The culture of mercy in Capuchin history

Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap

Translated by Gary Devery OFM Cap

The culture of mercy in assisting the troubled, sick, dying, and those in agony countermarks in a particular way the historical and spiritual physiognomy of the Capuchin friars. This written history was only retraced long after their beginning. The reason being that they loved to live and do this service, rather than to write about it. In this service they immediately discovered a rapport with the experience of Francis. The fact that they immediately considered the Testament of the saint as the primary spiritual exposition of the Rule and preeminent inspiration of their life, and therefore they wanted to observe it along with the Rule,[1] demonstrated their attention to seeking the true spirit of Francis. Understanding that the account made by Francis of his life was addressed to his friars so that they would hold onto it as a point of reference for their vocation in the church, the Capuchins, from the beginning of their history, considered the experience of the lepers, the most socially marginalised, as the basis of their novitiate of life, as with the choice of minority, the taking the last place.[2] They understood that the memory of the lepers was the first of the exhortations made by Francis to his friars. By means of that remembering, he handed over to them the key to their vocation. That ardour for penance united with mercy in the service of those affected by leprosy was the first unmistakeable characteristic and the first impression of the Poverello that they wanted to reproduce and imitate in their commitment to reform. Therefore, following this Franciscan inspiration, the Capuchins, from their very beginnings, exercised this ministry of mercy, whether inside the cloister to the sick confreres, being able to create a proper nursing and charitable administration, and outside of the friary among the laity, in their houses, hospitals and lazarettos. It can be affirmed without doubt that the sick, poor, suffering, troubled, incurables and the plague-stricken have truly been a part of the whole history of the Order, becoming the primary pastoral ministry, after that of itinerant preaching. I want to now dwell carefully upon this qualifying aspect.

To the enthusiasts of Capuchin history, it is well known that “the first spark of inspiration for the Capuchin reform was born from a gesture of love towards a socially marginated person,[3] made by the forerunner to the Capuchins, Br Matteo da Bascio, in that winter encounter with a poor naked man, whom he dressed and who then instantly disappeared in front of him, in analogy to the encounter of Francis with the leper. It is a legend – if someone doubts the historicity of the account – that, nonetheless, expresses well the message of solidarity with the suffering, sick and destitute. Even more so, during the plague of 1523 at Camerino, together with Ludovico da Foassobrone, as a Capuchin chronicler of the sixteenth century, Ruffino da Siena, writes, “he placed himself at the service of the infirmed and infected, without any regard to himself, having for the love of Him who for us did not fear to die on the cross, having more zeal for others than for the needs of his own health, having no fear of the infected, he helped all and solicitously served them, never disdaining any one of them; thereby imitating the charity of Father Saint Francis, who for love of the neighbour, never loathed going to the hospitals to serve the lepers; like a good shepherd, good Br Matteo feed the sheep food, helping them, both their souls and bodies together, which were languishing under the infirmity of the plague”. [4]

As with brother Matteo, also his followers Ludovico and Raffaele da Fossombrone and Paolo da Chioggia spread themselves among the infected population and lent them every service of spiritual and bodily mercy in the plague of 1527, during which died the Duke Giovanni Maria Varono, husband of Caterina Cibo. This service, organised in a very incisive way, was prepared for, if we are to believe the devoted Capuchin chronicler Bernardino Cioli da Colpetrazzo, by a vigil of prayer at Colmenzone with a ferverino given by Ludovico Tengalia, who at the end exhorted: “Know that to give your life for the health of the neighbour is a kind of martyrdom and very pleasing to the divine Master. So, unite your mind with that of Jesus Christ and because of simple love of him enter into this charity. And if you die, you can be sure of your salvation”.[5]

A modern historian of the Order rightly wrote that the first Capuchins with this initial heroic act were guaranteed a charismatic seal of approval caritatis heroicae apud omnes, even before that of the juridical, curial, official and written form of the bull.[6]

