Letters concerning the missions written by Filippo da Pancalieri

Capuchin missionary work among the heretics of the Piemonte valleys

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 del primo secolo, Edizioni Frate Indovino, Perugia, vol III/2, pp. 4201-4232.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Padre Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap

1. To Carlo Emamuele I

2. To Clement VIII

3. To Cardinal Aldobrandini

4. To Giovenale Ancina, Bishop of Saluzzo

5. Once again to Cardinal Aldobrandini

6. To Carlo Emanuele I

7. To Marquis d’Este

9. Other letters to Cardinal Aldobrandini

Introduction by Padre Costanzo Cargnoni OFM Cap

Filippo Ribotti da Pancalieri was one of the most experienced and dynamic missionaries in the Piemonte Valleys. Ferrers said the he was operarius inconfusibilis, infatigabilis, ardens et validus hereticorum profligatory (a barefaced, relentless, zealous and successful adversary of heretics). In fact, he never showed fear even when, out of hatred, the heretics tried to have him assassinated. He went everywhere, going from place to place in the Alpine Valleys where he was always ready to engage in public debates with both the ministers and the Valencian “barba” as well as to preach, teach catechism, become involved in friendly conversations in the homes, to discuss anything, to organise the Forty Hours and devotional processions making use of the Decree issued by the Duke of Savoy whom he had prompted to use his authority to intervene and protect the missionary struggle to bring people back to Catholicism. Even though he suffered from bad health, he worked very zealously and put new energy into the missionary initiatives in the Valleys of Perosa, San Martino, Macra, Varaita, places in Perosa, Acceglio, San Damiano Macra, Verzuolo, Casteldelfino and Caraglio.

The best thing is to listen to his own words as they are to be found in his rich correspondence which report his apostolic activity in the years between 1597 and 1602.They do not portray the triumphalism but the good judgement and unpretentiousness of a keen missionary who made use of every opportunity to promote the Catholic faith. They tell of when, after working for so many years, he received official word that as Notary he was able to receive the abjuration of heresy of new converts, reconciling them to Holy Mother Church.

1. To Carlo Emamuele I

[Pinerolo, 13th February 1597]

7640 Your Most Kind Lordship.

This morning, at the command of Father Berna, I, Father Maurizio, and some companions went to S. Germano.[1] After we had listened to the sermon and proved it to be false by using Beza’s own Bible.[2] Seeing that the false sect has so much hatred for divine grace, the minister, David,[3] could do nothing but run away saying that he did not want to have a debate with us without sighting the authorisation that you gave us to argue with them.

We already have the other authorisations that you issued, but in order to increase the minister’s embarrassment, we ask Your Highness to send copies of these authorisations especially as we are certain of the zeal that you have for the Catholic faith remains steady.[4]

In the meantime, we greet you humbly, while asking Jesus Christ to grant you happiness and peace.

From Pinerolo, 13th February 1597

I remain Your most affectionate servant of Jesus Christ and of Your Highness.
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin

2. To Clement VIII

[Dronero, 18th February 1602]

7641 Most Holy Father.

After I had converted the heretics in the valley of Susa, a task that had been assigned to me by the Duke and the Monsignor Nuncio of happy memory,[5] and left two Capuchins to instruct and enter into conversation with those who had become Catholics, I came, along with other companions, to the Marquisate of Saluzzo to do the same thing. When I arrived here with wonderful collaboration between the Nuncio, the Governor General, Manta, the Governor of Dronero and myself, and as nothing like this had happened to the local heretics for a hundred years, I began to plan the work. I was encouraged by the peaceful conditions which the Lord God had brought about through Your Holiness and your nephew, the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal,[6] who recognised the people had been abandoned without any help and who admonished their ministers to heed the command of Your Holiness obedite principibus vestris, non tantum bonis, sed etiam discolis (be subject to your masters, not only to those who are gentle but also to the harsh).[7] They said publicly that they had not expected Your Holiness to say anything else in order to give them peace of conscience. They hoped to see the entire Marquisate cleansed from the pest of heresy in a very short time. Then with the sudden death of the Monsignor all of this was upset.

7642 Since the above-mentioned Monsignor and our Father General have appointed me as the Superior of the Capuchin Fathers in these mountains,[8] I feel obliged to inform our Universal Father and Supreme Pastor of this and, while lying prostrate at your feet, in visceribus Jesu Christi (with the affection of Jesus Christ)[9] to humbly beg of you, with tears in my eyes, to send us, as soon as possible, a Nuncio, who has the same authority and zeal as his predecessor, to request Your Holiness to repeat and confirm what you commanded and the faculties that you gave so that in spite of obstacles placed by Satan, we may not be forced to abandon this work and do great damage to the Catholic faith.

Relying completely on the universal and most diligent care that Your Holiness has for the flock of Christ, I will not say any more but to humbly ask you to bless me in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ who grants happiness and life everlasting.

Dronero, 18th February 1602

From your most humble son and servant minster in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, unworthy Capuchin.

3. To Cardinal Aldobrandini

[Turin, 30th April 1602]

7643 My Most Illustrious, Reverend Lordship.

Charitas Christi, pietas pontifices et benignitas optimi antistes urget nos (The love of Christ, the devotion of pontiffs, the kindness of good leaders impels us)[10] to experience a little enthusiasm and after we have humbly kissed the most holy feet of Your Eminence and been infinitely grateful for the endorsement of the faculties that Your Most Illustrious Lordship had given before,[11] to let you know how we are working to convert the heretics in the Marquisate of Saluzzo to the Catholic faith, with whom we are continually at odds not only when we are debating with them but also when they do other things. They are in touch with some of the leading officials of our Duke and if we do not beat them in this, they will certainly have won the war.

There are two types of heretics. Some are obstinate while others are deceived and think that they are doing what is right. Most of those who are obstinate are foreigners and bandits who hold it over those who are subject to them. By the grace of God, during Lent this year, we converted about seventy of those who had been deceived in Dronero, which is the nesting place of the heretics. Some of their leading ministers promised to return to the Catholic faith when we go back there if they are not threatened and maltreated before we arrive.

7644 Preaching or debates or similar things make no impression on those who are obstinate because they do not accept the jurisdiction of the Church and there is no other way to deal with them except using the authority of the Prince whom they say publicly they will obey as I have already told Your Eminence. This is the situation because when their ministers saw that they had no support once peace had been proclaimed they were convinced that they could achieve peace of conscience by following what St Peter said: Carissimi, subditi estote dominis, non tantum bonis et modestis, sed etiam discolis.[12] Because of this Lord Della Marta, the Governor of this Marquisate and I sent Your Eminence a note concerning the decree that was required, a copy of which I enclose so that you can understand clearly what is involved. This will mean that those who are willing to embrace the Catholic faith sincerely would profess their faith, receive Communion and set an example to others.

