Camaldolese Spirituality: General Historical Overview / Implications

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Part of "Romualdian/Camaldolese/Benedictine Spirituality"

3. General Historical Overview / Implications

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The nuns were not centralized, but this is nothing new for religious women throughout the centuries, except in very specific circumstances, where we have some groupings of nuns who are very powerful, or who have good protection, such as the Cistercian nuns, because the Cistercian men, from the beginning, took care of them and made sure that they had protection. From the beginning, we have some groups of Camaldolese nuns who depend upon the Prior General. So, from the beginning, they're protected, they're under the Prior General. But we have others, other groups of nuns, who do not have anything to do with the Prior General as such, but are dependent upon one little Camaldolese house of men, and are subject to them, basically. And we have a whole other group, and unfortunately, this became a historical modus vivendi for the sisters, down to the present times, where we had nuns depending upon the local bishop.


So, they were under the diocesan bishop. Not under the Prior General, not under a Camaldolese house, but under the bishop, and basically, the whims of the bishop. From the years 10,000—excuse me, I said that twice now—from the millennium, the year 1000, until 1400, so in four centuries there, we have 24 monasteries of Camaldolese nuns. Now we can point to 70 of them, but at this point, in the first 400 years, we can point to 24 of them existing. There were also, parenthetically put, there were also hundreds of hospitals and hospices under the benefaction of the Camaldolese congregation,


seen as especially and specifically ordered to the contemplative life of apostolate by Rudolf and successors of Camaldolese. And so, not only did the hospice work and the hospitality work get a benevolent nod from the superiors early on of Camaldolese—Rudolf, after all, was the fourth Prior of Camaldolese—but it became a must. All hermitages were supposed to have hospitality work of some sort going on. In the year 1407, the House of St. Michael of Murano is given its right to elect its Prior autonomously. Remember, I already mentioned where the House in Florence had that permission.


Here in the year 1407, St. Michael of Murano was given its right, and there's an interesting political intrigue that went on here. And between Venice and the papal army and the Pope's desire to go to war and needing the help of Venice, and the quid pro quo was permission from the Pope for Murano to get this right. Not Camaldoli, it was the Pope who imposed it at the behest of the Venetian political authorities to give Murano a little more autonomy. In the 1400s through the early 1500s, we have a general period of monastic decadence. This is not just Camaldoli. Monastic decadence more or less everywhere is going on.


Everybody is going downhill, historically. But, it's not a time without lights. Remember, this is also the time of the Renaissance. And so Camaldoli, the Camaldolis have wonderful things that happen during this period, and wonderful people and saints who come to the fore during this time. But generally put, it was not a good time for the order, and it was not a good time for monasticism in general. It was a time of struggle within our own order, and thank God we had people like Traversari, Moriotto Allegri, his successor, and then Pietro Delfino, those three men especially, who not only held the congregation together, but gave great leadership and allowed the community and the congregation to prosper within a period of general decadence.


So, it wasn't just momentary flashes of light. We had a pretty steady light source, but they had to fight. These prior generals had to fight for reform, and they had to encourage their Camaldolis brothers and sisters to embrace reform. But they were strong people, and they did a number of wonderful things. It was at this time that, at the behest of Traversari, Moriotto Allegri went to Camaldoli and started the school at Camaldoli during this time. And also, later on, Moriotto is also going to be the one who initiates the ongoing humanistic studies discussion program, which became so famous at Camaldoli under Landino and others. This is after the death of Traversari, when Moriotto is elected the new general and continues the work begun by Traversari.


These are the humanistic studies and the prospering of humanism within a monastic, Christian, Benedictine, Camaldolese environment. The year 1492. Not only did Columbus sail the ocean blue—you knew that was coming—but the mausolea was constructed under Delphini. Mausolea, very important. Very important today. Mausolea is that area below Camaldoli that Camaldoli owns, where it has its vineyards and this whole series of wonderful centuries-old houses that they've restored and rent out. And our nuns down there, half one of them is their monastery. Centuries old, just absolutely beautiful. This place is worth millions and millions, and Camaldoli has put millions into it. I say this is important to Camaldoli because we no longer own Camaldoli. We're just caretakers there since the suppressions.


We have no right over Camaldoli in Italy. But we do own the mausolea. So it gives some financial stability to the Italian Camaldolese, which they can't find in their buildings anymore. Those were taken away. They don't belong to us. Some of the buildings do. Fonte Avalon, I believe, we own Fonte Avalon. That's the exception. Most of our monasteries we don't own anymore since the suppressions. And so this mausolea is real important financially to the security of the congregation and could come in very important, at a very important point down the line if something should happen. Anyway, this mausolea was constructed by Peter Delfino and then renewed again in the mid-1600s and has off and on prospered and become again the mainstay financially for the Camaldolese in Italy. 1498, for those of you who haven't read Nino's, well, most of you have. We just got it a week ago.