This judgement was reiterated by the authoritative historian of the papacy, Ludwig von Pastor, who, following the words of Colpetrazzo, saw in this one of the elements of the success of the Capuchin reform.[7] The Jesuit historian P. Tacchi Venturi adds, “The first work foreshadowing the foundational principle of the Order as giving assistance to the sick was given by the Capuchins at the beginning of their holy reform”.[8] The coincidence of service to the plague-stricken and to the incurably sick in various hospitals, in spiritual harmony with the lay religiosity of the Oratory of Divine Love, became in various Italian cities – first being in Rome, Genoa and Naples – an efficacious method of vocation propagation and animation. This was immediately transformed into an official system on the part of Ludovico da Fossombrone: “Orders were given in Rome, in Naples, in Genoa and in many other principal cities that the friars were to serve the leprous and other infirmed in the hospitals”, and the postulants, before being sent to the noviciate in the Marches or in Umbria, “were not to be received before they have served at a hospital for some months”.[9] As writes G. Santarelli, “radical and loving attention towards the marginalised, those wounded in body and soul, the indigent and the hungry signed, in a charismatic way, the Capuchin origins and tradition”.[10] Moreover, it is very significant that the first Capuchins were able to penetrate into the principal cities of Italy, and also into other nation, offering themselves to be at the service of the sick in various hospitals, especially for the incurables.

A modern French historian, Jean Delumeau, has written that if the Capuchins, who together with the Jesuits, were the principal protagonists in the Catholic reform, were never an object of hostility equal to that suffered by the Company of Jesus, it primarily derived from their sacrifice during epidemics, for example that of Paris in 1580-81. The people were grateful of their abnegation in these tragic circumstances (also as during the fires); in seventeenth century France and in many other municipalities, they were disposed to the permanent settlement of Capuchins in the hope that this would make available confessors and nurses in the times of epidemics.[11]

This observation is historically significant. It turns out, in fact, that in Italy the maximum expansion of the Order can be verified precisely to the 26 years around the time of the plagues of 1576-77 and 1565 to 1590, with the impressive figures of over 315 establishments, around a dozen every year.[12] The “plague of Saint Charles”, therefore, represented for the life and spirituality of the Order an immense unleashing of charity in the Capuchin reform that then exploded and expanded geographically beyond Italy and into the rest of Europe.

In these hospitals and then the lazarettos they carried out every type of service: they were – as writes Manzoni – “superintendents, confessors, administrators, nurses, cooks, cloakroom attendants, launderers, and whatever else that was needed”.[13] The testimonies are numerous. I will choose, as an example, the experience of the renowned Flemish theologian Francesco Tittelmans, intelligent opponent of Erasmus of Rotterdam. He left his research and went to Italy and became a Capuchin and “he requested the grace of being sent to the hospital of the incurables to serve the lepers, as it is read of our father saint Francis, since at that time the friars were in charge of that hospital, with always ten to twelve friars at the service of the lepers. [850] Tittelmans worked willingly at the humblest tasks for the relief of the sick poor and to keep the dirty places clean. He washed bandages, brought food, swept up, and did other tasks with such great fervour and care that he seemed like another Saint Francis. [851] He was greatly admired because of this, and was visited by many Ultramontane Fathers, who knew he was held in high esteem in the Order. Now they saw him deprived of books, like a simple brother, barefoot and dressed in a habit of arbascio. He served those infirm poor people with so much love that those Fathers asked him with great admiration, “Oh Father, how were you able to give up study completely?” The servant of God answered them, “I have taken up the work that our Seraphic Father Saint Francis taught me. See, I have exchanged my Augustines, Jeromes and Chrysostoms for these people. They are my library now. I serve these poor people commended to us so much by the Lord God”.[14]

