Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Preacher

Padre Agostino da Montefeltro (1839-1921)

In late nineteenth century Italy one of the great and noted preachers was  Padre Agostino da Montefeltro (1839-1921), a Franciscan priest. (above)  He was born Luigi Vicini and ordained at the age of 22 years. 

Too early probably. 

At aged 28 years, he experienced a religious crisis following a relationship with a woman. Eventually three years later he recovered his vocation and entered the Franciscan order and remained an exemplary priest

The high point of his preaching career was from 1886 - 1890 when he delivered the Lenten Sermons in the Cathedral of Florence, In Turin and at the Church of San Carlo al Corso in Rome

The venues were packed. The newspapers reported his sermons. Young ladies fainted during his sermons. 

He was applauded and mobbed

Apparently his delivery was fast. He could speak for an hour at the rate of 200 words per minute

He could move people with his rhetoric

Apologetics was his forte. It suited the temper of the times and the society within which he preached, shortly after the Unification of Italy

His sermons in Rome were translated into English  and published in New York. They can be accessed here in The Internet Archive

In 1910 after his zenith as a preacher he recorded a record disc of two of his short sermons and you can listen to his voice from the recordings in the French National LIbrary

One is on an encyclical of Pope Leo XIII

Another is on Faith

It is fascinating to hear the voice of one who many saw and still see as a saint

The rhetoric is from a past age. There were no microphones.A conversational style was inappropriate

He founded a congregation of sisters which is still in existence: Istituto "Suore Figlie di Nazareth" who are still in Marina di Pisa, near Pisa, Italy

Originally founded to look after orphans, they are still thriving and looking after children

Here is their website and  here is a picture from the website showing the sisters around the grave of their founder

Unfortunately the initial attempts at beatification were stopped but the sisters are still hopeful that one day their great founder will one day be beatified

The cause seems to have the support of their Archbishop

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