But there's this wonderful story about how the Venetian army attacks Camaldoli with hundreds of soldiers and Camaldoli wins. It's a marvelous story and Nino goes great hilt with it, full hilt with it. It's true. It's true history and it's an amazing chapter in the history of Camaldoli with Venice attacking the monastery. Not so much because they hated the monastery but because it was mixed in the political with Florence. It was aligned to Florence and because of that it became a bone of contention. Anyway, read it. It's interesting. The year 1513, Pope Leo X divides the Camaldolese houses into 17 groupings. Not 17 houses, 17 groupings of houses. The Pope does this. 1520, Paul Giustiniani, blessed Paul Giustiniani now, leaves Camaldoli.


He is the superior of Camaldoli, of the Sacro Eremo at the time. Until 1520 he leaves. On the day I became Camaldolese, September 14th, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It's the day he leaves Camaldoli with a small band. With permission from the Pope to do this, in order to experiment with a different type of aramidical life. Which, in short order, becomes its own congregation. It was not originally designed to do that at all. Again, we're going to talk about this separately. 1524, the new church is finished at Camaldoli. This is Camaldoli down the hill, at Fonte Buono, the Arch Sinobium. Its new church is finished.


And this is the church we have now. This is a quote. It started up in 1772. Dal Lino is not at all happy with what they did in 1772. But neither are the monks at Camaldoli. If you talk to them at all about their church, it's all full of curly cues and colors and paintings. And doodads. It started up, if you've been to Italy, it started up just like most of the other churches. And there's nothing the monks can do about it. They cannot make any changes in the church. Without the permission of the various ministries within the government. And they don't want churches changed. Because they see them as museums. Unfortunately, they were stuck with, as Dal Lino put it, the tartar of 1772. Because before then it was probably quite much more simple and quite nicer. At least Dal Lino seems to feel so. 1526, two years later, you have the first general chapter of the Coronese.


They've already become their own congregation. Within six years, it's a major split for all practical purposes. 1543, the Fatima Chia is built. This is the pharmacy at Camaldoli. It dates back to the 1040s. They actually work with, as I mentioned, herbs. The liqueurs that they sell at Camaldoli date way back. And they're basically herbal medicines. They're now treated as liqueurs for the café after a meal. But they date back as herbal cures, way back in the history of Camaldoli. It's in this year that the farm of Chia, as we have it now, is actually built. It's a beautiful, beautiful place. With intricate woodwork. 1546, another one of our houses. Saint, I'll put it in English, Saint Hippolytus of Faenza.


Faenza is the city where Peter Damien is buried in the Cathedral. He died there. This house becomes the central house for the abbot general of the, obviously, when you say abbot, cenobitical branch of the Camaldolese. During the 16th century onwards, the general chapter, for all practical purposes, becomes the real ruling power for the Camaldolese history. Not who is the abbot general and who is the prior general. No. What does the general chapter say? From here on in. In the year 1607, Pope Paul V divides the congregation into four parts. You'll see that on your diagram. The four parts are Tuscany.


These are geographical areas of Italy. Tuscany, Romagna, Venezia, and Urbino or Marche. Marche or Urbino is the section where Fonte Avalon is, basically. 1607. Oh, do you have one that doesn't have the dates on it? Half of them have dates already on it. 1631. No. What did I give you? I should say 1607 is the date you want. Yeah, okay. 1616, the hermits secede from the Union. And now there are five autonomous congregations, all separate, all calling themselves Camaldolese, and all eremitical, except Murano, which is cenobitical. Murano is the center, the cenobitical influence.


In 1631, Camaldolese helps the valley which is below, by the Mausolea onwards, the valley is called the Casentino, the Casentine Valley. The monks went down and helped with a bubonic plague that was going on there. And two of the monks actually died ministering to plague victims in this year. 1634, Pope Urban VIII orders all the hermits back together again. Exclamation point. Enough of this craziness that's going on, all these different groups and whatnot. Well, we'll see how far he gets. Immediately, problems arise. The Coronese, Monte Corona group, and Camaldolese don't want to be together again because they have different ways of doing things. That's how they put it. Our customs are different. There's a lot of anger in the Piedmontese congregation


because the Pope, with this proposed union, is telling the Piedmontese that the abbot general in Piedmont has to give up his pontificals. Obviously, this is different from Camaldolese and Monte Corona. He's all decked out, but of course, remember I said we're going to treat them simply. This is the rich congregation, and they are well endowed. Well endowed. And they say, you have to take off your ring and your miter, and the Piedmontese are not happy with that at all. The French are out of contact with everybody. They don't know what's going on. They know that they're put in, and this is just geographically, they're always out of contact, and they're always on their own. There's very little dialogue going on with the rest of the Camaldolese order. And much of the time, the French, again,


we'll treat this separately, the French are the poorest of all the Camaldolese. They can't afford trips to Italy, for one thing. They're geographically separate, and they have to deal with a government that's unique. So do the Italians, but I mean, at least all the other ones are Italians, and they're all dealing with the same thing. The French have another animal together. So, obviously, the union isn't going to last very long, and the French didn't even know much of what the union was anyway before they found out it was already ended. So they weren't basically into it at all, and it eroded in no time at all. In the year 1667, you have Pope Clement IX saying, this union started by my wonderful successor, who meant well, means nothing, and it dissolved by the pope. It's at this point, you know, you know, Cenzo Gargano mentions at this point


that what we have is three very diverse and antagonistic congregations from here on. Why did he say three? I can't stop and think. I don't understand that. I don't understand why he has three. Two hermits and one synod. Four hermits and one synod. So I don't know whom he's putting together. Maybe he's putting French Piedmontese and Monte Corona together, because they're very similar. Although they weren't canonically together, they basically were the same. Maybe he's doing that. Certainly Camaldoli and the celibatical Murano are two of the three. 1693, the church at the Eremo, the Sacra Eremo, burns.