Serving the sick was like a study of wisdom, where the words were not written in books on paper, but in the same suffering flesh of man created in the image and likeness of Christ. This lived experience then entered the norms of the Constitutions of 1536 that reiterated with an inspired emphasis the teaching of Francis in regard to the sick friars and the service to the lepers. In refence to sick friars we read: “To satisfy the needs of the infirm, as reason dictates and the Rule commands and fraternal charity requires, we direct the Fr. Guardian, when any friar becomes infirm, to appoint a suitable friar immediately to serve that friar in all his needs. When it is appropriate for the friar to change places, let this be provided for immediately. Each friar should think about what he would want if the same thing happened to him. No mother is as tender and sensitive, so bound to her only child, as much as each friar is, as our kind Father expressed in the Rule”.[15]

Service to the leprous becomes law founded in Christ crucified: “ Since for those who have no love upon the earth it is a sweet, fair and fitting thing to die for the one who died for us on the Cross, we instruct the friars to serve the sick during the times of plague, according to what their Vicars decide, who will strive in such cases to keep prudent charity in mind”.[16] These Constitutions, so open towards the poor, also establish that “in times of famine questing be done by friars assigned to this by their superiors in order to provide for the needs of the poor, according to the example of our most pious Father who had great compassion for the poor”.[17] In the Regola non bollata, Francis permitted the friars, during times of manifest necessity of the lepers, to ask alms for them, also by way of money. That is, in front of the sick, the laws of poverty disappear and become supplanted by the law of charity. This service to the plague-stricken, ordered with force in the primitive Constitutions, gives rise to a luminous tradition in the Capuchin Order of physical and spiritual assistance to the infirm, such that in some places the Capuchins were denominated as “friars of the plague” or “friars of the incurables”.

They gave assistance to the plague-stricken in Italy in 1527,as well as in 1576, which corresponds to the so called “plague of Saint Charles”, in 1630, which is recalled by Manzoni; and again in 1655-56, in 1691 and in 1885, in numerous cities of the Italian Peninsula; in Austria in 1627, in 1678 and in 1710; in Belgium in 1628 and in 1670; in Bohemia in 1680; in France in 1580, in 1628-32 and in 1649; in Spain in 1631, in 1647-49 and in 1820; in Holland in 1633. This is without speaking of the other types of assistance to the infirm, such a with cholera and petechiae, and without recalling the missionary works, which had founded and directed numerous hospitals and leprosariums, consuming their very existence, as had done, for example, Fr Daniele da Samarate, who died from leprosy while serving the lepers in Tucunduba in Maranhâo in Brazil in 1924 and whose cause for beatification has been introduced.[18]

To note a few details that places in evidence the attitude that the friars had toward the sick, I will present a few particular cases. In the plague at Palermo in 1624, when the Cardinal Archbishop Giannettino Doria exhorted all the religious superiors, who he had gathered together in his palace, to serve the plague-stricken, they all reacted with enthusiasm. Only the superior of the Capuchins remained silent, which caused great astonishment to the prelate, knowing the proven availability of the Capuchins. The explanation to us moderns sounds a bit apologetic, but it also speaks of the grit of the friars. The provincial of the Capuchins would have replied that only the friars should be used, and that they have no need of being persuaded to carry out this service because, in the spirit of their Institute and according to the mind of Saint Francis, “each one of us is most ready to sacrifice our lives in assistance towards our neighbours for the divine glory”. For this reason, he remained silent, thinking that the exhortation of the prelate concerned only the other religious.[19]

In this service “they go around the houses seeking out the sick”, where they enter “boldly and without repulsion” even into the “vilest and most abject of places” in the Palermo district. “On the contrary, they sought out the sick in these places with distinct determination, searching for those in most need of assistance and aid” (as Manzoni writes: “Such was the condition of the Capuchins that it seemed nothing was too base, nor elevated. To serve the sick and to be served by the powerful, to enter into palaces and into hovels with the same demeanour of humility and feeling of at ease…”.[20]) The anonymous relator of the assistance to the plague-stricken at Palermo, with vigorous expression, summed up the work of the Capuchins: “It was done with full enthusiasm and very hands on”.[21]

This aspect and tonality of Franciscan charity in the service of the sick is very significant and was also demonstrated during the plague in Milan in 1630. It needs to be underlined. This had a concrete dimension, almost physical and full-bodied, with an industriousness that becomes, as insightfully described by a modern author in an excellent essay, “corporeal and affective solicitude”.

