samedi 29 mars 2014

Bienheureux LOUIS (LUDOVICO) de CASORIA, prêtre franciscain et fondateur

Bienheureux Ludovic de Casoria (Archange Palmentieri)

Prêtre franciscain à Naples ( 1885)

Prêtre franciscain à Naples béatifié le 18 avril 1993 à Rome par Jean-Paul II, Archange Palmentieri, nom de religion: Ludovico da Casoria, né en 1814 près de Naples, il se préoccupe de l'ignorance spirituelle et de la pauvreté de son époque. Il crée des revues pour y remédier et s'occupe de la misère des gens. Il influence des religieuses de sa région comme Catherine Volpicelli, Julie Salzano et Marie-Christine Brando, fondatrices de congrégations.

À Naples, en 1885, le bienheureux Louis de Casoria (Archange Palmentieri), prêtre de l’Ordre des Frères Mineurs. Poussé par l’ardeur de sa charité envers les pauvres, il fonda deux Congrégations, celle des Frères de la Charité et celle des Sœurs franciscaines de Sainte-Élisabeth.

Martyrologe romain


Bienheureux Louis de Casoria, prêtre

Archange Palmentieri, né en 1814 près de Naples, entra dans l’Ordre des Frères Mineurs sous le nom de Frère Louis de Casoria. Il se préoccupe de l'ignorance spirituelle et de la pauvreté de son époque, crée des revues pour y remédier et s'occupe de la misère des gens. Il fonda deux Congrégations, celle des Frères de la Charité et celle des Sœurs franciscaines de Sainte-Élisabeth et mourut à Naples en 1885.


Bienheureux Louis de Casoria PALMENTIERI
Prénom: Archange
Nom de religion: Louis de Casoria (Ludovicoa da Casoria)
Pays: Italie
Naissance: 1814  (Prés de Naples)
Mort: 30.03.1885  à Naples
Etat: Prêtre - Franciscain - Fondateur

Note: Franciscain. Fondateur des Frères de la Charité et des Sœurs dites "Elisabethines grises". S'occupe de la misère et de la souffrance des Napolitains, de l'indigence spirituelle de son époque, fondant plusieurs revues pour y remédier. Il influence le parcours de la vie religieuse de trois bienheureuses  de la même région napolitaine, fondatrices de Congrégations : Catherine Volpicelli  2 , Julie Salzano  2 , Marie Christine Brando  2 .

Béatification: 18.04.1993  à Rome  par Jean Paul II


Fête: 30 mars

Réf. dans l’Osservatore Romano: 1993 n.16 & 17
Réf. dans la Documentation Catholique: 1993 p.549

Blessed Ludovico of Casoria

Arcangelo Palmentieri, born in 1814, was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years.

In 1847 he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi.

He once said, “Christ’s love has wounded my heart.” This love prompted him to great acts of charity. To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose. Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as “light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion and life amid death.” The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993.

Blessed Louis of Casoria

(Luigi di Casoria)

Feast Day – March 15
Louis has been called a newly risen St Francis, especially because of his touching charity and his invincible trust in God. Casoria, near Naples, was the place where he was born in the year 1814. As a traveling cabinetmaker, the eighteen-year-old boy sought admission among the Franciscans. When he had completed his studies for holy orders, he was assigned to the task of teaching philosophy, physics, and mathematics to the young clerics. God, however, had chosen Blessed Louis of Casoria to be an apostle of charity.

At first Father Louis opened a dispensary for the poor. Then he founded two colleges, for boys and girls who were ransomed in Africa, and were to be educated as missionaries to their countrymen. Besides these, he founded also a college for the children of the nobility, and a half-dozen other institutions, for orphans, the deaf and dumb, the blind, for old people and for travelers.

In order to secure capable helpers, Blessed Louis of Casoria founded the “Grey Brothers” and the “Grey Sisters” from among the members of the Third Order. Wherever help was needed or any form of distress was to be alleviated, Father Louis was the first at hand to render aid.