It doesn't burn completely, but it's catastrophic, and they have to replace a lot of the roof, and a lot of the original artwork they have was destroyed, including some paintings by Vasari, which are lamented by Doneno. Another Italian told me he's glad that they burned. He doesn't like Vasari. 1695. There is a move toward the union of Piedmont, the Coronese, and Tuscany, Camaldoli. And this one, Camaldoli's against it, and it sabotages the whole thing. This is one of many instances. It's at this point, with all this hassle, that you have the Cenobites. Remember, the other four groups are all hermits. The Cenobites begin


an incredibly prosperous and monastically observant period of history. The really observant ones at this time are the Cenobites, Camaldolians, not the hermits. The hermits are all bickering, and they're caught up in their little differences, and it's kind of a mess. The Cenobites go into this incredible historical phase of, and it's no wonder that they have saints coming out of this, and bishops and cardinals and a pope that flow out of this period of up to 200 years. Or 150 years, let's put it that way. They have, the Cenobites at this point, have 46 monasteries. Many scholars and teachers, remember they're Cenobites, they're out in active ministry as well as living in a monastery, the common life together. Scientists, university posts being held.


Writers, great centers of culture, Murano, that was its downfall, because the political powers in Venice became very jealous of Murano. That's why we didn't get it back. Florence, very, very powerful center of culture. Rome and Ravenna, especially those four. Looking at the Coronese, just in general, before the suppressions, the Coronese experienced incredible growth and expansion. In the year 1669, there were 356 Monte Corona hermits in 18 houses. This is very strict reform movement within the Commodolese family. 356 of them in 18 houses. The Piedmontese almost united with the Coronese. They almost did at one point. But they didn't, because Monte Corona also said,


you have to give up your miter, your ring, and they wouldn't do it again. And so Piedmont did not join Coronese, even though outside of that, they used the customary of Monte Corona for all practical purposes, they were Coronese. And again, the frills got in the way. Both the Piedmont, and Piedmontese, and French congregations modeled themselves consistently on the Coronese. Even though they had little things that made them different, each congregation, their heroes were the Monte Corona group. And perhaps, if the suppressions hadn't happened, ultimately, they would have become Coronese. It's quite possible. From 1700 to 1800, in Tuscany, I'll just give you a number and a date, we have almost 600 choir monks and conversi,


conversi at this time. Almost 600. So Tuscany is also a sizable group. In other words, we're at a period where there's lots, lots of camaraderies of every sort. Five different sorts. They're all doing well, except the French didn't do too well. They were very, very poor. During the years 1770 to 1810, we have the suppressions of all the cenobitic houses. So within a period of 40 years, all the cenobitic houses are closed down. 300 monks are thrown out. This is Napoleon. In the year 1823, the cenobites, at least those who could band together again and who still wanted to be monks, started over again with 76 monks. 76 came back with what houses they could get back. But within 20 years, they're up to 130 monks again.


So they get a fresh start. However, seven years later, all the religious houses are closed again by Victor Emmanuel II. Actually, it was a period of 15 years, but it began then. And everything they had recovered just went... Really, the cenobitical congregation never quite came back, ever. Never quite recovered. They came back slowly and limped along the early part of the century. They never made it back. So it's not surprising they were suppressed in 1935, even though there's lots of claudias regarding that suppression in 1935. We'll talk about that later, too. A lot of mystery about that whole business. This is followed by slow building and reacquisitions for all the groups that are left.


That is, the Monte Corona, Tuscany, Camongoli, that is, we are part of that, and the cenobitical. The Piedmontese no longer exist and the French Congregation no longer exist. You're down to three now. In 1935, as I said, you have the forced union of all the cenobites with the Tuscan hermits, whether they like it or not. And many of them did not particularly like it It's at this point in 1935 that the Camongolis are pulled out of Texas and back to Italy. And we'll talk about that when we get to that point. I'm wondering if we shouldn't break now. And then I will treat each of these other smaller congregations and then go into the 20th century for the second half. This is where I did it the other time. So let's break until 3.30. Okay.


