Carmelite Chronicles
The Mantuan Congregation

October 17, 2019 |

In the first decade of the 15th century, a movement of reform originated in the Tuscan province. Originator of the reform was Jacobo di Alberto, prior of the convent of Le Selve near Florence, first mentioned as “a house of observance” at the provincial chapter of 1413, which confirmed its special constitutions. Jacobo’s successor was Bl. Angelus Mazzinghi (d. 1438), who was also the first to make profession in the reform. Mantua and Geronde in Switzerland were added to the observance, when the Breton, Thomas Connecte, visited Italy with his followers, who likewise joined the reform.

In 1442, Eugene IV constituted these three convents a Congregation under the immediate jurisdiction of the prior general, whose powers, for that matter, were strictly limited.

The reform stressed silence and cloister and the common life. The mitigation of Eugene IV regarding abstinence was not accepted. The Mantuan friars wore a habit of rough undyed wool. In the Lower German province, John Ubach was not alone in renouncing all privileges for life (1435). The prior of Enghien, John Inguen, did the same, “from a motive of holy reformation.”

From The Mirror of Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

Fr. Joachim Smet O.Carm.
Fr. Joachim Smet, O.Carm. (1915-2011) was one of the leading historians of the Carmelite Order. In addition to being a founding member and President of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome and editor of Carmelus, a journal of Carmelite Studies, Fr. Joachim was a gifted writer. he is well-known for his four-volume work The Carmelites and his Life of Saint Peter Thomas. Among his other works: Familiar Matter of Today-Poems (2007), The Mirror of Carmel: A Brief History of the Carmelite Order, (2011), various publications on Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Liturgy, Carmelite Libraries of Spain and Portugal and the Carmelites of Medieval England.
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