Nothing more can be done for those who are obstinate. When they hear sermons and the Catholic arguments, they remain prejudiced. Although they do not agree with us at least they are not against us, and thereby weakening many of those in the valleys.

7645 Nevertheless, their children that our companion have diligently instructed in the Catholic faith and other spiritual exercises, with the Lord’s help, will be good Catholics and be steadfast in the Catholic faith.

Without those decrees the heretics would have seduced many Catholics. We have brought back to the faith some of those who were led astray in Dronero during the last three years. What is more, after the Monsignor’s death, some heretics received privileges to do as they wished. These were granted by the present State Council. I saw this when I came to Turin and I informed Your Highness and the Council that this was acting against the Church and the State as well as being against their consciences.

By means of a letter that I obtained from Your Highness through your secretary, I threatened the agents of the heretics with prison and they took fright and fled like birds looking for better nests. [250v].

From this Your Illustrious Lordship can see why I want this decree against the heretics in this Marquisate. I also want to say that the Nuncio named above appointed four Capuchins to do this work: four in the mountains and four in the valleys. He gave alms for the work even if this was not enough and the supply of priests was sometimes interrupted.

The Nuncio told me that he wrote to Rome asking for alms for another four missionaries. Nothing has been received up to the present.[13]

7646 The 400 scudi that Our Lordship usually sent to the priests here in the mission in the mountains every year have been transferred to Tonone to the Jesuits.[14] Therefore, so that this holy work may progress for the glory of Jesus Christ, the good of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls redeemed by the precious blood, I ask Your Most Illustrious Lordship to agree to arrange for alms to be given for the upkeep of four Capuchins, because, for many reasons, we are unable to be in these places, especially so that we will not be poisoned as two of our companions were poisoned and died.[15]

Therefore, being confident of the most ardent zeal that you have for God’s Church and of the regard you have for your most humble servants, we ask the Divine majesty to grant you the gifts of the Holy Spirit and every joy in abundance.

Turin, 30th April 1602.

I remain your most humble servant in Jesus Christ.
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

4. To Giovenale Ancina, Bishop of Saluzzo

[Saluzzo, 6th August 1602]

7674 My Most Illustrious, Reverend Lordship.

I and all the people here are very happy to have you, our Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship, here with us to be our pastor. We hope that by means of the grace of the Lord and your excellent guidance we shall be led to the kingdom of heaven.

Your predecessor sent me, your most unworthy servant, to this diocese to prepare the way and to lead ignorant people, that is heretics, back to their pastor. In spite of my weakness, but helped by the grace of the Holy Spirit, I am working to carry out my ministry.

Therefore, veni domine et noli tardare, relaxa facinora plebei tuae (come Lord do not delay, and unbind the bonds of your people)[16] is what I said with all my heart to our Lord Jesus Christ which I asked Him quickly and humbly kissing your hand I ask you to given me your holy blessing.

Saluzzo, 16th August 1602

I remain your most illustrious and reverend Lordship’s
most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

[on the back] To my Most Illustrious and Reverend in Christ Monsignor Ancina Bishop of Saluzzo – Rome.[17]

5. Once again to Cardinal Aldobrandini

1. [Dronero, 18 September 1602]

7648 My Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship.

With the help of divine grace, and through the most ardent assistance provided by our Illustrious Lordship beginning from Lent and up till now, we have received about four hundred people in this Marquisate back into the faith. Yesterday four princes were received, which meant that the regions of Piasco, Costigliole and Villars, which are under the jurisdiction of Abbot Bandini, have been converted in regions that were badly infected by heresy so that sometimes they had even elected mayors and councils composed of heretics.[18] We are about to convert other regions. This will involve enormous hard work since I do not have the assistance of a Capuchin preacher, even though there are two in the valleys of Piemonte. I hope that our Bishop can arrange for us to have more help since we are so busy.

7649 Since once the faith has been reinstated it is time that people be instructed in how to pray, and, since by the grace of God, I have usually done this successfully through the practice of the Forty Hours, for which Abbot Tritonio asked you to grant a Plenary Indulgence throughout his jurisdiction. I enclose a copy of the indult for you to see. I ask Your Illustrious Lordship, for the love of Jesus Christ and the salvation of these poor, uneducated souls, grant me the favour of asking for this indulgence for other areas in which I celebrate the Forty Hours for the glory of His Divine Majesty, the salvation of souls so that Your Most illustrious Lordship may become the instrument of many spiritual benefits. I shall not impose further on your zeal and charity except to prostrate myself on the ground devoutly kissing your feet while wishing you long life and happiness.

Dronero, 18th September 1602

Your most humble son and servant in Jesus Christ
Father Philippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

2. [Dronero, 30th September 1602]

7650 Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship.

The ancient dragon has infected the entire Marquisate with the infernal stench of blasphemous heresy and established his pride of place in the aptly named Dragonero.[19] This is where all the heretics live and learn about depraved doctrines. Those who live there include professors, doctors, captains and almost all the wealthy heretical nobility. Heresy has grown to such an extent that the few Catholics who live there were ashamed to come to church.

The day before yesterday, which was the feast of the Archangel Michael who cast the dragon out of heaven, the leader of the heretics was overthrown, and in the few days before and after the solemn feast all the heretics, including the leaders, which amounted to about 450 people, became Catholics. In another heretical place called Verzolo we converted 233 people. In all we cleansed nine regions of this Marquisate which involved converting about 800 people to the Catholic faith. Some of these had relapsed after having been converted by the Jesuits and the Capuchins but had soon lost the faith because there were no preachers. I hope that by the grace of God and the intervention of Your Lordship this will not happen again.[20]

There are two Valleys, the ones in Mira and Po, into which I will go this week with nine companions in the hope that once we have defeated the leader, even the body of the infernal beast tradetur igni ad conburendum (will be given to the fire to be burnt). [21]

7651 I beg Your Most Illustrious Lordship to send us all the help that is necessary so that the holy work may go ahead, especially the indulgence attached to the Forty Hours, as I mentioned in my letter. There is one other thing that you ought to consider with regard to the protection of the Catholic faith in this Marquisate and in the territories of the Duke in the mountains and that it to put a stop to heresy being authorised without which the heretical would never have made headway.