I left off with the look at Camongoli. Now we need to look at the cenobitic congregation within that set up. And then we'll look at Monte Corona, Piedmont, and the French Congregations. And then we'll look at the 20th century down to the present. These will be much quicker. I had to center most of my study because we're talking about Camongoli's spirituality in history. The Congregation of St. Michael of Murano, which is the cenobitic congregation. St. Michael of Murano was founded in the year 1212. Now, there is there is a tradition that it goes back much farther. Much farther. There's even a tradition that goes back to 980, something like that. Certainly not as St. Michael of Murano,


but that there was some kind of monastic little grouping or little settlement or at least a chapel on this island back then. There are references to it. So there's some kind of monastic presence going on during those early centuries. But foundation as a Camongoli's house is in 1212. There's a wonderful two-volume history of this monastery written by a Franciscan from Venice. I'm forgetting his name right now. He did wonderful work. His name is in the bibliography. It begins with M. Doesn't matter. Anyway, he did a wonderful job of that history. In the year 1407, as I mentioned before, and this was another death annul to Camongoli's power,


St. Michael of Murano, through the powers in Venice, get permission to have their own prior, the election of their own prior, and they don't have to submit it to Camongoli for any approval whatsoever. This is new. Even though Florence has had it for a while already. But here's another house that has it. Camongoli is not happy. 1607. We have at this point a semi-independent state of affairs. That is, St. Michael of Murano is still part of, is still joined with Camongoli, but it's not a happy union, and the writing is on the wall, in other words. It's sort of moving into its own power, its own structure, vying with Camongoli. Murano and Camongoli are going to be the two biggies. At this point, with this semi-independent state of affairs going on,


it organizes itself into four provinces. Tuscany, that is, it has its own cenobitic houses in Tuscany, where Camongoli is, Romagna, the Veneto, Venezia, and the Marche. There are 44 monasteries at this point, all divided into these four main sections, plus all the parishes and chaplaincies they have. Remember, these are cenobites we're talking about. They're into active church work, university teaching, etc. They're Camongolis. 1616, there's full independence, full independence as a congregation from St. Michael of Murano. It's not just an aggregate, it's not just a grouping of cenobites within the Camongolis family, it is its own congregation, officially. And it has ten times


the number of houses and monks as the hermits of this time. It's powerful, very powerful, and very big, relatively speaking, at least as far as Camongoli goes. In the year 1651, there are almost 500 monks, there are 474 monks, to be precise. We get these numbers in Dei Semana from Croce, that's why we're so grateful to him. He's done all this Picayune research, he knows what each grouping is, and that sort of thing, of course, sociologically, tells you something about what's going on from year to year, or decade to decade, in particular groupings. You also find this number and the lists of the houses and the abbess general in Lugano. Lugano is the Monte Corona scholar, but he, again, studied all the Camongolis family


and all the Benedictines in Italy, and did marvelous work, and we have a lot through him, also. And I can give you the lists of the houses, photocopies, lists of the houses and all the abbess general and the dates and all that, if you're interested in that sort of thing. What are the more important houses then in this congregation? Certainly St. Michael of Murano is important, this is the mother house of the Archangels in Florence. Very, very famous, very important. St. Hippolytus in English, St. Hippolytus in Faenza. This, later on, remember, becomes the central house for this congregation, for the Cenobites. Fonte Avellana is in this grouping. Remember, it's no longer a hermitage, it ended being a hermitage, it became a synagogue. Now, obviously,


if it's a synovium, it's going to be part of this group. And St. Gregory in Rome. San Gregorio Arcelio, which is our house in Rome, was also part of this group. Along with many, many others, 40 to 50 others, including San Biagio di Fabriano, I've got it up there somewhere. This is where, it's important because the whole shrine in the crypt chapel with Romuald's body is in Fabriano. We have three monks there, down to this day, at the shrine, at the pilgrimage center. And there's a surprise, by the way, just parenthetically, this has nothing to do with the history right now, but just parenthetically, while I'm thinking of it, there's a widespread devotion to Romuald in Italy by the wanderer. Do you know something about that, too?


Did you know that already? So hikers and pilgrims and whatnot have this devotion, and they'll buy little statues of Romuald and have it in their cars, like we do with St. Christopher Medals and whatnot. St. Romuald has that certain devotion in Europe regarding traveling. It's ironic for the hermit to be, but again, he was the itinerant hermit, if you know the history. Principal houses of studies for this congregation, I'm just going to mention a couple. In fact, you can take the same list I gave you of the houses, important houses, and drop St. Hippolytus, and you've got the ones I would mention anyway. There are others, but those are the ones I would mention. And San Gregorio would only be later on, down the line, but it's very important, down to this day. There is an incredible list


of people that come out of this Morano group, the Cenobitic group. If you want to read a who's who in Camaldoli's history, about two-thirds of it is going to be people who are Cenobites, because they made the headlines. They wrote the books, they painted the paintings, they were the scientists, they were the professors, they were mathematicians, they were cosmographers from Morano, down the line, etc. They were, for the most part, the bishops and the cardinals, and certainly the pope was the Cenobite. Also, most of the musicians, not all of them, but most of the famous musicians were Cenobitic, and on down the line, the poets, the literati, most of them come from this group. During the 1700s for this group, there were certain signs of decadence setting in, mainly due to two things.


Sign of the times, in the 1700s, there wasn't much happening, going on anywhere in the monastic world, generally speaking. Yes, certain things here and there, but generally speaking, it's not a good time, 1700s for monasticism. You have political cartoons coming out, like a fat monk, and all of that, in various writings in various countries. And that feeds into the whole movement of republic that happens in France, and all these republics popping up in the 1700s, not a good time for monasticism. Also, the commandant. The commandant scourge did so many of our houses in. They just couldn't keep up. Payments up. It's like taxation. They just couldn't afford these commandant abbots, many of whom they never saw or never knew anyway, but they had title of the money. Not a good thing.


