Lanteri, Pio Brunone

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Founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary; b. Cuneo, Italy, May 12, 1759; d. Pinerolo (Torino), Aug. 5, 1830. After leaving the Carthusians because of ill health, he studied for the secular priesthood and was ordained, and soon after he received the laureate in theology at the University of Turin (1782). In order to devote himself entirely to apostolic and charitable activities in Turin, he refused all ecclesiastical benefices and offices. He was especially active in the Amicizia Cristiana, an association founded by Nikolaus von Diessbach, SJ, to utilize the press and secret gatherings for the benefit of the Church, much as the Freemasons were using them against the Church. Lanteri was very successful as a spiritual guide to university students, seminarians, young soldiers, and workers. He was a stanch supporter of pius vii during the pope's years of imprisonment by Napoleon I; as a result he was exiled from Turin (181114). Together with Giovanni Reinaudi, he founded a religious congregation of priests, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary (1815), which received the Holy See's approval (1826) and which numbered 200 members in 1963. Lanteri established in Turin (1817) the Amicizia Cattolica to counteract the Protestant biblical societies of London by distributing Catholic devotional literature. Soon this organization absorbed all the functions of the Amicizia Cristiana but abandoned its secrecy. It was the prototype for lay Catholic organizations in Italy. Lanteri also promoted the education and formation of the clergy, preached retreats in the Ignatian method, and spread the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori. Save for a few devotional works that appeared in print, Lanteri's writings remain in manuscript form. The decree introducing his beatification cause in Rome was issued in 1952.

Bibliography: t. piatti, Un precursore dell'Azione Cattolica: Il servo di Dio P. B. Lanteri (2d ed. Turin 1934). i. felici, Una bandiera mai ripiegata. P. B. Lanteri, fondatore dei PP. Oblati, precursore dell'Azione Cattolica (Pinerolo 1950). l. cristiani, Un Prêtre redouté de Napoléon: P. B. Lanteri (Nice 1957). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 44 (1952) 883887.

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