With the faculties that you have granted me, during the last fifteen days, I have arranged five processions without any disturbance. In order to extend this practice to all the regions once people have converted interiorly, it would be good, if Your Most Illustrious Lordship would extend the faculties that you gave me to all my companions so that all the Governors and Officials, sooner rather than later, would implement the Apostolic Decrees sent by Your Lordship as required. To achieve this, I am sending them an authorised copy of the orders issued by Your Lordship.[22]

Relying completely on Your Lordship’s most astute judgement, I prostrate myself on the ground kissing your feet and asking pardon for my presumption, I ask your blessing for me and my companions while begging for divine compassion to protect the Church and grant you long life and happiness.

Dronero, at the end of September, 1602.

Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancelieri, Capuchin.

6. To Carlo Emanuele I

1. [Dronero, 10th September 1602]

7652 Your Most Kind Lordship.

In the very first war the Archangel Michael won victory over the devils and threw them out of heaven.[23] Twelve years ago, on the feast of St Michael Your Highness won victory over the French and threw them out of the Marquisate.[24] Today, which is the feast of St Michael the Church has achieved victory over the heretics in this Marquisate and cast them out of it, so that by bringing seven hundred back to the catholic faith, and cleansed nine regions in the Marquisate she has crushed the head of the dragon as is signified in the word Dragoneto.

Therefore, gratias Deo quidedit nobisvictoriam per Jesum Christum (thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ) [25] and may Your Highness be praised who by means of the power of your most zealous spirit has overcome all difficulties and brought the work to such an end that there is no longer any uncertainty now that Captain Paris Polotto, Luiggi Ciaglie, Doctor Raimondo, Francisco Casana and all of their ambassadors who are Catholics will not be left without support.

Praviglielmo still needs additional assistance. The same applied to the valley of Marcra where I went briefly with one of your officials today. If you wish we can follow this up.[26] However, we need your continual support for without that we cannot achieve anything.

I went to Casteldelfino where one hundred and fifty of those who had repented were complaining and they stopped me leaving. I have thought of going there to preach two or three times, whenever you command me to do this, and lead more people back to the catholic faith and to restore their property.[27]

Begging Our Lord Jesus Christ to grant you greater graces every day, I offer you very humble reverence.

Dronero, the end of September 1602

To Your Most Kind Lordship
Your most faithful servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

2. [Acceglio 12 October 1602]

7653 Very Kind Sir,

To fulfil what I am obliged to do and in response to your desire to see the growth of the Catholic faith, especially in your states, I will inform you how, by the grace of God, we have cleared out heresy from Verzuolo, Villafalletto, Villanoveta, Piasco Venasca, Lotolo, with the exception of one household, and Stroppo in which we have brought a thousand people back to the Catholic faith.[28] I will send you a detailed report on how the work ended and also the names of those who did not reject heresy, who are very few when compared with those who became Catholics. Some have already spoken to me about returning to being Catholic. Until I receive your Lordship’s advice, I will not do anything about the one who returned to the faith and asked about the return of his property.

The remaining three regions in this Marquisate that are infected: Praveglielmo, S. Michele and Aceglio. I do not know what to say about Praviglielmo because I have not been there yet. Aceglio is well disposed and we have received twenty people in the three days we spent there. We received three of the leaders in secret who, when they spoke out publicly a few days later, drew in others who had been obstinate. I ask you to tell the Governor to help me by publishing your edict as one of his officials.

Captain Ercole Verneti, in accord with your orders, has offered four hundred troops to overthrow the pride of the heretics in the valley. To implement this, he will send one of his brothers to Turin as a hostage.

May we be infinitely grateful for the mercy of God whom we implore to fill your soul with heavenly grace and grant you happiness.

Aceglio, 12th October 1602

To Your Most Kind Highness
Your most faithful servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

3. [Aceglio, 19th October 1602]

7654 Very Kind Sir.

What happened following the conversion of the heretics in this Marquisate shows that the decision that Your Highness and most worth Council made was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It came about with indescribable peacefulness and almost universal satisfaction. We have received over seven hundred into the Catholic faith, most of whom had decided to give it up. Through the good work of the Monsignor at La Manta, and the Governor who spoke to four of the leading heretics these heretics have promised to return to the Catholic faith in three months’ time. They have come to me and listened to what I had to say concerning the word of God. With the exception of one rebel who fled, the others, including captain Gioannone Certoso, Gabriel Agnesi and Pietro Galizia and other captains such as Filippo Francisce, Pietro Marchese, Giovanni Clara, Captain Albelli and others, took part in this holy work and wisely changed their way of thinking and returned to obedience to the Church and Your Highness to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.[29]

In the whole valley, except for Aceglio where we live, there are about eight households which are not converted. They are made up of rebellious people who are poor and in debt. However, we have already converted about three hundred of them and the work will go on with the help of God. We would be very pleased if Your Highness would issue an edict that those who have made themselves absent, on their return, should be arrested so that their vile influence may not cause those who have become Catholics to fall away and control your State since most of them are criminals.[30]

Glory be to God and may Your Highness be respected for propagating faith in Christ. I beg that God will give you grace and eternal happiness.

Aceglio, 19th October 1602.

To Your Highness
Your most faithful servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

7. To Marquis d’Este

[Dronero, 27th January 1603]

7655 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

By the grace of God and in accord with the command of His Highness and Your Excellency, we have finished ridding the entire Marquisate of public heretics. At Christmas we heard the Confessions of about three hundred of those who had become Catholics and gave them Communion. We then went to the Valley of Macra and converted to Catholicism more than seventy people. Among these there were three heads of households who have come back from Castel Delfino who told me that most of the others would also be returning.[31] May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to bestow his favours on us for the glory of His Divine Majesty, the growth of the Church and the service of our kind Prince.

Once they have abandoned their vain hopes, they changed and look for something better. Nevertheless, those who are the most obstinate, and who have gone back to Dighieres, have been told that in the vicinity of Delfino they will receive the same treatment as the French. This being the case I have been told that they will have recourse to Your Highness and ask you to allow them to keep on doing business.

However, I doubt that all of this is a ploy invented by Dighieres, that astute wolf, to devise something evil against Your Highness.[32] I have greater doubts about what the young man said when the Governor prudently found out about the arrival of a young man called Ludovico Marchisio, and had him brought to his fort to ask him why he had come back to Delfinato, and the young man said that he had been sent by his father to become a Catholic. This was a cover if we consider how a son of Galizia, who was so obstinate and who left the place, could now send him back saying he had a passport issued by the Monsignor in Manta.