The critical reflections of this author are picturesque in describing the events of the Manzonian plague: “The Capuchin Fathers had no other care than that of participating in a direct manner, and with an astonishing and supreme simplicity, with those effected by contagion, in such a way that they also physically reorganised the lazaretto… which constituted not only an example of morality and wisdom, but a concrete (and structurally effective) opposition to error. With humility and rigour that was born of the action, they replaced looking for the causes with sharing in the effects; their words were very rare and simple, while what they did multiplied every day…. In the end, the friars were not interested in evil as an enigma, but rather, in the love and compassion that can unexpectedly arise from within death… the existence of these friars, in history and in narrative figuration, has a very clearly signified return to the principle of reality; among the desperate excursions of the collective imagination, they sought to renew the meaning of life in the incomprehensible spasms and most silent of deaths, they… expressed an immanent meaning to this desolation; they were men like all the others…, that were especially accustomed to be silent when words no longer served, when it is more useful to bring the minestra to the sick, to dig the holes for the unburied cadavers, to dress the wounds, etc.”.[22]

The Capuchin Order, above all in the first century of its existence, even preferred material care in assistance to that of the spiritual; in every case, and also after the years referred to in the Manzonian novel, never disdained the more simple and inglorious material service, holding it in higher esteem to that of intellectual work. Capuchins are practical and concrete men, being mindful also of the necessities of the body, and the Manzonian details show -as is still the same today – they fed the needy without requiring of them to participate in any liturgical function or to fulfil any form of sacramental rite. With originality and spontaneity, in accord with the Capuchin psychology, they followed after Francis of Assisi in their mode of working, who, while assiduous in fasting, left it aside if sick friars, eating during the time of fasting, felt ashamed. Francis did this so that they could eat without “blushing”. He also was not ashamed to go begging for meat in the public places of the city for a sick friar. One time he came to know that a sick friar desired to eat a few grapes. He accompanied him to a vineyard, and sitting under the vine, to encourage him, Francis himself commenced to east them first.[23]

Another vivid example can be found during the plague in Venice of 1630-31, where the friars, at the request of the provincial minister Basilio da Vicenza, who exhorted them to serve the plague-stricken, offered themselves spontaneously, over 200. The annalist, who collected the sworn testimonies, wrote that the friars called to this dangerous service, “went willing, tamquam si ad epulas essent invitati [as if they had been invited to a banquet], just like the first martyrs of the Church, and went joyful and festively in the merit of holy obedience happy, considering this ministry as a gift, as the grace of martyrdom.[24]

One of the more impressive documents of service to the plague-stricken offered by the Capuchins is a collection of letters written by Piemontesi Capuchins to their provincial minister, also during the plague of 1630-31. They are living testimonies flowing out of anguished history, not conditioned by their subsequent edition in the Annals of the Order. There is only the anguish, the fear, the desolation, with the presentation of the final events that involve the life of a region, of a city, of a friary; they are both bulletins of war and notices of the dead, of aspirations, of mystical ardours, of generous impulses, of a contest of solidarity, the service to charity to the point of self-immolation; but also of fragility, embarrassments, fear, the greyness of a humanity in the daily grind of trying to survive, with assurances towards the future, with apologies, with doubts, retreating, staying the watch, while simmering in the plague’s infected flesh.

