Agostino da Castellamonte

A report on the missions in Perosa and S. Martino in the Piemonte region

Introduction by Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap

Translation by Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap

Translator’s note: This translation is based on the introduction, text and footnotes which were published by P. Costanzo Cargnoni O.F.M. Cap. in I Frati Cappuccini: Documenti e testimonianze dell primo secolo, Edizioni Frate Indovino, Perugia, vol III/2, pp.4233-4248

Agostino da Castellmonte was a missionary in Perosa between 1622 and 1628. Because he lived in this outpost, he became aware of the religious situation in all the other missions. He was a simple priest living with Father Giovanni da Vencelli with whom he travelled through the Valleys going beyond the borders of Bec Duphin in order to catch up with former missionaries who had thrown off the habit and become fugitives. Some of the fugitives who were convinced by what he said about the Gospel left the Valley and returned to the Catholic faith. In 1624 he wrote a valuable report of these trips. The report is marvellously simple and ingenious. It contains glowing accounts of encounters with heretical ministers and the local population. It also reports meetings with outlaws and “terrorists”. This is perhaps one of the most accurate contemporary accounts in so far as it affords us an insight into the heretical environment in which the missionaries and itinerant preachers were working in Piemonte.

Source: Pinerolo, Arch. Arcivescovile, Tit. 12, cl. B, ser. 17: Relazione storica dello stato delle valli di Perosa e S. Martino circa la religione e dominio spirituale e temple e misfatti dei Protestanti in queste valli, del frater Agostino di Castellamonte cappuccino, 1624 (Titolo moderno), 31 x 21 com, 13 ff. n.n., autogr. – This report has already been transcribed by G. Jalla, Storia della riforma religiosa inn Piemonte durante i regni di Carlo Emanuele I e Vittorio Amedeo I (1580-1637), II, Torre Pellice 1936, 487-89, for the relevant section on the valley of Pragelato. We have reread it from the manuscript and we present it in its entirety.

Report on the missions in Perose and S. Martino

7673 Since you, Reverend Father, by virtue of the office that you hold, have commissioned me to describe what is going on with regard to matters of faith in the Valley of Perosa, I shall relate what I have seen and heard when I, and Father Giovanni da Vercelli,[1] spent some time in the Valleys as well as what I saw in the Valleys of S. Martino and some other places while I was there with another priest.

The Perosa Valley is under the control of the very peace-loving Duke of Savoy. In accord with an agreement made by his predecessor, he allows the Valley, as well as that of S. Martino, to practice freedom of conscience and consequently the Calvinist feel free to preach heretical teachings without any opposition.[2] You know that four years ago Father Giovanni da Vercelli had the temples, or synagogues, destroyed. Each time, in an act of disobedience and revolt they were rebuilt with the addition of one more.

7674 In spiritual matters these places are subject to the Abbacy of Pinarolo. When coming from Piemonte heading towards France, the first parish that you come to in the Penose Valley is Porte. Here they are all Catholic who are completely surrounded by heretics and they have a heretical minister who preaches. Penkse is about a mile from Pinarolo. [1v n.n.]

The second church is S. Germano. Here they are all heretics who have their own minister. The local people call it Little Geneva. They are such arrogant people that they took up arms against His Highness. The area of Villar is completely heretical. The area that is called Pinasca is entirely heretical, except for one Catholic family which lives near the heretical minister’s house. There is a place situated near this parish that is called the church of Dubbone where there are about thirty Catholic homes. This parish has a curate. In this parish one in seven are Catholic.

The fifth church is at Perosa. Here they are all Catholic. However, they are surrounded by heretics. One in three are Catholic. In this parish a minister preaches heresy in three places and there are two synagogues about a quarter of a mile away and another which is called Chiapella about a mile from Perosa. The sixth parish is Pramolo. There are many people here and they are all heretics with their own minister. This was the last area to become heretical for, as many will tell you, it was the only way to stay alive.

