Civezza, Marcellino da

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Franciscan missiologist and historian of the 19th century; b. Civezza, Italy, May 29, 1822; d. Leghorn, 1906. Although his family name was Ranise, he commonly used the name of his native Ligurian village. He entered the Franciscan Order in 1831 and was ordained in 1845. Very early, Civezza manifested a gift for research and writing. In 1856 the general of the Franciscan Order, Bernardino de Montefranco, commanded Civezza to write a history of the Franciscan missions. The first five volumes, with the title Storia universale delle missioni francescane, appeared in rapid order between 1857 and 1861. Then the series lagged. In 1875 the then general of the Franciscan Order, Bernardino de Portogruaro, not only insisted that Civezza complete his history of the missions but also made it possible for him to spend several years visiting the main libraries and archives of Europe and arranged to have friars in America, especially Ubaldo Pandolfi, send him needed documents and maps. Volume six was published in 1881 and the last volume, nine, in 1895. In all, Civezza published more than 100 works besides innumerable magazine articles. Most of these are of ephemeral value, but his source studies on the life of St. Francis were epoch-making, while Saggio di bibliografia geografica, storica, etnografica sanfrancescana (Prato 1879), Il romano pontificato nella storia d'Italia (3 v., Florence, 188687), and his studies on the life of Dante have permanent value. Most important is his history of the Franciscan missions from the time of St. Francis, a survey of magnificent proportions, even though it has occasional weaknesses because preliminary monographic studies were not available.

Bibliography: r. pratesi, "Il P. Marcellino da Civezza, O.F. M.: Vita e scritti," Archivum Franciscanum historicum 43(1950) 243334.

[l. g. canedo]