By the year 1790, you have 163 monks in the Papal States. It's gone way down. Now here, if you know your history, historically, the Papal States are still existing. The republicans are not happy with that at all. There's all kinds of levels to that political arena, and vying factions, even within the Vatican, within Rome. Cardinals against cardinals, armies against armies, down to 163 monks in the Papal States. Many of the other, I just say the Papal States because many of the others have been dissolved by republican movements or have closed down because they couldn't make it anymore due to taxation or whatever. And what's viable now, by this year, is what's still protected by the Papal State situation.


In the 1800s, what do you get? Right from the beginning in the 1800s, a whole series of suppressions, laws coming out, bit by bit, biting chunks out of the monasteries, eliminating people, raising the age for entrance into novitiate, and then refusing novices altogether, just eating away and eroding month after month after month so that within a few years, monasticism, for all practical purposes, has been totally suppressed. Then again, you have the revivals. So during the 1800s, you have the ups and downs of monasticism in Europe, certainly in Kamali's monasticism. In the early 1900s, we're talking about the Cenobites now. In the early 1900s, we have an attempt at a foundation in Texas. It's actually in Galveston, Texas. They have a large parish that there were nuns also, Kamali's nuns in Texas. In 1935,


we have the suppression of the congregation. I'm not mentioning Brazil because Brazil is not Cenobitic. Brazil was a Kamaldoli foundation. We'll talk about that later. 1935, this congregation is totally suppressed, and the details are still under a cloud. We'll talk about that when we cover the 20th century analysis. Okay, you see things are going to go faster now. We're on to the next congregation, Monte Corona. In the year 1480, and this is a man I personally want to study if I'm given enough years, because I think, I agree with Don Lino, not enough is known or has been done on Peter Delfino, our last general, Kamaldoli's general elected for life. He deserves much more credit for what he did and who he was. Very, very cultured man,


very well educated, balanced, prudent advisor, very austere and fervent, probably a saint, who towards the end of his career fumbled a lot, didn't want to step on any toes and had to deal with all kinds of factions among the monks and disgruntled monks and hermits who felt he had his hands full. He becomes prior general in the year 1480. He's the young abbot of St. Michael of Murano. The general chapter elects him in order to stave off St. Michael of Murano going off on its own. They say, well let's elect the abbot as the prior general and then they won't go on their own. We can keep the program together. And it worked for a while. It worked for a while. Not too long, but it worked. And they got a wonderful prior general in the mix.


The year 1510, Tommaso, Thomas Giustiniani, his religious name was Paul or Paolo, his dates 1476, 1528, joins Camaldo. Very, very well educated, very incredibly intelligent and religiously fervent, a humanist scholar from Venice. Remember, the prior general is Delfino who is from Venice. He's clothed as a novice on Christmas Day. Two years later, other friends of his, other humanists from Venice, Venetians, are clothed. I'll give you the name of one, Pietro Quirini, who was important. Right down the bottom of the first column. Important.


He doesn't live very long, but he's very important for who he was and what he did along with Giustiniani. And Giustiniani in that same year, this is two years after he's clothed as a novice, professes his solemn vows. Obviously they're a different setup than we have now. Professes solemn vows. Now, parenthetically, Delfino had been involved in trying to regularize the observance in the houses during his early years. But he wasn't very successful in that because the Camaldolese have so many different things going on from house to house. They had sort of fallen apart from a centralized way of doing things Camaldolese. Each house had its own traditions. There was some discontent among some monks who wanted the old rituals put back in full force. Well, there always seems to be some of that in any given age, monastically.


There were many others who didn't want to go back to the old ways, who wanted things just as they were. There was another faction who wanted things loosened up a little bit. Some houses, or parts of these houses, wanted to assume the reform customs of the Santa Justina movement. For those of you who know the Santa Justina reform movement that centered Padova under Ludovico Balbo, Luigi Balbo. Very, very important to Benedictine monastic history. Extremely successful reform movement. Authentic. Well, this is starting up now and some of the Camaldolese wanted to join that. Others would say, we don't want to hear of this, doing what those Black Benedictines


are doing, reform movement or not. We are Camaldolese and we need to do our own reformation. We need to do our own homework with our general chapter. Rather than follow somebody else's movement that's going on at that time. Mainly the houses of one area that wanted to do this. Well, it stands to reason it was the Venice region, it was the Veneto where these people were coming from because Balbo was connected to the Veneto, to the Benedictines in that area. There was a lot of murmuring and some resentment of Delfino towards the end from both directions. His finger. But he was elected as a young


general for a long time. So it's only towards the end that he had all these problems. Also we have the ever-present antipathy between hermits and coming to the fore during this time at a high level for poor Delfino to try to deal with. In 1513 Giovanni de' Medici is elected Pope. He's a very close friend to Quirini and Giustiniani. He's a personal friend. Quirini was an ambassador to Spain, I believe. Maybe Portugal. I could be wrong on this. One of those two for Venice before he became a monk. Extremely articulate, well-known in Europe. Very capable person. And he was Giustiniani's disciple, basically.