7656 Therefore, I beg Your Excellency, when you have to deal with such matters that you do not allow those who are known for being rebellious against the Church and the Prince and who have been our enemies up to the present to come in unless they first become Catholics in accord with your instructions, a copy of which I enclose. I have asked you twice to publish that edict and to state that those who are obstinate and have fled are not allowed to return to the Marquisate nor to live anywhere nearby without becoming a Catholic. I assure Your Excellency that if they do not fulfil the conditions that you have laid down, I will not accept them.[33]

I am sending Your Excellency a letter that was written by the Curate of Aceglio that confirms what is written below. He is thankful for our alms. Nothing needs further refurbishment except in the Parish of Pravillelmo. I ask you, following on what you promised, to send me alms to procure what is needed since this is the best time for this work.

For the love of God, the salvation of souls and the good of the State send us help to complete this work as a sign of your great compassion which is associated with the infinite reward that the Lord God has prepared for those who do his work. I ask His Divine Majesty to grant Your Excellency grace and eternal happiness.

Dronero, 21st January 1603

I remain Your Excellency’s
Most affectionate servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo da Pancalieri, Capuchin.

9. Other letters to Cardinal Aldobrandini

1. [Dronero, 4 November 1602]

7657 My Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship.

I offer you infinite thanks for the Indulgence you granted for the Forty Hours of prayer, trusting that the Lord Jesus Christ in promoting His glory will employ it to help these poor souls. I devoutly await letters that will contain the approval of the Inquisition which is very important in the Marquisate.[34] At present acting on the authority that Your Highness has given me, I had a heretic woman arrested. She had been very obstinate and had not left the place within the specified time. I had another woman, who had been a nun before becoming a heretic, arrested and later set free. There was an elderly doctor, who was one of the first to spread heresy in the Marquisate. He had renounced heresy under two Bishops but now could not stop blaspheming against the holy sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacred Council of Trent.[35]

To make you even happier, I will inform you about what is going on now through the abundance of the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is very encouraging. Out of the twenty-six parishes that were infected with heresy in the Marquisate, twenty-three have been cleansed of public heretics. In two more, almost two thousand people have returned to the faith with a reduction in the financial support given to these churches and a decrease in the number of ministers, who were mainly heretics. Following what we asked of them, the communities have set up five or six confraternities.

7658 In Dronero we have begun to demolish the cemetery that the Bishop had given to the heretics ad dutitiam cordis eorum (because of the hardness of their hearts). [36] Following what the Nuncio requested when he came to Turin, we are about to remove their books, and in accord with what you wrote to me, we will give them Catholic books [288v] in place of their heretical books.

We have freed the entire plane of the Marquisate from heretics. As well as all the valleys of Varaita as far as Casreldelfino, where most of the obstinate had fled. Some of them have repented but are afraid to come back to the faith because they are uncertain about their life and property.[37]

As you can see in his letter which I sent to you, in order to bring these poor people back, and so that this could be done peacefully, the Archbishop of Turin made me Vicar Forane and granted me all the necessary faculties. In his letters which were written at the end of December, the Archbishop of Ambrun asked me to get in contact with Barcelona as soon as possible. There was a great number of heretics in his Diocese and in the nearby state of Provenza. At the same time, he told me that he wanted to consult the Monsignor about this. However, because, up to the present, our missions have been situated in the State of Your Highness and the area between here to the mountains and the Vicariate of Casteldelfino is under the jurisdiction of a very Christian king, and the region of Barcelona is over the mountains, it would be necessary for me and for my companions to be assigned once again by His Holiness.[38]

7659 We have also cleansed Valgrana. What is more, we cleansed the Val di Macra, which is twelve miles from here, which had been taken by the French and which you regained when you went to France to sign the peace so that the Spanish could not recapture it.

Nevertheless, there are still twelve heretic households there that are waiting for the time fixed by Your Highness when, by the grace of God, most of them will return to the Catholic faith. In those parts, there are some others who are underground and dispersed and every day we discover some of them. By His holiness and Almighty Power, may the Lord God bring about their conversion and show them clearly that they are part of His flock.

The twenty seventh parish in Pravigliemo is in the Po Valley. Those who live there are so ignorant and obstinate that they place more value on weapons than on reasoning. However, I hope that Your Highness will give me the opportunity to put this right.[39]

7660 At present all Christians are crying out with one voice for preachers to instruct them [289r]. They correctly complain about Curates because most of then are living a bad life, some have brought shame on children and women with some having four or six children. I have not entered into this, since I do not have the faculties to do so and am hoping that our Bishop or the Abbot would do something soon to put things right.

In what I have done, which required more strength than I could muster, I have received no help from the Capuchins except for them sending one preacher and two companions to serve the entire Marquisate. I ask Your Lordship to see to it that I be given help or else I will soon collapse under the load.

Prostrate on the ground I kiss your holy feet and hands and I ask Our Lord Jesus Christ to grant you grace and eternal happiness.

Dronero, 4th Novenber 1602.

To you most Illustrious and most Reverend Lord
You most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

2. [Dronero, 28th January 1603]

7661 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

I have received what Your Most Illustrious Lordship sent me, and it has encouraged me and my companions to continue trying to carry out God’s work and, with the help of His grace, to produce abundant fruit. The harvest is increasing. I have already informed you that out of the twenty-six parishes in this Marquisate twenty-three have been cleansed and about two thousand people have returned to the faith.

Now I can add that all have been cleansed except one, and seventy-eight more people have been brought back to the faith. These include three heads of households in Delfinato who were bandits who had fled. People continue to come back to the holy faith and this Christmas about three hundred Catholics received Communion.

All this took place in a wonderfully peaceful manner. The Nuncio did not want the Duke to say anything in support of the heretics who at times had caused disturbances in the neighbouring valleys. However, by the grace of God, things remained calm and respectful in this Marquisate and the Monsignor at Manta was very helpful. The devotional books that you sent were distributed and the books that were prohibited were retrieved. I can assure you that the current outbreak of heresy in this Marquisate was due to heretical books sent from Geneva.[40]

7662 Those who had been converted were very willing to listen to the sermons. Therefore, I ask Your Lordship, not to allow me to be deprived of the few priests who are helping me by sending them to Turin because then all that has been done would come to nothing.[41]

We also hope that when the Bishop comes to live here these people will not only be confirmed in the Catholic faith, but also make progress on their journey to God moved by his exemplary life and holy teaching.

Therefore, falling on my knees before God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ,[42] I sincerely thank Your Lordship for these favours and I pray to His Divine Majesty to grant you long life and eternal happiness.

Dronero, 28th January 1603

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

3. [Verzuolo, 15th March 1603]

7663 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

In harmony with the promise of Blessed Christ regarding the reward for preaching the Gospel, I have endured much persecution.[43] Firstly, in two of their gatherings the heretics who were my neighbours had sworn to kill me. Then some of the leading men persuaded Your Highness to grant some concessions to the heretics who were opposed to me from the beginning. Although they could not hurt me, they did a lot of damage to my brother who was Your servant.

