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Capecelatro, Alfonso


Cardinal, author; b. Marseilles, Feb. 5, 1824; d. Capua, Italy, Nov. 14, 1912. He was born in France, whence his father Francesco, Duke of Castelpagano, had gone into exile to escape the tyranny of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. In 1830, the family returned to Italy, residing at S. Paolo Belsito, Province of Nola. In 1840 Alfonso entered the oratorians in Naples. Shortly after ordination (1847), he was chosen pastor of St. Philip Neri parish in Naples, devoting himself to studies and religious duties. He was of great service to the Oratorians when he succeeded in having the church of the Girolomini, with its cloisters and rich library, declared a national monument with all the privileges and guarantees appertaining thereto. Leo XIII appointed him assistant librarian of the Vatican Library (1879). He became archbishop of Capua (1880), cardinal (1885), and prefect of the Vatican Library (1899). His close relations with the royal court, and his support of tosti may account for his

not receiving the See of Naples in 1898. Capecelatro's vast literary production includes several biographies distinguished for their historical and scholarly qualities, wealth of information, and classical style. These qualities are especially evident in his Storia di S. Caterina da Siena (1856). He also published Newman e la religione cattolica in Inghilterra (1859); several well-known prayer books; a life of Christ; biographies of SS. Peter Damian, Alphonsus Liguori, and Philip Neri. The last work has appeared in English. Capecelatro also published his autobiography I miei venticinque anni di episcopato (1905). His Carteggio contains the correspondence he exchanged with outstanding men of the period.

[h. r. marraro]

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