7875 The curate of the place used to celebrate Mass on feast days for a large number of people and the heretical minister would join them. When the Mass had finished, the minister would say to the curate; “Monsignor have you said Mass?” The curate would answer “Yes I have said Mass.” The minister would respond; “Quid est missa?” The curate would not say a word. The minister would speak in the local language for it seemed that the poor curate could not understand Latin. [2r n.n.] “Oh Monsignor what is the Mass?” Then the minister would go up into the pulpit and start preaching against the Mass and the Pope and say, among other things: “Oh poor people, can you not see that this is a man who does not know what he is doing? He is saying Mass every day and does not know what the Mass is. Is he not doing something that neither you nor he understand? Take up the Bible. Listen to the word of God etc.” He knew how to talk so much nonsense that it corrupted the whole place so that now they no longer have a curate or Mass.

We spoke to an old man of eighty years and asked him if he could remember when heresy first came into the valley. He said yes and recalled how everyone used to attend Mass but heresy had begun because of the bad example set by priests and because of the poor management of prelates. Dum dormient et lussuriarent, venit inimicus et super seminavit zizaniam. (While men were asleep and living lasciviously his enemy came and put cockle among the wheat)[3] In the Valley of S. Martino an old man about ninety years of age said the same thing and related how curates openly kept concubines in their homes as if they were taking the place of a wife. If they had children, they raised them in the home and allowed them to play etc. There had been no Mass in some places for four months. There were no sermons. No one worried about the salvation of souls. He said that if there had been no Capuchins in the Valley of S. Martino and Perosa, there would be no Catholics there at all and there would [2v n. n.] be no Mass. As the poor man was telling me these things big tears were falling from his eyes.

7676 The reason why there was such great lack of restraint among people involved in religious matters in this Valley was because they were under the jurisdiction of an Abbot who lived in Rome and was only concerned about his status. Taking care of the sheep was left up the curate who was vicar in name but not in fact. The Abbot never came to see the sheep or if he did come, he did not provide for their needs. If a religious person gave scandal and our priests told his Major Superiors they made excuses for the curate and defended him.[4] Uneducated curates were appointed to the Valleys and they did not help the missionaries. Some of them did not know how to read Mass which was how it had been from the beginning (sicut erat in principio). Their bad example made Catholics feel apathetic while many heretics who might have been converted fell back into heresy. The churches in the Valleys of Perosa and S. Martino were so run-down that it would be revolting to enter them let alone to celebrate the divine mysteries in them. This was not the fault of the good priests who had been here and who had been very zealous about God’s honour and the salvation of souls and who had done all that they could.

The cause was that the churches were under the jurisdiction of an Abbot who took six hundred ducats from these two Valleys while leaving it up to the Catholics to attend to the churches without, so to speak, providing a nail. [3r n.n.] The Capuchins could not do anything about the buildings because they were poor. The churches had no vestments except those that had been brought from the sacristy of the poor Capuchins. The same could be said about decorations for the altars, pictures, tabernacles, chalices, canopies and other things which were provided out of zeal for the honour of God so that the place would not look like a stable because of the neglect shown by priests who had not even bought a needle.[5]

7677 Our fathers toiled for the holy faith and the salvation of souls by travelling through these Valleys, going into this parish or that in order to preach the word of God and teach Catholic doctrine. In winter they walked barefooted through ice and snow in rough and hilly territory, often carrying a piece of bread in their capuche so as not to bother the poor Catholics. They slept on the straw in stables alongside the animals.[6]

One of our fathers who did so much in the Valley of Perosa was Father Giovanni da Vercelli. I saw what he did because I was his companion for some time. He made one hundred and forty heretics Catholics. With the help of God, he converted two famous religious identities and a minister. [3v n. n.] There were three well-known people here in Perosa, one was a priest, another a canon and another a doctor. They had joined the heretics because they had been persecuted. By means of his effective conversation Father Giovanni made them repent and give up their error.[7]

7678 A very reputable young woman who lived in Piemonte ran away from her husband dressed as a man. She came to this Valley and went into the synagogue dressed like that to listen to a minister. She went there out of curiosity more than devotion. She made the sign of the cross and took out the rosary that she had in her shoe and began to say it. The minister who was in the pulpit saw her do that and he said “Throw the beast out.” When Father Giovanni heard about what had happened, we both went to the home of a heretic to meet her where she was still dressed as a man but with a silver cross hanging around her neck. We had a good talk to her and she decided to leave the place and return to Piemonte. She went to Confession and received Communion and put on the clothing of a woman and, accompanied by a prominent lady she stayed in one of the main homes in Pinarolo until she was reconciled with her husband.