To celebrate the seventh centenary of the birth of St Francis in 1882, he invited five thousand poor persons to dine with him. Louis Pecci, a nephew of Pope Leo XIII, who was a witness to this singular banquet, asked the generous host in astonishment how he had obtained the means to support all his foundations and organizations. “That I am not permitted to know,” was the remarkable yet the only correct answer Louis could give.

So it was indeed. He considered himself not the originator of these projects, but rather the tool for carrying out the will of God, in the measure in which God wished it and the manner in which God arranged it. While Louis needed enormous amounts of money, he was generally not in possession of a cent. Then he would say: “On the appointed day Christ will pay.”

A piece of property adjoining a church was to be sold at public auction to the highest bidder. Some sect was about to acquire it. Father Louis ordered his agent to buy it. “How high a price can we pay?” asked the agent. Father Louis answered unperturbed:

“There is no limit. One soldo is worth as much to me as a million, for I possess neither. But God is very wealthy and you will see, He pays promptly.”

And God paid!

Finally, after a lingering illness of nine years, this Franciscan friend of mankind went home to his generous Lord. It was on March 30, 1885.

from The Franciscan Book of Saints, edited by Marion Habig, OFM

Blessed Louis of Casoria (Beato Ludovico da Casoria)

Blessed Louis came into this world as Arcangelo Palmentieri in Casoria a suburb of Naples, Italy on March 11, 1814. He was the third sibling in a family of artisans. At the age of 18, he entered the Novitiate of Friars Minor at Lauro (Avellino). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4,1847 and began his activity as professor of philosophy and mathematics in the various Institutes of The Franciscan Order. Born into a world that had more of its typical share of strife and struggle, Blessed Louis’ life was engulfed in social-cultural upheavals of enormous dimensions: parental loss, social unrest, rampant contagious diseases, philosophical contention, full - scale revolution, political unrest and the abomination of slavery. This broad ranging turmoil marked what many might have thought was the onset of apocalyptic times.

Blessed Louis took these troublesome signs of the times at the urban, regional, national, and international levels and found in them both a challenge and an invitation: a challenge reflecting a world hopelessly splintered, an invitation to bring counter challenges, if not simple solutions. Blessed Louis not only formed within himself counter challenges, but also evoked from others unsuspecting responses. To troublesome times, he brought his own glimmer of hope, his own counter punch. Blessed Louis brought solutions to situations where some only seemed feasible, encouragement when hope seemed slim. His chronology flows with channels of generosity and courage. Institutions were born where none seemed possible. Strategies were mounted where hope seemed to be the offspring of desperation. His chronology tells a tale of mission impossible. His ministry flowed with love unlimited. He was a man for the time. Chronos was a challenge set before him; kairos was his response from a great heart, a clear mind, a resolute will.

This change and redirection of Blessed Louis’ life occurred one day while he was at prayer before The Blessed Sacrament, he fell to ground, experiencing what he was to call later his “second baptism”. This was his call to change direction and dedicate his life to works of charity on behalf of the less fortunate. From that time forward, his ministry to the less fortunate characterized Blessed Louis’ lifestyle.

From this time of reorientation, Blessed Louis began to meet with persons of differing political and cultural orientation; he founded academies of religious culture and Homes for the aged. With the approval of Ferdinand II, he was able to redeem numerous young slaves from Cairo and Alexandria, with a view to giving them a life of dignity, a Christian education, as well as a cultural preparation in such a way to be able to send them back to Africa as missionaries themselves. Many of these youths chose to be Baptized, Confirmed, and successively became priests, and consecrated women religious. As his works of charity grew, Blessed Louis saw the need to have a corps of helpers more closely aggregated to his works of charity.

The Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity were founded by Blessed Louis of Casoria to assist him in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy established by him and to continue this patrimony grafted on to the great spiritual tree of the Franciscan Family. At the time of the original foundation of the Congregation, Blessed Louis placed the Grey Friars under the Third Order Rule. However, the Third Order Rule at the time was the same for those living a communal, celibate life in hermitages or in convents as well as for those who lived at home or in their own families. The situation has changed recently. With the rewriting of the Third Order Rules (there is now one Rule for Seculars and one for Regulars ) all those who profess the Third Order Regular Rule are expected to profess the three vows. The profession of the three vows was never consonant with the intent of the founder and the intensification and propagation of our charism.

While it is true that organizational structures neither create nor define a religious community, efficiency of operation would be impossible without them. It is by means of the structures of government and lifestyle guidelines that the human resources and spiritual impact of a religious society’s members are integrated into the church as a single working entity. The more these structures flow from a recognized charism by the church and are human, personal and Christian, the more integrated and fully united to the life of the larger church will all become. Cardinal Alphonse Capecelatro, in his biography of Blessed Louis writes: “…He (Father Louis) wanted to gather about himself a religious, Franciscan family which would be characterized by humility, holiness, and industriousness. Blessed Louis wanted his Institute to be without vows of any kind but to be comprised of clerics who would direct the Institute and care for the spiritual needs of brothers and persons served in our corporate charities and the friars who would be concerned with the corporal works of mercy. The only binding force in the Institute would be charity nonetheless this community would be grafted on to the great Franciscan family. To the members of this community he gave the traditional Franciscan cruciform grey tunic over which we place a pointed scapular with an attached hood. By a mysterious disposition of Divine Providence, the life of Blessed Louis of Casoria offers his followers a twofold gift of divine mystery. The first is the sheer gift of his chronology. The second is the astounding impact of his great charisms.

In order to favor the growth and propagation of our identity and purpose and remain grafted on the great tree of Franciscan spirituality, the Friars and associates of this Institute are incorporated into membership by commitment to St Francis’ “Letter To The Faithful” and our particular Constitutions. Our Constitutions are governed by Canons no. 731-755 (Clerical Societies not bound by vows).

Such a lifestyle is more appropriately suitable to the formation and mission of our membership and the original desire and intention of Bl. Louis of Casoria for his Grey Friars. In a word, one might say that St. Francis’ Letter to the Faithful is our Rule and our particular Constitutions bring our life into relief. A document dear to all Grey Friars also is a volume written by Blessed Louis entitled On The Love of Jesus Christ. This volume constitutes a spiritual testament for us and is placed before our Constitutions. It was written by Blessed Louis of Casoria himself for the Grey Friars.

Ven. Louis of Casoria

Friar Minor and founder of the Frati Bigi; b. at Casoria, near Naples, 11 March, 1814; d. at Pausilippo, 30 March, 1885. His name in the world was Archangelo Palmentiere. On 1 July, 1832, he entered the Order of Friars Minor, and shortly after the completion of the year's novitiate was appointed to teach philosophy and mathematics in the Franciscan convent of San Pietro in Naples. Following the advice of his superiors, he instituted a branch of the Third Order at San Pietro from the members of which he formed later a religious institute, commonly known as the Frati Bigi on account of the grayish or ashen colour of their habits. Louis instituted likewise a congregation of religious women, known as the Suore Bigie, whom he placed under the protection of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. About the year 1852 he opened a school for the education of African boys and girls redeemed from slavery. Ten years before his death he was attacked with a serious and painful illness, from which he never completely recovered. The numerous works of charity in Naples, Rome, Assisi, and Florence which owe their origin to Louis of Casoria, as well as the fame for sanctity which he enjoyed even during his lifetime, account for the veneration in which he was held by all classes, high and low alike. The cause of his beatification was introduced in Rome in 1907.


Acta Ordinis Minorum (May, 1907), 156-158; The Catholic World (November, 1895), 155-166; Voce di Sant' Antonio (July, 1907), 23-26.

Donovan, Stephen. "Ven. Louis of Casoria." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.29 Mar. 2015 <>.