Close friend, but Giustiniani was his hero. They're both aligned with Giovanni de' Medici who happened to be in Florence before he was elected Pope. And Quirini and Giustiniani got to know him at parties. It's not the word to use. What word should I use? At functions. At social functions. Ecclesiastical functions. Where this archbishop who would become the famous Neopitan was the principal character. Also remember, this is a humanistic culture. Humanism is going on. Florence is the seat of humanism or one of them. And who are humanists? Pope Leo X, Quirini, and Giustiniani. All humanists.


Along with many others. Certainly all humanists. So they have a lot of commonality. This friend of Giustiniani, a very well-placed friend, being that he's Pope, is going to help him erect his new congregation. But for now, Pope Leo X enables Giustiniani. Remember now, I've given you what's going on. There's a lot of problems right now. And Delfino can't get his finger on things. He can't clear up the mess. And the Pope enables Giustiniani and Quirini to reform the Commodores congregation. We're talking about a man who's been in the Order three years. It would be as if who do we have here? It would be as if Christopher and Drasco were given permission, having been here about seven months, by the prior general to effect the new reforms of new Commodory Law. Okay.


That gives you a feeling for the situation they were in. But they had the power from the Pope and they took advantage of it. The general chapter was called and everything that they ran through, Quirino, Quirini, and Giustiniani, was accepted by the chapter or pushed through politically through the chapter. And it's a good reformation and the Pope puts his imprimatur on. Probably without even reading much of it. Delfino, by the way, at this chapter, they end prior generals for life. No more lifetime priors general. Delfino is the last one. And he retires very hurt, disheartened. He goes back to Venice, to Murano,


where he dies three years down the road. Quirini dies the next year. Here we have, he's been only there one year and is given permission with Giustiniani to reform the carnegation and he dies the next year. It's a very short and lustrous activity going on here. Everything's happening very quick, maybe too quick. In the year, two years later, in the year 1516, Giustiniani is elected Maggiore at the Aramo. This position of Maggiore is not the prior general but this is the superior of the hermitage. It's like today's vice-prior of the sacred hermitage. So, right now it is Cardinal. The prior at Camaldoli up the hill is Cardinal right now and down the hill is Ugo. They're the vice-priors.


They're not the prior general but they're the Maggiore for those two houses. A very important, powerful position and maybe even more so in past years. For instance, in this century. Very important position. Giustiniani is in charge of this hermitage in other words. He can enact, he can take this legislation they have and put it into practice. And these come out. In the year 1518, two years down the road, Giustiniani receives from Pope Leo X all the ancient rites for Camaldoli. All the stuff that goes way back that made Camaldoli great and gave all kinds of freedom and power and whatnot. Because they're good friends, Pope Leo X brings all that back and gives it to Giustiniani for, I mean gives it to Camaldoli but because of Giustiniani. In the year 1520,


Giustiniani publishes at Camaldoli the rule of the hermitical life. The rule of the hermit life. And he discovers he wants to form a new hermitical institute. Because there's all kinds of turmoil still going on at Camaldoli. Because just because you run through something through a general chapter doesn't mean it's going to make everybody happy and everybody march and step. And it didn't. There's all kinds of discontent going on and factions. And they're all mad at him and so what do they do? They re-elect him in majority. Now you figure out the logic of that, I can't. But they re-elect him in charge and they're all mad at fighting with him and he leaves on September 14 to try out with the permission of the Pope his friend Leo X and leaves to try out a new experiment with


the arimitical life. A new way to tighten up things and to live a more authentic arimitical life. So a reform movement. And in 1523, three years later, we have the erection of the Company of Hermits of St. Ronald. That's their first name. The Company of Hermits of St. Ronald and this is effected at the monastery in Fabriano at San Biagio. The only reason I can figure that they went there was because the body of Ronald was there. We're talking about it's ironic that they should set up this Monte Coro movement in a cenobitic house. So I presume that was because of the corpse of Ronald there. One year later they had the first general chapter and they come out with their arimitical rule and one year later in 1525 they're totally autonomous. It's all broken off. This was never


the intention at all but they become a whole movement and they grow rather quickly. In 1528 Giustiniani I'm having trouble with that name Giustiniani dies on June 28th. Monte Corona is named the head of their congregation and so they take on that name later on. The coronazi the coronards because the mother house is Monte Corona and they have a rather auspicious history until the suppression. They grow phenomenally. In the years remember in the year 1634 we had that pope who was Urban the 8th and I don't remember the numbers the one who came and said oh let's all get back


together again and let's try and remember we have people living traditions that they're used to that are very different from the other ones and you had the pope coming and saying oh no it's all bygones be bygones and let's all get together and you do Piedmontese you draw get rid of your minor and this and that and okay well that starts in 1634 by 1667 you have the other pope saying hey it didn't work and at the end you end up with five groups all autonomous and at periods certainly mutually distincting one another. However for Monte Corona this period after that attempted reunion but even during it was a time of incredible expansion and building remember this is an extremely strict austere group in the year 1767 their status is 500