7679 Father Giovanni heard the Confessions of a large number of soldiers [4r n. n.] who came from many countries, with some of them making a general confession. Among them there were some notorious bandits who had not been to Confession for twenty years. He put in a lot of effort during the wars that His Highness waged against the heretics during the winter. He heard the Confessions of the soldiers. As he had no house so he slept on some straw among the soldiers and celebrated Mass in the synagogue of the heretics after blessing it first.

He engaged in many debates with the ministers in the Valleys. When they looked ahead and saw him coming, they changed direction so as not to have to argue the point with him. He and his companions endured many insults from both the ministers and the heretics. Heretics sprayed him with pellets as he went through the Valley. On another occasion they threw stones. After he had held a long debate with a minister at the Fair in Perosa he was pushed up against a wall. When we were walking through the Valley of Pragola, where we had often gone for the salvation of souls, a minister took up a spade to hit us. However, by the grace of God, without us doing anything, he put down the spade and cried out that we were devils and antichrists. Some of the local children, who were throwing stones, followed us along the street, but when we made the sign of the cross, they ran away.[8]

7680 In that Valley they are all heretics and we had to go from door to door to get a little piece of bread. We went to a place called Useus which is situated high up in the Alps. Father Giovanni was so tired and unwell that he could not go any further. A heretical woman was kind enough to take him into her home. She was sixty years of age but had never seen anyone who was dressed as we were. She offered us a piece of bread that was so hard that we could not eat it even though we cut it with a knife.

I immediately went into the village to see if I could find a little bit to eat. However, when the people saw me that thought that they were seeing a vision because they had never seen a Capuchin in that place and instead of giving me bread, they hurled insults at me. Some of the women fell on the ground laughing. The street was full of people. [5r n.n.] who abused me saying one thing or another. I tried to convert them to our faith and religion but the people were so dumbfounded that they were befuddled at what they saw.

7681 Finally, the minister’s son arrived. He was a remarkable person who was a medical doctor and well educated. Although he had studied in Avignon with the Jesuit Fathers, he was a heretic.[9] He approached me and asked me what I was looking for. I said that I was looking for something to eat. He then whispered in my ear: “are you simply (simpliciter) looking for bread?” For he had seen me going about on my own and wondered what I was doing. I replied: “I am simply seeking bread.” He immediately went into his house to get me some bread. His father asked what he was going to do with the bread. His son replied that he wanted to give it to the Capuchins. The minister was staggered when he heard the word Capuchin and he said; “Are there Capuchins around here?” He took the bread from his son and took up a truncheon and brought to where I was standing. This minister had deserted a famous religious Order (he had been a Dominican) [5v n.n.] and had preached the Lenten Course in Pinarolo and had been the minister at Dighera for many years. Although he was eighty years of age, he was strong and powerful.

7682 When I saw that he and his son had come to our place I went to meet him. He was angry and his lips were quivering. He said: “What do you want?” I said the same thing to him that I had said to his son. He replied; “I see that you have come to debate with our minister.” I said: “Allow us to debate with the minister or with anyone you chose.” The minister replied: “with anyone you chose.” I repeated: “with anyone you chose.” The minister became very angry and said: “Where is the other brother?” I showed him the house. He went there immediately and went into the house where Father Giovanni was staying. He said: “Where do you come from?” The priest replied: “From Vercelli; where do you come from?” The minister replied: “I come from S. Damiano in Assisi.” The priest said: “Are you the minister?” He replied: “Yes, I am.” They then began to debate about de vera et falsa religione. When Father Giovanni proved that the bible the minister had was false the minister said to him: “You are a devil, a liar and a fool [6r n. n.]. Call Captain Michelone. Call the school teacher.” He was so angry that he looked like a demon as he touched his sword repeatedly.