Also here are repeated those delicate tones of spirituality already referred to above. From the many letters one derives the concept that this service to the sick and plague-stricken is a gift, as special grace, like a new vocation and religious profession. As writes Brother Nicolò da Ponte, with mystical ardour: “I go (to this service) with such gladness of spirit in the Lord as one who has found that which his soul loves and yearns for, and I hope in the Lord to strive faithfully… and never cease thanking his reverend Paternity for this distinguished benefit, which I consider to be the greatest that I have ever received in my religious life”.[25] A lay brother, Alessandro da Priè wrote: “I am going to serve those plague-stricken poor because I can well say that what seemed bitter to me has been changed into sweetness of body and soul; but it is all to the glory of God, who deigns to be served by such miserable subjects”.[26] They abandoned themselves to Providence and to the will of God, they shared in the physical and spiritual suffering of the plague-stricken poor and the splendour of the holocaust of their charity suggested to Fr Michele da Vercelli, on 17 October 1630, a splendid reflection that could be considered as a synthesis of all this spirituality of service to the plague-stricken and pastoral ministry to the suffering: “I saw in these years remarkable things – war, famine, plague… But among the three things aforementioned, a fourth has amazed me, and it is that in this time the spirit has entered in and made itself flesh and the flesh has been made spirit, dilating itself in assistance to the neighbour and taking on the infirmity. God be praised”.[27] This is an emphasis that Manzoni makes using other words, when in his novel he writes: “Therefore, the work and heart of those friars merits to be remembered, with admiration, with tenderness, with that kind of gratitude which is due, if only for the great service given by men to men, and more due to those who are doing it for no reward”.[28]

Even if the practice of the Capuchin in concrete service to the sick gave the impression of a non-coordinated spontaneity, rather than that of one coordinated by specialised preparation, in reality, history tells us that the Capuchins were able to be particularly competent in this ministry. It was to the degree that some of them even wrote substantial treatises on the art of health care, of “manuals” and in friaries set up pharmacies (“spezieria”) as annexes to the provincial infirmary. It was an activity that materialised spontaneously. The attentiveness of the confreres and the presence of the sick gradually suggested what the former could do for the benefit of the latter. Doctors and pharmacists became Capuchins, and not forgetting their specialisation and with the study of “herbs”, they created these friary pharmacies. One of these, perhaps the most famous, was that of Genoa, so much so that the “Great Protectors” (Magnifici Protettori) of the Genoan hospitals though to entrust the care of the pharmacy to the friars, as happened first in the hospital of the chronically ill (called Ospedaletto), and then in the major Hospital in Pammatone.[29]

Alongside that of health care specialisation, the Capuchins also wrote treatises on the way to spiritually assist the sick. There are writings and pamphlets that date back to the second half of the sixteenth century and which increase in number in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Just a quick glance at this devout literature, rich with pastoral experience, can, in part, reveal that apostolic zeal and sweetness of corporeal and spiritual mercy that has in the past characterised, above all, the physiognomy of the Capuchin. For example, the official annalist of the Order, Boverius, in his ceremonial treats of the friar as “consoler”, that is, the friar responsible for the assistance to the sick, also to those outside of the friary. Referring to the example of Saint Francis, he explains that prayer is the first action of this service, the first step before crossing the threshold of the friary. The friar, before approaching the sick person, needs first to approach Christ. Before speaking to the sick person, he needs to speak to Christ of the sick person. While walking towards the house of the infirm or in the direction of the hospital, he needs to “mentally review some passages of the Sacred Scripture and of the Fathers” suitable for consoling the sick person. By this he wanted to say that the assistance to the sick and also to the dying was not improvised but carried out with a serious preparation. When he then arrives at conversing with the sick person, he needs to be restrained, consoling and serene, in such a way that the sick person is able to abandon himself to the will of God and to receive the sacraments, all gratuitously.[30]