However, I am not greatly concerned about that. What annoys me is that, since it pleased Your Lordship to confirm, in a letter from Rome in April last year, the faculties granted by Nuncio Tartarino, of happy memory, to myself and my companions, some Church officials who are opposed to this are saying that the confirmation is a fake.[44] Without this confirmation the work will be ruined and if it is regarded to be a fake it will cause infinite damage.

I now ask your Lordship, for the honour of Jesus Christ and the good of the Catholic Church to free me from such opposition and declare that the confirmation is not a fake, but comes from Your Lordship’s own hand and that nobody should object to it for in doing so they would be opposing your compassion and prudence.

We are celebrating the devotion of the Forty Hours and I hope in the Lord that it will be very fruitful because Monsignor Saluzzo has been very supportive.[45] Humbly kissing Your sacred hand I am praying that His Divine Majesty may grant you grace and eternal happiness.

From Verzuolo, 15th March 1603.

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most affectionate and humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

4. [Verzuolo, 8th May 1603]

7664 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

I wish to give Your Most Illustrious Lordship infinite thanks for publishing our faculties. I hope that through the grace of God they will yield much fruit by saving souls. During Lent we brought forty people back to the Catholic faith almost all of whom had fled because of heresy and then returned to the Marquisate. For twenty-five years there have not been as many people who received Communion as received Communion this Easter. Twenty thousand refugees attended the Forty Hours and gained the Plenary Indulgence. Two hundred were reconciled to each other. About one hundred stopped practicing moneylending. Many of those who were married stopped living in concubinage and took back their wives. Many who were living on the brink of hell because of many past, serious sins repented. I received much help from the Bishop and Father Gregorio, the nephew of the Nuncio, through their preaching. In accord with your instructions, we are pressing on with God’s work of building up the Catholic faith.[46]

7665 On the other hand, persecution broke out again because we had increased our activities. Once again, in the valley of Angragna, they swore that they were going to kill me. Three foreign gentlemen were involved in this. Sed non sumus fidentes in nobis, sed in Deo qui etiam mortuos vivuficat (but we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead).[47]

It is true that in some places where we were not able to do much because we did not have enough help, things are going very slowly. This would have been the same here if it were not for the work I have described. The Catholics who have been led astray by French laxity, and Catholics who were very weak and not well-instructed needed to be inspired and instructed.

Therefore, the Nuncio, in line with your instructions, has ordered our Father Provincial to send me two preachers to replace the two who have been removed.[48] Now you might say that me and my companion are the only ones left to continue the holy work. I place myself under your protection and I ask His Divine Majesty to grant you grace and eternal happiness.

Verzuolo, 8th May 1603.

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

5. [Dromero, 16th June 1603]

7666 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

Through the mercy of God, I have finally reduced the number of heretics in Dronero by receiving to the faith about twenty-five heretics in the city since Easter. Some of them were in hiding here and some, who had been bandits, returned to be received. Others, who live in Casteldelfino, where our Nuncio had sent me and two companions, as I told you in a letter a few days ago, are being cared for and they tell me that they have returned in order to be received into the Catholic faith and have their property returned to them, in accord with the faculties which you have given us and which the Duke confirmed.

What is more, I was in Verzolo during Lent. This was once the main stronghold of the heretics. By the grace of God, the people there are beginning to think about God. They had become indifferent because they had been without preachers. Many Catholics had not received the Sacraments during Holy Week or at Easter. However, once they had returned, their Catholic faith was rekindled and within about fifteen days one hundred and fifty of them went to Confession and received Communion.

Following the arrival of our Bishop, by means of his zealous preaching and prudent choice of words he healed many of the others. He intends to issue some demanding regulations. He has taken over a diocese with a large population and one that is well-versed in controversy and he has appointed ministers who are well-informed about heresy and preachers who have taught the faith in other places and who have debated about religious matters. Therefore, there will be pastors who have authority and know more than the sheep, [329v] ne in opprobrium incidas et populo fiat scandalum (so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.) [49]

7667 There was a priest in Paesana who, so I heard, received the legal rights to a benefice, but as far as being a devout person, so I was told, he had little to offer and enjoyed little authority and had none of the knowledge that the people needed. Most of the people were new to the faith and consequently weak and not well instructed. So that all that we had done, by the grace of God, with much hard work, would not be damaged, I thought that it was my duty to ask Your Most Illustrious Lordship, for the love of God and the salvation of souls, to remove him from this church and to only appoint someone whom you judged to be competent.[50]

Considering the work that I have to do, you gave me faculties to absolve from ecclesiastical censures, excommunications and so forth. However, because there are special regulations regarding those who practice duelling and some other things, I ask Your Lordship to grant me special faculties so that nothing will be missing for the salvation of souls that have been redeemed by the Lord’s precious blood and who have been in the grasp of the devil for so long.

Humbly offering you reverence; I ask His Divine Majesty to grant you grace and eternal happiness.

Dronero, 16th June 1603

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

6. [Dronero, 19th August 1603]

7668 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

At last it has pleased the Lord God to move Your Illustrious Lordship to issue instruction for me to be given help to finish the work of converting the heretics in this Marquisate and it has produced fruit with the arrival of eleven companions.[51] They have been assigned to Castel Delfino and other main centres in the Province where, with the help of His Divine Majesty, we will engage in preaching and instructing Catholics how to break away from the deprived practices of the old Catholics and continue on their journey of conversion.

A few days later when what had happened in Geneva became known, and some bandits arrived including two whole families and about eighteen or twenty others, I brought some back to the Catholic faith. Others turned Catholic a few days later and had their property returned since I had the faculties to do this.

Part of the Parish of Praviglielmo, where there are some very old heretics, still has heretical bandits and ministers. Pravigleilmo is part of this Marquisate. I told you that if you provided what was needed that everything would go well.

Our Bishop is diligently availing himself of every opportunity to visit the Diocese and is being well-received everywhere. However, he will not go to Pravilelmo because he would not be welcomed there. [52] We hope that, with the help of His Divine Majesty and the assistance that you will send, the faith will continue to grow here and elsewhere each day. We beg Our Lord Jesus Christ to send His grace and we bow before you in humble reverence.

Dronero, 19th August 1603

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

7. [Droneto, 20th September 1603]

7669 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

I feel obliged to inform Your Most Illustrious Lordship about the success of the work in this holy mission. Let me say firstly, that in the Parish church about three miles from Casteldelfino, around the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin, a great crowd of people used to gather to have immoral dances at which many who were weak fell into sin because (as they claimed) that would have to last them for the rest of the year. Those who were weak danced in the church in a provocative manner from the vigil till the following night. They sang lewd songs and men and women slept together in the church. Even if it were true that some of those who were weak did not repeat this for the rest of the year, many who were not weak took part in it on the day and those who were weak became weaker. I believe that this was a trick of the devil to interfere with the devotion of those who were faithful.