7683 Father Giovanni stretched out his cloak saying: “May God forgive you. The insults that you throw at me here and now are delightful” and he held out his hand to the minister. The minister then calmed down and he and his son went a little way out of the place. The son asked the priest a question about the Blessed Sacrament and was satisfied with the response that the priest gave. As they parted the minister shook hands and the priest said: “May God enlighten you so that you may return to the holy faith and to our religion.” The minister was contrite and did not say anything. He went home, fell ill and died a few days later. He did not want any minister to be present when he died.[10] When his father had died his son came to live in the Valley of Perosa and became a Catholic. He rejected heresy in the Cathedral of Turin in the presence of the Duchess, and many religious and knights. He said a very beautiful prayer and explained the circumstance of his conversion which, he said, involved our meeting with his father and the discussion that took place at that time. Later on, he became religious and now lives in Avignon.

7684 On another occasion we were going through Perosa to return to Pragela to catch up with a reformed monk, who was an apostate priest, who had married a woman who lived in that Valley. When we stopped about a mile from Perosa because it was dark, a heretic, who was following us, began to scream out as if a tower was about to fall. However, he stopped as we moved out of sight.

We came across the apostate in a place called Eufrasine in a home that belonged to a prostitute. As it was on a hill, he could see us coming and he began to shout in panic “Fathers, go away! Fathers, go away!” He was waving his hands but finally went into a little room inside the house. The wife, who was called Giovanna, locked him inside as she was afraid that after we talked with him, we would take him away. We then begged her to let us have a word with him, but that was impossible.

7685 We went through that region trying to find something to eat as we were exhausted because we had been walking since midday [7r n. n.] without finding accommodation because everyone who lived there was a heretic. We went from door-to-door begging. Some of the women gave us a little piece of toasted bread while others just screamed at us. That evening we went to a place called Traverse where a heretic who knew us gave us food and lodging and many people came around to argue the point de vera et falsa religione. Some shared the meal with us and discussed the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Some listened while others remained obstinate in holding their own opinions. We went to sleep on just a little bit of straw. About midnight a woman who was probably sent by the heretics came to temp us and see if we observed the vow of chastity. With the help of God, she was hounded away with the use of some strong language. In the morning we took leave of the heretic and went on to Perosa.

While they were walking through the Valley, a man and a woman, who were both heretics, carried out sexual activity on the street in front of Father Giovanni and his companion to mock our chastity. Oh, what beasts!

7686 Those journeys through the Valleys of Pragelà, although they were exhausting, were productive and many heretics came back to the faith. As things stand now [7v n. n.] one of the leading men in the Valley whose name was Giovanni Gilio, and who was the leading heretic in the Valleys of Luzerna, Perosa and San Martino was saying that he would become a Catholic and Father Giovanni had sought and obtained permission from the Christian King to establish a Capuchin mission in those Valleys.

A person who had been a bandit had now become a celebrated Catholic. His name was Giovanni Gilio and he had been the leader of the heretics in the Valleys of Luzerna, Perosa and San Martino. Out of respect for the Capuchins His Highness had granted him the favour of becoming a Catholic. Something horrible happened because such a person had become a Catholic.

A Catholic, a person of quality, having laboured much for the conversion of the aforesaid, being a friend of his, the night after the important man had become a Catholic, the heretics much disturbed that he had become Catholic, went to the home of this friend about the 6th hour, using an arquebus, they killed him, his wife and a daughter aged seven, and wounded his ten-year-old son who fell down and pretended to be dead. When the heretics were ransacking the house the boy, be means of a divine miracle, saved himself and came to our place. At that very time the heretics set fire to the house and the bodies [8r n. n.] so that only a few bones were left. They did this because they were so annoyed at the conversion of such a prominent person.