In another pamphlet, Giovanni da Sesola describes, in a greatly embossed manner, the quality of the “consoler”. He has to be full of the spirit of prayer for the welfare of the sick person, he must help the person to raise their heart to God, keeping in mind, however, the diverse situations of the sick and adapting himself to them. He also suggests that the “consoler” needs to be pastorally attentive to the parents and friends who are assisting the sick person. Everything needs to be brought together in prayer that needs to be cordial and affective.[31] The brother “consoler” is called in a pamphlet by another author, Fr Giuseppe Taverna da Cammarata, “recollector” (“ricordatore”). The substance of this method is to be read in these words: “With great deliberation, he must induce the sick person with devout and efficacious words to sorrow and repentance for his sins committed and to the love of God. This has to be his goal, and if he does it well, that is enough”.[32]

This should be sufficient. I would like to conclude with a reference to the Capuchin Constitutions renewed after the Council that in a passage treats of the charity towards the sick: it says that every brother is a gift from the Lord, he is not chosen by us on the basis of his attitudes or his character or his behaviour, but on the basis of his evangelical vocation: we have not chosen ourselves, but it is God who has given us to each other, and being a gift, we welcome them with grateful hearts,[33] recognising them not only with gratitude, but as mirrors in which are reflected the image of Christ, who has the habit of revealing himself hidden in the more humble realties of life, above all, in the brothers who are suffering. It is for this reason the sick brother both hides and reveals in himself “the person of the suffering Christ”[34] who needs to be loved with maternal affection, almost giving us a glimpse of the Virgin Mother Mary in the Passion of the Son and at the foot of the cross. The suffering and infirm brother is invited, by way of his vocation as a consecrated person, “to a more complete conformity to the suffering Christ and needs to seek to “experience, with devout sentiments, in himself a small part of the sufferings of Christ”, by this, completing in his flesh what is lacking in the passion of Christ the Redeemer.[35]

To add a saying of a modern Capuchin, who had the charism of service to the sick, Fr Daniele da Torricella, who died in 1945 and whose cause for beatification has been introduced: “If every creature were assisted in their suffering with goodness, everybody in the world would suffer less”.[36]


