the silence, and the night watchings of the monks; whereas the regular clerks, according to their institution, embraced the functions of the ecclesiastical state, without practising the great austerities of those religious men who dedicated themselves to silence and retirement. See the statutes of the canon regulars of the Order of Premontré. [back]
San Gaetano Brescia
Cajetan was born at Vicenza in 1480, of noble and pious parents, who dedicated him to our Blessed Lady. From childhood he was known as the Saint, and in later years as “The hunter of souls.” A distinguished student, he left his native town to seek obscurity in Rome, but was there forced to accept office at the court of Julius II. On the death of that Pontiff he returned to Vicenza, and disgusted his relatives by joining the Confraternity of Saint Jerome, whose members were drawn from the lowest classes, while he spent his fortune in building hospitals, and himself in nursing the plague-stricken. To renew the lives of the clergy, he instituted the first community of Regular Clerks, known as Theatines. They devoted themselves to preaching, the administration of the Sacraments, and the careful performance of the Church’s rites and ceremonies. Saint Cajetan was the first to introduce the Forty Hours’ adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as an antidote to the heresy of Calvin. He had a most tender love of our Blessed Lady, and his piety was rewarded. One Christmas Eve she placed the Infant Jesus in his arms, and she appeared to console him as he died. When the Germans, under the Constable Bourbon, sacked Rome, Saint Cajetan was barbarously scourged, to extort from him riches which he had long before securely stored in heaven. Worn out with toil and sickness, he went to his reward in 1547.
Imitate Saint Cajetan’s devotion to our Blessed Lady by invoking her aid before every work.
Let us pray our most Blessed Advocate, the Mother of our Redeemer, to deign to cover our iniquities, and plead for us before the just Judge, her Son. — Saint Cajetan
When Saint Cajetan was on his deathbed, resigned to the will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Mother of God, radiant with splendour, and surrounded by ministering Seraphim. In profound veneration he said, “Lady, bless me.” Mary replied, “Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to Paradise.” She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil spirit who troubled him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul in triumph to heaven. Then turning her countenance mil of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said, “Cajetan, my Son calls thee. Let us go in peace.”
For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God. – Wisdom 7:14
- Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Cajetan”. , 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 March 2015. Web. 12 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/miniature-lives-of-the-saints-saint-cajetan/>
Chiesa di San Gaetano e Meridiana, Forio d'Ischia
Cajetan was born at Vicenza, in 1480, of pious and noble parents, who dedicated him to our Blessed Lady. From childhood he was known as the Saint, and in later years as “the hunter of souls.” A distinguished student, he left his native town to seek obscurity in Rome, but was there forced to accept office at the court of Julius II. On the death of that Pontiff, he returned to Vicenza, and disgusted his relatives by joining the Confraternity of Saint Jerome, whose members were drawn from the lowest classes; while he spent his fortune in building hospitals, and devoted himself to nursing the plague-stricken. To renew the lives of the clergy, he instituted the first community of Regular Clerks, known as Theatines. They devoted themselves to preaching, the administration of the Sacraments, and the careful performance of the Church’s rites and ceremonies. Saint Cajetan was the first to introduce the Forty Hours’ Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as an antidote to the heresy of Calvin. He had a most tender love for our Blessed Lady, and his piety was rewarded; for one Christmas eve she placed the Infant Jesus in his arms. When the Germans, under the Constable Bourbon, sacked Rome, Saint Cajetan was barbarously scourged, to extort from him riches which he had long before securely stored in heaven. When Saint Cajetan was on his death-bed, resigned to the will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Mother of God, radiant with splendor and surrounded by ministering seraphim. In profound veneration, he said, “Lady, bless me!” Mary replied, “Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to Paradise.” She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil who troubled him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul in triumph to heaven. Then, turning her countenance full of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said, “Cajetan, my Son calls thee. Let us go in peace.” Worn out with toil and sickness, he went to his reward in 1547.
Reflection – Imitate Saint Cajetan’s devotion to our Blessed Lady, by invoking her aid before every work.
- John Dawson Gilmary Shea. “Saint Cajetan”. , 1922. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 December 2018. Web. 12 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/pictorial-lives-of-the-saints-saint-cajetan/>
Mattia Bortoloni, Gloria di san Gaetano da Thiene, Accademia
San Gaetano Thiene Sacerdote
7 agosto - Memoria Facoltativa
Vicenza, ottobre 1480 - Napoli, 7 agosto 1547
Nacque a Vicenza dalla nobile famiglia dei Thiene nel 1480, e fu battezzato con il nome di Gaetano, in ricordo di un suo celebre zio, il quale si chiamava così perché era nato a Gaeta. Protonotario apostolico di Giulio II, lasciò sotto Leone X la corte pontificia maturando, specie nell'Oratorio del Divino Amore, l'esperienza congiunta di preghiera e di servizio ai poveri e agli esclusi. È restauratore della vita sacerdotale e religiosa, ispirata al discorso della montagna e al modello della Chiesa apostolica. Devoto del presepe e della passione del signore, fondò (1524) con Gian Pietro Carafa, vescovo di Chieti (Teate), poi Paolo IV (1555-1559), i Chierici Regolari Teatini. Per la sua illimitata fiducia in Dio è venerato come il santo della provvidenza.