7687 On another occasion when Father Giovanni and a companion were passing through the Valley, and some heretics saw the friars, they placed an obstacle on the bridge so that the friars would be injured for certain. Father Giovanni, who was the first one to cross, fell into the water but by the grace of God, he was not hurt. When he was on his way to preach at Porte, on his way through San Germano, two heretics who were beside the road began to call out: “Hi little pig of a friar. Hi little pig of a friar” and hurled other abusive names at him. Father Giovanni rebuked them and said that he was going to tell the minister pretending that he was going to see him immediately. When he tried to cross a bridge, a heretic who was holding a weapon stepped in front of him and said: “If you come across, I will kill you.” He did not want to go any further, both because it was not necessary and because he did not want to anger those beasts [8v n. n.] so he endured it all for the love of God.

When we were going to preach in Dubbione, a woman followed us for a quarter of a mile shouting insults, saying that we were devils with horns and many other things so that it actually seemed like the devil was speaking through her lips.[11]

7688 Once when we were going through Pragelà for the salvation of souls and to win over an apostate, since there were many people there who followed different religions, as we passed through the hills, some heretical pastors let big dogs loose onto us. They did not hurt us although we had no way of defending ourselves. God looked after us. When we were passing through another dreadful place, other heretics roared at us like bulls hurling insults and blasphemies. Father Giovanni debated with a minister for two hours in a temple in Pragelà. He defeated the minister by means of powerful reasoning. He accompanied us out of the temple and confessed that in that place he was regarded as being the pope. He believed in free will and that good works were necessary for salvation [9r n. n.]. He showed that he would have willingly returned to the faith but was prevented by human respect as is the case with many heretics. As we were leaving, he said that he would have gladly invited us to come to his house but he was afraid of his mother who was a formidable woman.

7689 While we were going through the region of Pragelà, we went into the house of a minister to see whether he would perform an act of charity. We met him at his front door. We asked him for alms and the minister replied that we were too scrupulous about going about going around without money. Father Giovanni replied that we were imitating Jesus Christ and the Apostles and how they went about in the world and he quoted the Gospel. The minister said that our poverty was voluntary. He then took us by the hand and brought us into his house and immediately set the table. While we were eating, he stood there with his cap in her hand and served us with great reverence, even slicing the bread. He was a very young minister of around twenty years of age. [9v n. n.]. He accepted all that Father Giovanni said. He then led us out the door, having shown us his house and his wealth.

There were many people in the Pragelà Valleys who met us willingly. Both men and women said that we were God’s true servants and that they would willingly listen to our sermons. They said that there was no comparison between us and their priests who were sleeping with women and that this was why they did not want to attend the Masses which they celebrated. Some women approached us with their hands joined and looked at our unshod feet with great admiration saying that they would rather hear the word of God from us than from ministers who were too greedy.[12]

7690 One of the leading heretics in the Perosa said in the presence of many other heretics: “You Capuchins are the real Apostles whom God sent into these Valleys.” Another heretic, who was also one of the leaders, said: “We cannot see anything evil in you, especially in your dealings with women. Whoever wants to speak ill of the Capuchins is a fool.” [10r n. n.].

A minister who was debating with Father Giovanni said that the monasteries in Pinarolo were full of pigs. Father Giovanni replied; “What about us?” The minister said: “I am not saying that about you.”

Heretics are converted by good example rather than by words and the prelates should provide good curates who will set a good example and help the missionaries to build and not tear down.[13]

7691 Father Giovanni also arranged for the rebuilding of the church at Porte and it is now a very beautiful church. At Perosa he had a church built for the mission and had it supplied with beautiful vestments. He wrote to Rome many times concerning the restoration of churches in the Valleys and provided them with what was required such as altar clothes, consecrated stones for the altar, chalices, pictures, surplices, veils, beautiful canopies for when the Blessed Sacrament was being carried in procession through the church at Dubbione. Before that it had been carried under a large veil held up by four poles. [10v n. n.] The procession passed the house of the minister and the houses of heretics on the Feast of Corpus Christi.[14]

He brought about the repair of the church at Pinasca, which the heretics had converted into a silo and stable for animals. At the time one could not see any Christian signs in that Valley. Now, you can see Crosses in prominent places and enough sacred sights to fill a book. Soli Deo honor et gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen.[15]

I, Brother Agostino da Castellamonte
Capuchin Priest confirm what I said above.