  1. On this argument cf. the study of K. Eßer, Das Testament des hl. Franziskus in der Gesetzgebung des Kapuzinerordens, in Coll. Franc. 44 (1974) 45-69.
  2. Cf. a revelatory text in the early Constitutions of the Capuchins (Cost. 1536, n. 7-8), where the choice for minority by Saint Francis is stated (“Therefore, according to the apostolic teaching, and for the sake of the love of Him who emptied himself for love of us, Francis wanted all his friars to be subject to God in every creature. Because of this he called them lesser brothers and they see themselves to be profoundly inferior to everyone in the church militant invited to the marriage feast of the most holy spouse, Jesus Christ”), and the consequent clear and radical choice for minority of the first Capuchins (“the General Chapter renounces the privileges of being free and exempt from Ordinaries. With the Seraphic Father we accept being subject to everyone as the highest privilege”). Cf. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. I: Ispirazione e istituzione. Roma-Perugia 1988, 264 -266.
  3. For example, G. Santarelli quotes it in his study: L’assistenza agli infermi nella tradizione cappuccina e nella narrazione manzoniana, in San Francesco e il mondo della sofferenza, 120, tutto l’art. 113-139.
  4. Cf. I Frati Minori Cappuccini nel primo secolo dell’origine. Manoscritto dell’epoca finora inedito. [A cura di P: Sisto da Pisa], in L’Italia Francescana 1 (1926) 237.
  5. Bernardinus a Colpetrazzo, Historia Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum (1525-1593). Líber primus: Praecipui nascentis Ordfinis eventus. In lucem editus a P. Melchiorre a Pobladura. (Monumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum, 2). Assisi 1939, 223.
  6. Cf. Melchior a Pobladura, Historia generalis Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum. Pars prima: 1525-1619. (Bibliotheca Seraphico-Capuccina, 7). Romae 1947, 27s.
  7. Cf. Storia dei Papi IV/2, Roma 1956, 597.
  8. P. Tacchi Ventuni, Storia della Compagnia di Gesú in Italia I/1, Roma 1931, 411.
  9. Cf. Bernardinus a Colpetrazzo, Historia Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum (1525-1593). Liber tertius: Ratio vivendi fratrum. Ministri et Vicarii generales. Cardinales protectores. In lucem editus a P. Melchiorre a Pobladura. (Monumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum, 4). Romae 1941, 122s.
  10. Cf. G. Santarelli, L’assistenza agli infermi nella tradizione cappuccina, 122.
  11. J. Delumeau, La paura in Occidente (secoli XI V-X VIII). La città assediata. Torino 1979, 194s.
  12. Cf. Mariano D’Alatri, Reformationis capuccinae implantatio per Italiam saeculo XVI, in Analecta O.F.M.Cap. 94 (1978) 325-335; Id., I Cappuccini. Storia d’una famiglia francescana. Roma 1994, 33-37.
  13. Cf. A. Manzoni, I promessi sposi. Commento e note di Leone Gessi. Roma 1956, 735 (cap. XXXI).
  14. Cf. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. II: Storia e cronaca. Roma-Perugia 1988, 1229.
  15. Cf. Cost. 1536, n. 88, in I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. I: Ispirazione e istituzione. Roma-Perugia 1988, 277.
  16. Cost. 1536, n. 89: ibid., 280.
  17. Cost. 1536, n. 85: ibid., 272.
  18. Cf. Melchior a Pobladura, Historia generalis…Pars secunda (1619-1761), Vol. II (Bibliotheca Seraphico-capuccina, 9). Romae 1948, 125-145; Pars tertia (1761-1940). (Bibliotheca Seraphico-capuccina, 10). Romae 1951, 483-493.
  19. Cf. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. III: Santità e apostolato. Roma-Perugia 1991, 3684s.
  20. A. Manzoni, I promessi sposi. Commento e note di Leone Gessi. Roma 1956, 75s (cap. III).
  21. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. III: Santità e apostolato. Roma-Perugia 1991, 3684s.
  22. They are words from an excellent analysis of Giorgio Ficara, Le parole e la peste in Manzoni, in Lettere italiane 1 (1981) 22-25, riportate da Francesco Di Ciaccia, La parola e il silenzio. Peste carestia ed eros nel romanzo manzoniano, Pisa 1987, 60s.
  23. Cf. 2 Cel 175-176; Leg. Per. 53: FF 761-762, 1572, p. 476s, 911s.
  24. Cf. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. III: Santità e apostolato. Roma-Perugia 1991, 3698s.
  25. Ibid., 3963.
  26. Ibid., 4048.
  27. Ibid., 3953s.
  28. A. Manzoni, I promessi sposi. Commento e note di Leone Gessi. Roma 1956, 736 (cao. XXXI).
  29. Cf. Mariano Steffan, “Curate gli infermi!”. Tradizione, attualità e progettualità dei Cappuccini, (Sussidi per l’animazione della vita religiosa, 13). Bologna, Edizioni Dehoniane, 2008, 53s.
  30. I frati cappuccini. Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo. Vol. III: Santità e apostolato. Roma-Perugia 1991, 3534-3539.
  31. Ibid., 3540-3569.
  32. Ibid., 3583-3634.
  33. Cf. Costituzioni dei frati minori cappuccini e ordinazioni dei capitoli genetrali. Testo ufficiale e versione italiana. Roma 2002, 177-179 (n. 84, 1).
  34. Ibid., 181 (n. 84, 6).
  35. Ibid., 183 (n. 87, 3).
  36. Cf. Marcello Viani, Padre Daniele da Torricella, apostolo dell’ospedale, in Santi e santità nrell’Ordine cappuccino. III: Il Novecento. A cura di M. D’Alatri. Roma 1982, 209, tutto l’art- 201-214. Many other Capuchin apostolates to the sick could be cited, including the great inspiration and achievement of Saint Pio da Pietrelcina in the “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”.