Blessed Antonio Rosmini (Rovereto, 24 March 1797; † Stresa, 1 July 1855) was an Italian  priest and founder, a profound thinker – “one of the six, seven great intelligences of humanity” according to Manzoni – was one of the most representative Catholic figures of the Italian Risorgimento.

He became a priest and placed all of himself and his extraordinary intellectual abilities at the service of God and the Church.

He was a courageous exponent of nineteenth-century Catholic liberalism. Rich in endless culture, combined with an exceptional intelligence and an open and sociable character, he expounded his reflections in his philosophical, theological, and spiritual writings. In them he indicates how Christian behavior must be inspired by sentiments of community fraternity, charity, interior recollection, and altruism, in constant dialogue with tradition, but with an eye to the future. His theological thought is an original combination of liberal principles and Christian ethics. It was for a policy based on social justice and attracted quite a few criticisms from ecclesiastical thinkers of the time.

The most famous work is “Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church“, a careful analysis of the evils that in his opinion afflicted the Church of the time. It was subject to censorship but had great resonance with the Second Vatican Council.

His publications are numerous: almost a hundred volumes dealing with philosophy, theology, pedagogy, law, politics, apologetics, ascetics, church history. His letters published so far are 8,500. The titles of writings about him are more than 15 thousand.

He is the founder of the Institute of Charity, which, after certain signs of God’s will, began in 1828 at the Sacred Mount Calvary of Domodossola and obtained its pontifical approval in 1839.  Rosmini trained the members, took care of their spirit, organization, and dissemination. She followed with loving care the development of the female branch: the Sisters “of Providence”. He was an appreciated master of the spiritual life. From his deathbed, he left his spiritual testament in these three words: “Adore”, “Be silent”, “Enjoy”.

The Popes and Antonio Rosmini

Jesus called the apostles to help him distribute the multiplied loaves to the crowd. The Popes also identify collaborators to feed Christ’s flock, providing the faithful with adequate help to live intellectual and spiritual corporal charity.

Pope Pius VIII gave Antonio Rosmini , a young priest, the indication that marked his vocation in the Church: to write to bring back to the faith men who have become too proud of their reason. He dedicated himself to this mission with enthusiasm, competence, dedication, and perseverance.

Now there is growing esteem and interest in his philosophical, pedagogical, juridical, theological, and spiritual writings. Providence, which guides history for the greater good, has arranged, from its time to the present, different seasons regarding the fruition of the Osinian doctrinal patrimony .  The following pages show that in any case many Popes have considered that it was useful for the Church to take advantage of Rosminian writings. Today we have reached a season in which the hunger for truth is acute, if we feel the need no less than bread. Is Rosmini the bread to end the famine, the water for this end of this drought?

Don Clemente Rebora, an Osinian poet  in a reputation for holiness, had sensed it: “The conviction grows in me that the Holy Spirit, Divine Strategist, …. May he have kept in store his useless servant Antonio Rosmini in order  to place him at the appropriate time, when the need for a sure and faithful and guiding current voice of the perennial doctrine of the Church in the mystery of Christ; of doctrine and of its incomparable victorious reasonableness, in the face of all the growing human demands and implementations, will be felt with greater acuteness (today one would say anguish). (Clement Rebora,  Rosmini, Longo, 1996, p. p. 210).

“Go to Joseph, he has good wheat in abundance.” It was the voice that came from Egypt to Jacob’s family.

“Go to Rosmini to imitate him and to receive advice on the formation of young priests and committed laity”, is the indication that comes today from the Pope.

The recent Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium of Pope Francis proclaimed Rosmini master in ecclesiastical universities and pontifical faculties.   The greatest gift to us Rosminians, and not only to us, after the Beatification.

Thank you, Pope Francis.

Father Vito Nardin

1. On November 1, 2010 in St. Peter’s Square: Blessed Antonio Rosmini writes: “The Word had impressed himself on the souls of his disciples with his sensitive aspect … and with his words … he had given his own that grace … with which the soul immediately perceives the Word” (Antropologia supernaturale, Rome 1983, 265-266).

2. On Pentecost Sunday, 12 June 2011: Blessed Antonio Rosmini explains that “on the day of Pentecost of Christians God promulgated … his law of charity, writing it through the Holy Spirit not on the tablets of stone, but in the hearts of the Apostles, and through the Apostles, then communicating it to the whole Church” (Catechism arranged according to the order of ideas… n. 737, Turin 1863).

3. In the message to President Napolitano for the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy: “For philosophical, political and even juridical thought, the great figure of Antonio Rosmini stands out, whose influence has unfolded over time, to the point of informing significant points of the current Italian Constitution”.

On April 6, 2014, Pope Francis referred to the controversial and painful human and spiritual story of the Rovereto priest during his homily at the usual morning Mass at Santa Marta. “When we read the lives of the saints, we see how many misunderstandings, how many persecutions they suffered, because they were prophets. In the history of salvation, in the time of Israel and also in the Church, the prophets have always been persecuted. Many thinkers in the Church have also been persecuted.” Among these, without directly mentioning his name, the Pope recalled Rosmini, first a ‘bandit’ then ascended to the honor of the altars, one, now, at this moment, not so far from us, a man of good will, a prophet really, who with his books reproached the Church for straying from the way of the Lord. His books went to the index, they took away his chairs and this man thus ends his life: not so long ago. Time has passed and today he is blessed!.  How is this possible? How is it possible that yesterday one was a heretic and today he is blessed?  The pontiff himself gave the answer, with a critical look at the becoming of the people of God: “Yesterday those who had power wanted to silence it, because they did not like what he said. Today the Church, which thanks be to God knows how to repent, says: ‘No, this man is good!’ Moreover, he is on the path of holiness: he is a blessed!”

And again Pope Francis in Caserta on July 26, 2014 in the meeting with priests:

“If we do not pray, we may be good pastoral and spiritual entrepreneurs, but the Church without prayer becomes an NGO, it does not have that unctio Spiritu Sancti. Prayer is the first step, because it is to open oneself to the Lord in order to be able to open oneself to others. It is the Lord who says: “Go here, go there, do this …”, arouses in you that creativity that has cost so many saints a lot. Think of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, the one who wrote The Five Wounds of the Church, was precisely a creative critic, because he prayed. He wrote what the Spirit made him feel, so he went to the spiritual prison, that is, to his home: he could not speak, he could not teach, he could not write, his books were on the index. Today he is Blessed! So many times creativity leads you to the cross. But when it comes from prayer, it bears fruit.

Monumento ad Antonio Rosmini eretto nei giardini pubblici di Milano dai suoi molti estimatori a fine Ottocento

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Massime di Perfezione Cristiana
Maxims of Christian perfection
Delle Cinque Piaghe della Santa Chiesa
Five Wounds of the Holy Church
Vita ed opere di Antonio Rosmini
Life of Antonio Rosmini
Rosmini Six Maxim
vita di Rosmini con immagini
The Cell