7692 A famous heretic who was a bandit called Giacono Lorenzo di Pramollo came back to the Valley in the region of the Perosa Valleys. He was a headstrong person who was opposed to Catholics and to religion and especially to Capuchins for whom he felt bitter hatred. He always went about armed with a pistol. He wandered about in one Valley or another doing as much damage as he could to Catholics and to churches.

Father Giovanni tells how on many occasions this bandit went to the houses of missionaries to kill the friars and when they locked themselves inside, he pounded on the door with his hands and feet saying: “Open the door, you abominable brothers” or using language like that. When he had knocked many times, he went away. Sometimes when he was in the square in Perosa and the thought of the friars came into his mind he said to his companions: “I want to go and kill those papist friars right now.” However, when he found the door locked, he went away.

7693 While a Capuchin missionary called Father Giovanni da Verzolo was celebrating Mass in the Valley of San Martino,[16] the bandit came into the church fully armed and very angry. He went up to the altar where the priest was celebrating with nobody else in the church except a little boy who was serving the Mass, and started crying out in anger: “Hurry up you wicked friar, I want to talk to you.” The priest did not move but went on with the celebration [11v n. n.] of the Mass. In the meantime, when the bandit saw that there was nobody in the church, he went about looking for something to steal. He took the priest’s white surplice that was on the altar and some other things. He then looked to see if the priest had finished, rang the bell and shouted at the priest saying: “Hurry up. Have you finished jabbering. Jabber quickly.” He continued making trivial remarks while the priest was celebrating.

When Mass was finished and the priest had taken off the vestments the bandit said: “Do you know what I want? Give me corn and money or I will kill you.” Speaking kindly the priest said that he had nothing to give him and that Capuchins were poor. The bandit replied: “You heard what I said: either corn or money, or else you will see what will happen.” When the priest had understood that he was not interested in talking about the faith, in order to prevent something dreadful, he gave him a few coins that had been given to help the friars and the bandit left.

7694 On the same morning the priest’s companion who was called Giovanni da Savgliano and who was a priest,[17] was going to Perosa which is about three miles from Perré to help the priests who were missionaries there and when he was coming back alone, he met the bandit who was mentioned above [12r n. n.] in a place that was high up on a cliff. The bandit wanted to speak to the priest and he said: “You wicked papist, I have been looking for you. You wicked friars are the reason why the Duke has ruined our temples. I want you to pay me.” In a fit of anger, he hit him with his weapon and knocked him to the ground. The priest knelt down. The bandit said to him: “Get up and come with me.” As he said that he took him by the capuche and marched him ahead intending to take him somewhere to treat him the way he wanted to treat him.

As they were going past a heretic’s home the priest saw that the door of the house was open and he ran in. When the bandit tried to follow the priest, the bandit fell and hurt his hand. By then the priest had closed the door. The person who owned the house was called Pilato. Because the priest had escaped and because the bandit had injured his hand the bandit started to curse God and called out in a fuming rage: “Pilato open the door for me immediately! Ah, Pilato, you are still a papist and you intend to protect this fanatic. You will pay for this.” Pilato pushed the priest through a false door at the back of the house, et abiit.

7695 [12v n. n.] Word of what had happened came to a leading heretic in the Valley of S. Martino, who was a close friend of the Capuchins. He collected a number of people to go and defend the priest. When the bandit heard the commotion, he ran off. A few days later he went to the church in Pinasca and because the doors were shut, he climbed onto the church roof made a hole and entered and did a lot of damage. He ruined a picture of the Madonna that was on the altar and tore the drapes off the altar. He removed a green side altar that had a red cross on it and made a pair of stockings. He put the cross on the tiles out of disrespect. When he saw some heretics coming, he lifted the cross up in a gesture of mockery and everyone burst out laughing.

Along with other bandits he went to Torre da Luzerna for a meal in a tavern which was next to where the curate lived.[18] When the bandit saw the curate he said: “You have come at the right time. You should pay for me and my companions or we will poke fun at you.” [13r n. n.] In order not to have trouble with such diabolical people, the curate just put his finger up to his lips.