This year, with the explicit approval of the Bishop of Saluzzo, I went to put an end to such abuses. I availed myself of the opportunity of celebrating the Forty Hours and offering the Plenary Indulgence making use of your authority, preaching sermons and singing spiritual hymns day and night. I received great help from the priests who are missionaries at Casteldelfino. Through the grace of God, we broke the fascination of these dances, lewd songs and put a stop to men and women sleeping together and provided for those who were weak at separate place where they could live with restraint.[53]

7670 The Bishop, of happy memory who preceded you, tried to do this but it was not possible no matter how often he went there. The Vicar General who succeeded him did the same but they drew a gun on him and he was lucky to survive. Now, by the grace of God, it has been put right peacefully with as much edification as there had been scandal.[54] The Lord God showed how pleased He was about this by making six children show their devotion by entering the church publicly with their parents to thank His Divine Majesty. [404v]

After that, following the instructions given by Your Lordship and with the help of your officials, I expelled some heretic bandits who had returned to the Valley. I then went to the Valley of Maira where I converted twenty-five bandits who had come from Casteldelfino, where, because the two preachers who had been our companions had given their assistance, the influence of the heretics had declined. We heard Confessions and gave Communion to about three hundred and sixty-four in the Vale di Maira during Holy Week when almost everyone received Communion.

At the same time, we have taken possession of the flag of the heretics who have been fighting against the Catholics since the days of Viceroy Biraghi. Although the devil is trying to match this work, if we oppose him bravely with the help of the Lord and with your protection, we shall make progress until it is all done.

Lying prostrate, my companion and I ask for your blessing and beg the Lord to grant you grace and eternal life.

Dronero, 20th September 1603

To Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your most humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

8. [Sauzzo, 6th December 1603]

7671 My Most Illustrious and Excellent Lordship.

My spirit was greatly strengthened by the letter that Your Most Illustrious Lordship kindly sent me on 25th October this year and I want to thank you. It gives me great pleasure to inform you that by the grace of God I have more good news. When the Bishop of Saluzzo visited the part of the Marquisate near Genovesi called Langhe where there were many who were living immoral lives, I celebrated the Forty Hours in the principal town called Dogliani and announced the Plenary Indulgence which Your Most Illustrious Lordship had asked from the Lord.[55] I was joined by the Monsignor, the Inquisitor of that place and the priests who were there with me, all of whom delivered devout sermons. Twenty-four areas were represented in the procession and many other who had given up being bandits went to Confession and received Communion. In all there were three thousand people who were so fervent that Communion was being distributed for twenty-three hours. I have never seen so many sinners converted to God and it all took place without any commotion being raised by the community. Everyone willingly gave alms which amounted to fifty scudi. The Monsignor ordered that these should be distributed to the poor in Dogliani and this greatly edified these poor souls.

7672 Either because of my poor health or the many threats to my life which have been made continuously over the past twenty years as was outlined in a recent letter from a friend of mine, I believe that I will soon die. As a reward for all my efforts, which were accomplished not by me but by the grace of God, I prostrate myself at your feet and ask the same favour that our Father St Francis asked of Our Lord Jesus Christ which is for a Plenary Indulgence for all the souls that have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.[56]

As I hope, by the grace of God, to gain much fruit for the glory of God and to fulfil what Your Highness desires wherever I my go in the short time that is left for me to live, I ask Our Lord Jesus Christ to grant you grace and eternal happiness.

Saluzzo, 8th December 1603

Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship
Your humble servant in Jesus Christ
Father Filippo di Pancalieri, Capuchin.