and some hermits in the papal states Veneto Napoli Poland Lithuania Germany Hungary Austria and Slovakia they have hermitages in all these countries incredible expansion but the suppressions come the restorations the suppressions and the restorations again they they particularly went through a number of vicious laws of suppression during the mid 1800s that they had to endure and that's been down to the present they are as big as we are probably slightly smaller now they're not prospering too much except in Poland there are a lot of old Coronese but in Poland they have some young people


and it was kind of moving towards Monte Corona and the Duke of Savoy Carl Emanuel I asked him would you mind taking over an old monastery that I have in my property this is a priory a foundation of St. Paul here we are again this is one of the foundations he says sure I'd love to he starts a movement only hermitages which quickly acquires autonomy and he has the political power the Duke of Savoy in that region and he has lots of money and he can do what he wants he models the movement on the Coronese rather than Tuscany he models them on the customary I should say he adapts the customary the way they did


things in the Coronese rather than his own tradition of commandment in the 1602 we have the foundation then in Torino Turin of the first house holy savior in the 1614 we have the foundation of the second one Belmonte also called Busca and that flourished for quite a while also we have another foundation which was famous called Selva Maggiore it was famous because it had such a broken history it was on and off on and off a number of times between 1611 and 1725 another house another hermitage was called Lanzo and St. Tecla in Genoa these


were the main houses a rather wealthy group generally supported by the local people the local people and the court of Savoy loved them and gave them lots of money and I imagine the monks loved the money I don't know they built great and powerful hermitages and their basic development was in the late 1600s and early 1700s when they flourished their novices basically came from the diocesan clergy religious from other institutes who transferred into them lawyers nobles doctors and officers from the army so they had rather a lustrous source of vocations but it also colored their way of life which became very precious in many


ways they had some noteworthy figures and I mentioned these in case you ever do any commodity studies at all and they ran into these names other than Alessandro Ceva Vittori Testa who was Ceva's biographer a monk named Apollinare Chiomba who was a famous historian and probably the one you would run into if any Michele or Michael Sassetti he was famous not so much for being a monk but for the reformation work he did in the field of education in the kingdom of Savoy after these people were suppressed so he's known for other reasons however he's also known within the family because he tried


in the times of suppression to revive the congregation and kept it going for about 20 years however Sassetti himself was probably gave the death blow to the congregation while he was in charge because he was so incredibly harsh and for those of you who know Enneagram he was probably a monk and everybody had a marching step probably a step it is he who said who worked enacted this law for the congregation he condemned the growing of flowers in the gardens of the hermitage because it's basically just a distraction and not worth it I love my flower garden I'm not too fond of Sassetti he didn't do much good for the congregation but again for this


area of the country he did wonders in education reformation he was an educator and that comes later on and that's what he's known for Monte Corona was interested in this group and kind of aligned with them of course you know there's a mutual attraction going on there because they modeled themselves on Monte Corona but that ended rather abruptly when the Piedmontese houses started taking in guests and the Coronese were scandalized by this that they were taking in guests that visitors and retreatants were allowed at the hermitages and Monte Corona ceased contact with the Piedmontese congregation over that issue in 1801


most of the houses were suppressed except Lanza and Lanza dies out despite Cesetti's attempts to revive the movement in Piedmont okay French congregation this congregation really dates back to a man named Boniface d'Antoine who was a professed member of Torino so he actually was a professed member of Piedmont who went back to France and but he lived all his monastic life in France and didn't have any connection with Piedmont other than being a novice there at one point in his life so there was no juridical connection with Piedmont between Piedmont and France he died at the age of 94 in the year 1673 evidently very holy


man renowned there were some attempts to join the Piedmontese congregation and Boniface again was a member of that group but they never enacted it officially and the French government wouldn't have liked that anyway and wouldn't have approved it the parliament wouldn't have approved it so they remained an autonomous congregation and they were basically isolated to everybody else within the Camaldolese family some


famous important dates and names the foundation of Notre Dame des Anges Our Lady of the Angels the first house that's founded in France between the years 1604 and 1607 this is an attempt in Provence in southern France by hermits who said they were following the spirit of they didn't belong to anyone they were doing their own thing and so it wasn't a serious Camaldolese foundation to begin with it only lasted three years at most but it's the first indication of a long


not even two centuries same with people not even two centuries okay now what we want to do lastly is to look at the 20th century and that will carry us up to the point where tomorrow we can talk about Camaldolese spirituality in the year 1866 the monks were expelled from Camaldolese this is part of the Italian suppression and at the time of the expulsion the majority of the hermits set up shop just a few kilometers down the road at Pratalia where a rich benefactor named Carlo Schimoni offered them a small villa he had which they named Saint San Alberigo and where they tried to maintain their monastic life as