7696 When His Highness came to know about the bad behaviour of this evil man, especially how he had insulted the Capuchins, he gave orders to Count Filippo di Luzerna to do everything he could to deal with this whether the man was alive or dead. Count Filippo bribed a couple of his companions who were heretical bandits. These men always went about with him and one day after they had been drinking together and were drunk, the man fell asleep under a tree. His companions pretended to be asleep and when they saw that their companion was out cold, one of them cut his throat and another shot him. He was taken to Turin and cremated as he truly deserved.

The priests at Perré knew about this and I heard the story from Father Giovanni Battista da Verzolo and Father Giovanni da Saviglia and Pilato who had sheltered him in his house.[19]

I learnt of what happened in the church in Pinasca from Father Giovanni da Vercelli.

While I was staying with him, Chiafredo Morro da Pancalieri told me what happened at Torre and what took place there.

I, Br Agostino da Castellamonte confirm what was said above.

  1. With regard to the missionary activity of Giovanni da Vercelli between 1622 and 1628 see Ferreri, Rationarium chronographicum missionis evangelicae etc.; pars II, Torino 1659, 124-131; see also Father Caffaro, Notizie e documenti della chiesa pinerolese, vol. VI, Pinerolo 1901-1903, 66-69.
  2. Even before the Edict of Nantes in 1598, the Edict of Cavour, published by Emanuele Filiberto on 5th June 1563, permitted freedom of worship to the Valdensians, in 1562 the Edict of Saint Germain allowed freedom of worship to the Protestants and on 19th March 1563 the Edict of Ambroise did the same. Enrico IV allowed freedom of worship in an Edict proclaimed on 4th August 1589 and renewed certain measures regarding peace in a document issued at Nantes in July 1591.
  3. CF. Mt 13: 25. Lussuriarent (lasciviously) has been added by the narrator.
  4. The fact that the Bishops and Abbots did not live in the place was one of the evils that the Council of Trent tried to eradicate. However, the Canons were notoriously slow in implementing this reform.
  5. The neglect of the local clergy has been well documented as being one of the main causes of the success of the Protestant Reform. The poor and uneducated clergy in the Valleys were no match for the well organised Calvinists.
  6. This is a good, spontaneous description of the heroic zeal of the early missionaries that is also repeated by Francesco di Moncalieri in the Semplice relatione p. 20 (cf. n.7725).
  7. This is one of the pearls in the missionary apostolate and is a work of mercy towards priests and religious who have become apostates.
  8. The Valley of “Pragola” is the Valley of Pragelato.
  9. His name was Ludivico Cauta as we read in Semplice relazione by Francesco da Moncalieri, n. 7726.
  10. The death of the apostate Dominican who was the minister at Usseaux as reported by Francesco da Moncalleri sounds like the story of a conversion.
  11. These scenes provide a good picture of the anticatholic propaganda of the Calvinists and the woman represents the ministers of the reformation movement.
  12. We have already mentioned how the humility, simplicity, poverty and detachment of the early Capuchin missionaries made a strong impression on both the Catholics and Protestants.
  13. To operate “exemplis magis quam verbis convertere” is a fundamental Franciscan motive. However, it is also a challenge to superiors and Church prelates.
  14. This was a most beautiful display of faith and Eucharistic spirituality. Father Giovanni received support for this from Rome through Cardinal Lusagnatogli a member of Propaganda Fidei and used his stipend to help the poor, widows, those who were sick and those who were incurable.
  15. Cf 1 Tim 1: 17.
  16. Giovanni Battista da Verzolo was a missionary in Perrero between 1623 and 1624. Cf. P. Caffaro, Notizie e documenti della chiesa pinerolese, vol. VI, Pinerolo 1901-1906 14.
  17. We do not know much about Giovanni da Savigliano.
  18. As Br Agostino da Castellamonte informs us the curate was Chiafredo Morro di Pancalieri.
  19. This is a statement that is intended to prove the truth of the story.