  1. Filippo Ribotti da Pancalieri (+ 1617) was a missionary in the lower Alpine Valleys where he arrived in 1596. Accompanied by Father Maurizio Germano della Morra d’Asti (+ 1613) and others he went to S. Germano in the Valley of S. Martino but did not preach because they were all simple priests and not preaches.
  2. This is the Bible published by Thomas Guarin in 1564 in Basilea. The Old Testament was translated into Latin by Sante Pagnino and the New Testament by Teodoro de Bèze at least as it appears in the latest edition of biblia gallica a Genevensia, the revision of the first French Bible translated by Oierre Robert Olivetau which came out in Serriéres in 1535. This edition was edited by the ministers and pastors who lived in Geneva and was published with the official approval on the Calvinist Church in Geneva in 1588.
  3. Father Filippo engaged in a public debate with this minister, David Rostagno, in the presence of the Prefect of Pinerolo, Francesco Drago, that lasted for five hours. It covered adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the the Sacrifice of the Mass. Later in the text was published: Filippo Robotti da Pancalieri O.F.M. Cap., Raggionamento a modo di disputa fatta tra il rev. P. F. Filippo Riboti oredicatore cappuccino della missione apostolica nelle valli contro gli Heretici, et David Rosragno ministro in dette valli. Stampato d’ordine del molto reverend padre Bartolomeo Rocca di Pralormo, inquisitore generale di Torino, Fossano et Nizza. In Torino, 1598, 11, 5 x 7,5 cm., 79 pp.
  4. An example of the kind of document that Father Filippo received from the Duke of Savoy can be seen in a document that was issued on 25th February 1602. It backs up previous orders that forbade the heretics to do various things including interrupting public debates. This document is published in the Semplice relatione (p. 14) by Francesco da Moncalieri (cf. below, nn. 7715-7718) and also by Ferreri, Rationarium chronographicum missionis evangelicae, pars. Prima, Torino 1649, 274s. Concerning the authorisation to debate with heretics cf. Rocco da Cesinale, Storia delle missioni dei cappuccini I, Parigi 1867, 212s.
  5. The Nuncio in Turin was Tartarino Cortado who died suddenly at the beginning of 1602.
  6. Pietro Aldobrandini, the nephew of Clement III.
  7. Cf. 1 Pet 2: 18.
  8. The Minister General of the Capuchins was Father Girolamo da Castelferretti. Father Filippo was nominated Prefect or Commissary Apostolic on the missions in Piemonte in 1602 in a decree issued by the Nuncio, G. Cesare Riccardi dated 20th January. Cf. Ricco da Cesinale, Storia I, 223 note 1.
  9. Phil 1: 8.
  10. An adaptation of 2 Cor 5: 14.
  11. Cf. Ferreri, Rationarium, para, 176. – In a letter, dated 30th March 1602, from Cardinal S. Severina to Ribotti he said: “In response to the letter, dated 18th February, from V. P. which I received on 16th of this month, I said that the Congregation of the Holy Office that took place last Thursday, had agreed to confirm the faculties that had been granted by the Nuncio of Forli for the activities of the mission and the conversion to the Catholic faith of heretics who live in the region. …” (Torino, APC, Codice missionario, 13. This is a copy of a manuscript that Father Filippo Ribotti put together in 16160.
  12. Cf, note 7.
  13. In Libro dove si notano I capitoli provinviali e le cose in essi occorrenti, in the Geneva Province which reaches down to 1619 and included Piemonte, in the year 1602 we read: “Since 15th February 1602 when the Illustrious Nuncio arrived in the state of the Duke of Savoy in compliance with the decree of His Holiness, he has sent some of our friars to the valleys to engage with the heretics and support those who had been converted. Through the Grace of God, this was very fruitful. The Fathers who were appointed were […] Father Filippo da Pancalieri, and his companion, Father Antonio da Sale, Father Bernardo d’Aosta and his companion, Brother Antonio da Rossignano, Father Zaccaria da Saluzzo and his companion Father Mario da S. Damiano.” Cf. Torino. APC. Cod. A, by Father Francesco Saverio, I cappuccino genovesi. Codice diplomatico. Vol. V, Genova 1937, 89. See also the letter of Alessandro Marchesi to Cardinal Aldobrandini, Turin 6th May 1602, where we read: “Father Filippo, Capuchin, is here and has spoked with His Highness about the missions and the removal of heretics. He and his companion have support from S. A. who has provided for two more so the four Fathers who have no support and who want to help may do so in obedience with the instructions given to them. The Nuncio, bonae memoriae, who was ill and in danger of losing his life, told them to try to survive among those who would try to poison them.” (ASV, Borghese III, vol. 64C-E, f. 48r)
  14. Regarding the missions in Thonon in Savoy and Chablais cf. Charles de Genève, Les trophies sacrès ou missions des capucins en Savoie, dans l’Ain, la Suisse Romande et la Vallèe d’Aoste, à la fin du XVIe au XVIIe siècle, publiès par F. Tisserand, t. I-III, Lausanne 1976. – The alms were given to the Jesuit college in Thonon through the S. Casa di N. Signora delle Pietà or dei Sette Dolori which was established by the Capuchins.
  15. In a letter dated 18th December 1601 the Nuncio Corrado Tartarino had already dispensed Father Filippo and the missionaries “from everyday begging and allowed them to receive alms for what was necessary to carry out their holy work.” (Cf. Torino, APC, Cod. Missionario cit. 22. Copia). Father Maurizio della Morra and his priestly companion had been poisoned in Perrero in 1598. Ferreri reported this in Rationarium II, 48. Cf. Z. Signetto da Tonengo, I frati delle missioni e della peste, in Boll. Società Studi Storici … Prov. Di Cuneo 49 (June 1963) 78.
  16. An antiphon taken from the Advent Liturgy which included various scripture passages: Habakkuk 2: 3, Heb 10: 37 etc.
  17. The new Bishop of Saluzzo, Blessed Giovenale Ancina, who was a member of the Congregation of the Oratory, and who was very zealous, loved the Capuchins missionaries, wrote a beautiful letter on 12th April 1604 in defending Father Filippo (cf. ASV, Borghese III, vol. 97D, f. 366r). However, the Bishop died too soon on 31st August 1604 after he had apparently been poisoned. This letter, with the original seal attached, is preserved in AGO. The folio is signed at the top righthand corner of column n. 119. There was a number of letters, now lost, that had been collected by the same Bishop who had signed the upper left corner with the inscription “+ De laboribus pro hereticorum conversion.” There is something on the back in another hand that says: “Del molto R. P. Filippo di Pancalieri, cappuccino capo principale della missione apostolica per la conversion degli eretici del Marchesato di Saluzzo. Ricevuta il 17 d’agosto 1602”.
  18. The three regions include: Piasco, in the Vale of Varaita, in the Province of Cuneo; Costigliolo and Villar S. Costanzo. The last mentioned is at the entrance of val Macra. The Abbey of Casanova, which cared for the three regions, was governed by Cardinal Bandini (+ 1629).
  19. That is Dronero.
  20. Note the importance of preaching and teaching catechism as a fundamental factor in the apostolate of the missionaries.
  21. The facts are being presented as if this was the Apocalypse. Cf. Dan 7: 11.
  22. Father Filippo is relentless and he avails himself of the authorisation of both civic and religious authorities. Ferreti give a list of these in Rationarium I. 222-227. Note also how the practice of the Forty Hours in these missions became an effective means of reform and evangelisation.
  23. Cf. Hab. 13: 7-30.
  24. This is a reference to the years when Carlo Emanuele I took over the Marquisate of Saluzzo.
  25. Cf 1 Cor 15: 57.
  26. Praviglielmo is in the Po Valley. In another letter of 6th August 1602, Father Filippo asked Carlo Emanuele I “to publish your edict also … in the Valleys of Marcra saying that we will be making trips periodically, especially to Dronero without saying any more than that we are coming in obedience to Your Lordship and are not asking for debates since their ministers have already refused to debate. […] Instruct your official to carry out his duty quickly.” (Torino, Arch. di stato, Lettere particolari, mazzo 48).
  27. According to the edict of the Duke, whoever did not return to Catholicism, had to be declared a bandit and surrender his property. As a result, many repented in the hope of keeping what belonged to them. This was certainly the situation at the time. However, the Pope, by means of a dispatch sent to Cardinal Aldobrandini on 13th April 1602, pointed out to Father Filippo (while he to could use every possible legitimate means to bring about the return of heretics to the Catholic faith) he should “advise those who return to Catholicism that it would not be a genuine conversion if it were just to obey the Duke, without acknowledging that this is the true Church and the true religion.” (Torino, APC, Cod. Missionario, 16s).
