Castellino da Castelli

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Italian priest-apostle of religious instruction; b. Menaggio (Diocese of Como), c. 1476; d. Milan, Sept. 21, 1566. In 1536 he founded the first school in Milan for instructing children in Christian doctrine. Its name, Compagnia della reformatione in carità, aroused suspicion and was changed in 1546 to Compagnia dei servi de' puttini in carità. In the same year the Council of Trent approved the Compagnia and enriched its work with an indulgence of seven years. At first Castellino had difficulty gaining the support of diocesan authority, but when Niccolò Ormaneto, vicar-general appointed by St. Charles borromeo (the temporarily absent archbishop of Milan), arrived in 1564, he found 15 such schools; within two years their number doubled, and soon they were diffused throughout northern Italy. When Borromeo returned to Milan in 1566, he established in his diocese the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in order that children might be carefully and systematically instructed. His fame has eclipsed that of Castellino, who was his precursor in this work and therefore an important though little-known figure in the Counter Reformation.

Bibliography: a. tamborini, La Compagnia e le scuole della dottrina cristiana (Milan 1939).

[m. s. conlan]

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Castellino da Castelli

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