Franciscan Observant preacher and theologian; b. Milan, June 6, 1548; d. Asti, May 31, 1594. He was born of the noble Panigarola family and baptized Jerome. He began his studies at Pavia in 1561 and continued them later at Bologna. He led a very dissipated life, but was suddenly converted and entered the Friars Minor Observant in Florence on May 15, 1567. There he took the name Francesco to distinguish himself from an uncle Jerome, a member of the same province. He made his regular ecclesiastical studies at Padua and Pisa. It was said of him that he became as devout in religion as he had been dissipated in the world.
After his ordination, he began to preach in the large cities of Italy and gained great renown. St. Pius V was so impressed by his eloquence that he sent him to Paris for two years to study the Fathers.
In 1579 Panigarola refused the generalate of his order, but was elected a general definitor and was appointed visitator for all the Italian provinces. In 1583 he was commissioned by St. Charles Borromeo to preach against Lutheranism and Calvinism, which were gaining a foothold in the Tyrol. He became celebrated as a controversialist and is credited with saving the Rhaetian provinces from the Reformation. His sermons on Calvinism, Lettioni sopra dogmi dette calviniche (Milan 1582), were translated into several languages and were many times reprinted.
In 1586 Sixtus V named him bishop of Grisopolis and the next year transferred him to Asti, where Calvinism was active. In 1587 he was sent by Sixtus V as part of a diplomatic mission to Paris; he did not return to his diocese until 1590. In Asti he spent his few remaining years in energetic action, especially preaching and combatting the doctrines of the Reformation.
Panigarola's published works number 33, and there are at least as many in manuscript form. Most of his writings are in the field of sacred eloquence, and include especially his philosophical and theological polemics against the teachings of Luther and Calvin. Notable among his printed works are Rhetorica ecclesiastica (Cologne 1605) and Conciones 100 supra Christi passionem coram D. Carlo Borromeo recitatae (Venice 1585).
Bibliography: a. teetaert, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 11.2:1850–53. o. bonmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 8:22. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 1903–13) 3:249.
[p. f. mulhern]