  28. These places are situated at the base of Varaita Valleys and at the base of the Macra Valley.
  29. Father Filippo places much emphasis on the conversion of the ministers, officials and persons regarded for the influence they have over the villagers.
  30. These observations come from his past experience in this apostolate. The rebels who fled were mostly foreigners or exiles.
  31. The Valleys were on the border Vale Varaita, where Casteldelfino is situated and extends goes onto val Macra. In a previous letter to the Marquis, dated 8th January 1603, Father Filippo said: “at the invitation of the Catholics I preached there at Christmas and received Gioannico Bianco, a heretic deacon, as well as the chief of the bandits in Pagliero, into the Catholic faith. Pagliero had come from Casteldelfino and promised to bring back all his followers, about ten or twelve in number, to obedience to the Church and the Prince. The heretic deacon from S. Damiano promised to do the same but did not want to do it yet because it would cause too much disturbance. However, I shall do whatever your Excellency commands. About two hundred of them received Communion as well as almost all of the Catholics. I celebrated the Forty Hours and conferred the Plenary Indulgence. I collected one hundred pieces of prohibited literature from Catholics that attended the sermons. Praised be the Lord. I have been invited to the Macra valleys to receive many people back into the Catholic faith. …” (Milano. Bibl. Trivulziane – Fondo Belgioioso, cart. 69).
  32. The French Huguenot General Les Diguières, who blocked the advance of the Duke of Savoy, had always been the preferred target and black beast.
  33. Cf. note 30. In October 1602 Father Filippo was appointed Vicar Forane of Casteldelfino and other places nearby by the Archbishop of Turin, Carlo Broglia. Cf. n. 7658.
  34. As he said in a letter, dated 18th October 1602, to Cardinal Aldobrandini, Father Filippo had already received two communications regarding the Plenary Indulgence for those who attended the Forty Hours in areas that were under the jurisdiction of the Abbot Tritonis (cf, above n.7649). He had asked the Abbot to extend this to other areas. On 24th October 1602, Clement VIII granted this for two years. Cf. Ferreri, Rationarium I, 92. The practice of these Indulgences was confirmed in an instruction that was sent to the Nuncio on 15th March 1603: “At the suggestion of the Duke, his Lordship has granted the favour of conceding the Plenary Indulgence to all those who go to Confession and receive Communion and take part in the Forty Hours within the metropolitan area of the Marquisate during Holy Week, and pray for all the Christian Princes to be united in the removal of heresy and for the exaltation of the Holy Church. Instead of displaying the usual Brief, His Holiness has told me that he would be happy if the Capuchin preachers who preached in the churches, published the present instructions with the necessary approval of V. S.” (ASV, Borghese III, vol. 25, F. 88r).
  35. Cardinal Aldobrandini gave his approval of this way of acting in a letter dated 21st December 1602: “When the heretics you have mentioned have served their time in prison, the Holy Father commands that they be released so that justice may be done and an example set for others. Other then this, I have nothing to say to you except to praise your efforts on account of which God will bless you.” (Torino, APC, Cod. Missionario, 15s).
  36. Cf Mt 19: 8.
  37. One of the things that the missionaries did was to remove heretical books and distribute good literature. Father Filippo was very active in this work as can be seen in a letter. Dated 30th October 1602, from the Nuncio, Paolo Tolosa, to his nephew who was Cardinal in Milan: “in a letter from V. S., dated 19th of this month, I received your instructions to provide Catholic books to those who have been converted in the Valleys where the Capuchin, Father Filippo, has been working. In order to carry this out, I immediately wrote to this Priest asking him to send me word of the kind of books and the quantity of books that he thought would be needed and I would buy them and send them to him.” (ASV, Borghese III, vol. 95C-1-2, f. 19r).
  38. Father Filippo’s ability to convert heretics had caught the eye of the Archbishop of Embrun on the Durance and he wanted him to undertake a mission within his jurisdiction.
  39. At the time many thought that a little “of the arm of the law” could be of help when “dialogue” was being threatened.
  40. Father Filippo was one of the few who understood that the most effective method that the Protestants had used to defend their new religious ideas and oppose the Catholic Church was to make use of print. Italy was flooded with an assortment of publications and books that came from France.
  41. The Cardinal responded to this request on 15th February 1603: “N. S. has highly praised the work done by V. R. and so has commanded that those who are working with him should not be withdrawn. Therefore, those who are there are to remain, and more help is to be supplied so that the cleansing of heresy from the Marquisate may continue.” (Torino, APC. Cod. Missionario, 17).
  42. Cf. Eph 3: 14.
  43. Cf. Lk 12:11; 21: 12, Mt 10: 17-18; Jn 15: 26.
  44. He is referring to the letter written on 13th April 1602, concerning which see note 27.
  45. His is Monsignor Giovenale Ancina, Cf. above note 17, The Forty Hours were very successful as we will see in a letter dated 8th May 1603.
  46. There is a full description of the Forty Hours in Ferreri’s Rationarum II, 301-303.
  47. 2 Cor 1: 9.
  48. Z. Signetto da Tonengo deals with these difficulties which involved the superiors of the Province of Geneva and missionaries in the Alpine Valleys in I frati delle missioni cit. (note 15), 74-76. See also below, nn 7783-7786 a letter by P. Santi Tesauro dated 16the July 1604.
  49. Cf. 1 Tim 3: 7.
  50. Father Filippo insisted that priests be carefully chosen and properly educated so that they could assist the people who had been converted recently. He related how a cleric who had not been chosen properly had ruined the efforts made by the missionaries who went before him. Cf. above n. 7660.
  51. In addition to those named in note 13 the other missionaries were: Giuseppe da Fossano, Gianbattista della Scala, Francesco di S. Stefano, Stefano da Tenda and Arcangelo da Genova.
  52. Praviglielmo, which is between the Po Valley and the Varaite Valley was the place that was the hardest and the most obstinate.
  53. This is an interesting case of popular religion that was going on in the vicinity of the sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin in Beccetto close to Casteldelfino.
  54. With the help of the zealous Bishop Ancina and the support of the Duke, Father Filippo succeeded in restoring the true spiritual character of the feast and the ceremonies for the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin by celebrating the Forty Hours. The Nuncio wrote to Rome about this on 27th September 1603: “Father Filippo, the Capuchin, celebrated the Forty Hours in the church of Our Lady in Bezzetto … and it all went off with great edification with many going to Confession and receiving Communion.” (ASV, Borghese III, vol. 95C-3, f. 156r).
  55. These were one of the most successful Forty Hours that Father Filippo conducted. The main work was undertaken by a small group of Capuchins together with Bishop G. Ancina. The Nuncio of Savoy said; “I have been informed that the Forty Hours which were celebrated in the Valley of Saluzzo were very successful and that there were about a thousand people in attendance with half of then going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion.” (Torino, 13 dic, 1603: ASV, Borghese III, vol 95C-3 f. 221rv).
  56. Being inspired by St Francis Father Filippo is seeking to obtain the privilege for a Plenary Indulgence “while I am alive” to be attached to the Forty Hours. Ten days later in another letter he asked for the same thing: “Very reverently I ask that for the rest of my life you grant me the privilege of a Plenary Indulgence for the Forty Hours which you granted last year which caused great edification to souls. Then not only those who received this Indulgence but others as well will profit from this great treasure.” (Dronero, 18th December 1603: ASV. Borghes III, vol. 59C, f. 444r). Father Filippo died in 1617.