Etimologia: Gaetano = nativo di Gaeta, dal latino
Martirologio Romano: San Gaetano da Thiene, sacerdote, che a Napoli si dedicò a pie opere di carità, in particolare adoperandosi per i malati incurabili, promosse associazioni per la formazione religiosa dei laici e istituì i Chierici regolari per il rinnovamento della Chiesa, rimettendo ai suoi discepoli il dovere di osservare l’antico stile di vita degli Apostoli.
Nacque a Vicenza dalla nobile famiglia dei Thiene nel 1480, e fu battezzato con il nome di Gaetano, in ricordo di un suo celebre zio, il quale si chiamava così perché era nato a Gaeta.
Laureatosi a Padova in materie giuridiche a soli 24 anni, si dedicò allo stato ecclesiastico, senza però farsi ordinare sacerdote, perché non si sentiva degno; fondando nel contempo nella tenuta di famiglia a Rampazzo, una chiesa dedicata a S. Maria Maddalena, che è ancora oggi la parrocchia del luogo.
Trasferitosi a Roma nel 1506, divenne subito segretario particolare di papa Giulio II, ed ebbe l’incarico di scrittore delle lettere pontificie, ufficio questo che gli diede l’opportunità di conoscere e collaborare con tante persone importanti.
Siamo nel periodo dello splendore rinascimentale, che vede concentrati a Roma grandi artisti, intenti a realizzare quanto di più bello l’arte era in grado di offrire, e che ancora oggi il Vaticano e Roma offrono all’ammirazione del mondo; nel contempo però la vita morale della curia papale, del popolo e del clero, a Roma come altrove, non brillava certo per santità di costumi.
Gaetano non si lasciò abbagliare dallo splendore della corte pontificia, né si scoraggiò per la miseria morale che vedeva; egli ripeteva: “Roma un tempo santa, ora è una Babilonia”; invece di fuggire e ritirarsi in un eremo, da uomo intelligente e concreto, passò all’azione riformatrice, cominciando da sé stesso; incoraggiato da una suora agostiniana bresciana Laura Mignani, che godeva di fama di santità.
Prese ad assistere gli ammalati dell’ospedale di San Giacomo, si iscrisse all’Oratorio del Divino Amore, associazione che si riprometteva di riformare la Chiesa partendo dalla base, il tutto alternandolo con il lavoro in Curia; anche in queste attività conobbe altre personalità, che avevano lo stesso ideale riformista.
Nel settembre 1516 a 36 anni, accettò di essere ordinato sacerdote, ma solo a Natale di quell’anno, volle celebrare la prima Messa nella Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore. In una lettera scritta a suor Laura Mignani a cui era legato da filiale devozione, Gaetano confidò che durante la celebrazione della Messa, gli apparve la Madonna che gli depose tra le braccia il Bambino Gesù; per questo egli è raffigurato nell’arte e nelle immagini devozionali con Gesù Bambino tra le braccia.
Ritornato nel Veneto, nel 1520 fondò alla Giudecca in Venezia l’Ospedale degli Incurabili. Instancabile nel suo ardore di apostolato e di aiuto verso gli altri, ritornò a Roma e nel 1523 insieme ad altri tre compagni: Bonifacio Colli, Paolo Consiglieri, Giampiero Carafa (vescovo di Chieti, diventerà poi papa con il nome di Paolo IV), chiese ed ottenne dal papa Clemente VII, l’autorizzazione a fondare la “Congregazione dei Chierici Regolari” detti poi Teatini, con il compito specifico della vita in comune e al servizio di Dio verso gli altri fratelli.
Il nome Teatini deriva dall’antico nome di Chieti (Teate), di cui uno dei fondatori il Carafa, ne era vescovo. L’ispirazione che egli sentiva impellente, era di formare e donare alla Chiesa sacerdoti che vivessero la primitiva norma della vita apostolica, perciò non ebbe fretta a stendere una Regola, perché questa doveva essere il santo Vangelo, letto e meditato ogni mese, per potersi specchiare in esso.
Le costituzioni dell’Ordine furono infatti emanate solo nel 1604. I suoi chierici non devono possedere niente e non possono neanche chiedere l’elemosina, devono accontentarsi di ciò che i fedeli spontaneamente offrono e di quanto la Provvidenza manda ai suoi figli; con le parole di Gesù sempre presenti: “Cercate prima il regno di Dio e la sua giustizia e tutte queste cose vi saranno date in aggiunta”.
Nel 1527 avvenne il feroce ‘Sacco di Roma’ da parte dei mercenari Lanzichenecchi, il papa Clemente VII della famiglia fiorentina de’ Medici, fu costretto a rifugiarsi in Castel S. Angelo difeso dal Corpo delle Guardie Svizzere, che subì pesanti perdite negli scontri.
