Balthasar of St. Catherine of Siena

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Discalced carmelite and mystical writer; b. Bologna, Aug. 24, 1597; d. Bologna, Aug. 23, 1673. He was a descendant of Niccolò Machiavelli. Balthasar was attracted to the Teresian Reform while taking part in the celebrations of St. teresa's beatification. He took the habit at the novitiate of La Scala in Rome (Nov. 21, 1614), where he was later professed (Nov. 11, 1615). After his ordination, he was appointed professor at the Seminary for the Missions, then at St. Paul of the Quirinale. He filled various positions of administrative responsibility in his order: provincial, general definitor, procurator general.

The most important of his writings include a pastoral letter to the religious of his own Lombardy province; the Italian translation of the work of Father Joseph of Jesus Mary (Quiroga), Subida del Alma a Dios (Rome 1664); his commentary on the Mansions of St. Teresa, titled Splendori Riflessi di Gloria Celeste (Bologna 167194), is representative of the Carmelite school (see Gabriel, bibliography). The work is important because he harmonized the teaching of St. Teresa, which prevailed in the Teresian carmel of the Italian congregation, with that of St. john of the cross, then less known than St. Teresa in Italy. If these works have not been translated into other languages, it is primarily because the author's style is artificial and diffuse, after the fashion of his age. His interpretation of St. Teresa is, nevertheless, known among the representatives of the Teresian Carmelite school, and is often quoted.

Bibliography: graziano della croce, "Patrimonio espiritual de la Cong. de S. Elias," El Monte Carmelo 70 (1962) 228229, 243245. gabriel de sainte marie madeleine, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1.1:121017.

[o. rodriguez]