it was lived at Camaldolese to the best of their ability until they could be back to Camaldolese during this time the congregation tried to provide and the little allotment the little allowance that they got from the government when the monks were kicked out the government was at least good enough to give a little monthly allotment to each monk so they wouldn't starve in the streets they also opened a college which later moved to Born Solazzo this is the famous Born Solazzo it moved there in 1905 and many of our contemporary powerful figures went to school as little boys wearing little habits Camaldolese habits at Born Solazzo including Vincenzo Calati and many


others I have a I have a picture a picture from Born Solazzo towards the end with all these little students and their little habits it's so foreign to how we think of things but anyway this is when Born Solazzo is founded and thank God for Born Solazzo because it's mainly through Born Solazzo that we got vocations in a very hard time kept the congregation going that and the fact that certain Italian secular priests kept joining this small group and kept it going also they were inspired by the hermits who were holding their own and keeping to their life and they helped to keep it going so here you have a period in our history where diocesan priests and what little students we could get kept us going through the years 1899 important year on July 18th of that


year the chapter at Camaldoli they're back at Camaldoli now the chapter I don't remember what year they actually were allowed back into Camaldoli as caretakers we've never been given Camaldoli back up until the present time but they're there as caretakers the chapter voted unanimously and this gives you an indication of how things are going at this point the offer of making a foundation in Brazil because it was a way to guarantee the future continuity of the order that's how they felt if Italy was so iffy still at the end of the century that they voted unanimously to make a foundation in Brazil Camaldoli was not making a lot of foreign foundations doing any of its history you had the Cornese doing that you had the Cenobitico group doing that not Camaldoli


not Camaldoli here they do it things are looking really iffy the next year 1900 on February 7 official presence began at the parish of I don't know Portuguese does anyone here know Portuguese? Caxias or Caxias or Caxias Brazil it's with an X maybe a ship sound Caxias where there were immigrants of Italian and German extract living there maybe that's why maybe that's why the little foundation on Areque maybe the name comes from that because there were German immigrants there as well maybe I don't know anyway the foundation is given the name New Camaldoli so we're the second New Camaldoli this is the first New Camaldoli and pretty soon in no time at all a hermitage is set up in the forest nearby


near this parish the government of Brazil is not at all opposed to this in fact that same year two months later they they relax their age restrictions for for entrance into secular or religious institutions in order to help out the foundation or at least it runs parallel with the foundation it could be a coincidence not likely in 1906 a second foundation in Brazil is formed off of this called Ana Areque am I pronouncing that Ana Areque Areque not too far away it's a small town of Venetian immigrants not too far from this place where there's Italian and German extra immigrants this one is a interesting enough this is a member of foundation of Camaldoli this is a


cenobia Ana Areque is a cenobitical house not an hermitical one in the year 1912 the Holy See orders an apostolic visitation of all the then congregations of Camaldoli what do we have we have 19 what is it 1912 we have Tuscany we have the cenobitical congregation of of Murano and we have the Piedmont congregation that's all that's left Piedmont that's dead with the suppressions so we're down to three groups the Holy See says you all need to be reorganized but certainly we need to be visitated and there's also an undertow here of an aramidical push the Holy See is interested in permits and this is already seen as a


less than subtle move against the cenobitical congregation already in the year 1912 1913 the very next year the Holy See orders Brazil to concentrate on Camaldoli the aramidical house an example of this buying in a letter we have from 1921 from Camaldoli to Italy calling on a wreck the


American cancer the American tumor so things are not happy between the two houses in Brazil World War One seems to have given the to the cenobitical foundation of the congregation it's already it never quite came back from the suppressions it did but it limped along and the Holy See is down on it because it's not it's no longer powerful just limping along there's a strong push within the Holy See for Camaldoli's to be hermits we don't know how much the hermits are involved in that healing in the Holy See there could be some of that going on too but the cenobitical group is really falling apart in 1923 Abbot Ildefons


Schuster of St. Paul's outside the walls he later becomes the cardinal archbishop of Milano very very powerful very endeared endearing and endeared prelate to Camaldoli they're they have a wonderful feeling still for Schuster of Camaldoli and his relationship with Camaldoli Schuster presides over the general chapter interesting presides over the general chapter in the name of the Holy See 1923 1927 Brazil foundation is closed ended terminated the new constitutions are approved after a long wait that same year you're going to see the 20th century is an up and down many different streams going into who we become in a


post-Vatican II context 1931 there is an apostolic visitation made by the general of the conventional franciscans Nati Flores the general comes in was his He comes in and does an apostolic visitation, he's really the troubleshooter, he's the hitman for the Holy See. Coming in looking at the, getting, they're getting ready to shut down the Cenobites. So this is just another step along the way. 1934 there's an apostolic visitation again of the Cenobitical congregation. Tivani looked at all the, all the commodities, but really was looking at the Cenobitical expression. 1934, an abbot named Koronti, Benedictine abbot, comes in as a special visitator in the name of the Holy See, looking at the Cenobitical congregation.


Here's a Cenobitical abbot coming in and visitating the Cenobites. And the very next year, the Cenobitical congregation is suppressed, much to their sorrow. The houses of Faenza, and Florence, and Perugia, and Texas, and Volterra are all shut down immediately, along with all their parishes, and it's all done by Pope Pius XI's interreligiosis.