Anche s. Gaetano da Thiene, come tanti altri religiosi, fu seviziato dai Lanzichenecchi e imprigionato nella Torre dell’Orologio in Vaticano; riuscito a liberarsi si rifugiò a Venezia con i compagni dell’Istituzione.
Rimase nel Veneto fino al 1531, fondando, assistendo e consolidando tutte le Case del nuovo Ordine con le annesse opere assistenziali; accolse l’invito del celebre tipografo veneziano Paganino Paganini, affinché i Padri Teatini si istruissero nella nuova e rivoluzionaria arte della stampa tipografica, inventata nel 1438 dal tedesco Giovanni Gutenberg.
Nel 1533 per volere del papa Clemente VII, si trasferì insieme al suo collaboratore il beato Giovanni Marinoni, nel Vicereame di Napoli, stabilendosi prima all’Ospedale degli Incurabili, fondato in quel tempo dalla nobile spagnola Maria Lorenza Longo, insieme ad un convento di suore di clausura, dette ‘le Trentatrè’, istituzioni ancora oggi felicemente funzionanti; e poi nella Basilica di S. Paolo Maggiore posta nel cuore del centro storico di Napoli, nella città greco-romana.
La sua attività multiforme si esplicherà a Napoli fino alla morte; fondò ospizi per anziani, potenziò l’Ospedale degli Incurabili, fondò i Monti di Pietà, da cui nel 1539 sorse il Banco di Napoli, il più grande Istituto bancario del Mezzogiorno; suscitò nel popolo la frequenza assidua dei sacramenti, stette loro vicino durante le carestie e le ricorrenti epidemie come il colera, che flagellarono la città in quel periodo, peraltro agitata da sanguinosi tumulti.
Per ironia della sorte, fu proprio il teatino cofondatore Giampiero Carafa, divenuto papa Paolo IV a permettere che nell’Inquisizione, imperante in quei tempi, si usassero metodi diametralmente opposti allo spirito della Congregazione teatina, essenzialmente mite, permissiva, rispettosa delle altre idee.
E quando le autorità civili vollero instaurare nel Viceregno di Napoli, il tribunale dell’Inquisizione, il popolo napoletano (unico a farlo nella storia triste dell’Inquisizione in Europa) si ribellò; la repressione spagnola fu violenta e ben 250 napoletani vennero uccisi, per difendere un principio di libertà.
Gaetano in quel triste momento, fece di tutto per evitare il massacro e quando si accorse che la sua voce non era ascoltata, offrì a Dio la sua vita in cambio della pace; morì a Napoli il 7 agosto 1547 a 66 anni, consumato dagli stenti e preoccupazioni e due mesi dopo la pace ritornò nella città partenopea.
L’opera che più l’aveva assillato nella sua vita, era senza dubbio la riforma della Chiesa, al contrario del contemporaneo Martin Lutero, operò la sua riforma dal basso verso l’alto, formando il clero e dedicandosi all’apostolato fra i poveri, i diseredati e gli ammalati, specie se abbandonati.
A quanti gli facevano notare che i napoletani non potevano essere così generosi negli aiuti, come i ricchi veneziani, rispondeva: “E sia, ma il Dio di Venezia è anche il Dio di Napoli”.
Il popolo napoletano non ha mai dimenticato questo vicentino di Thiene, venuto a donarsi a loro fino a morirne per la stanchezza e gli strapazzi, in un’assistenza senza risparmio e continua. La piazza antistante la Basilica di S. Paolo Maggiore è a lui intitolata, ma la stessa basilica, per secoli sede dell’Ordine, è ormai da tutti chiamata di S. Gaetano; il suo corpo insieme a quello del beato Marinoni, del beato Paolo Burali e altri venerabili teatini è deposto nella cripta monumentale, che ha un accesso diretto sulla piazza, ed è meta di continua devozione del popolo dello storico e popoloso rione.
Nella piazza, come in altre zone di Napoli, vi è una grande statua che lo raffigura; da secoli è stato nominato compatrono di Napoli. Il suo è uno dei nomi più usati da imporre ai figli dei napoletani e di tutta la provincia. Egli venne beatificato il 23 novembre 1624 da papa Urbano VIII e canonizzato il 12 aprile 1671 da papa Clemente X.
San Gaetano da Thiene è la testimonianza di quanto la Chiesa nei secoli, attraverso i suoi figli, sia stata sempre all’avanguardia e con molto anticipo sul potere laico, nel realizzare, inventare e gestire opere di assistenza in tutte le sue forme per il popolo, specie dove c’è sofferenza. Ecco così i Monti di Pietà per giusti prestiti ed elargizioni, l’istituzione degli ospedali, orfanotrofi, ospizi, lebbrosari, ecc. a cui ieri come oggi i governanti più avveduti e non ostili, hanno dato il loro consenso o il prosieguo, anche se a distanza a volte di molto tempo.
Autore: Antonio Borrelli