Scupoli, Lorenzo

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Theatine spiritual writer (name in the world, Francesco); b. Otranto, Italy, c. 1530; d. Naples, Nov. 28, 1610. Nothing is known of his early life. In 1569, when he was about 40, Scupoli entered the Theatines at the convent of S. Paolo Maggiore in Naples. There he made his novitiate under St. Andrew avellino. He pronounced his solemn vows in 1571 and was ordained in Piacenza at Christmastide 1577. In 1578 he began his ministry at Milan, whence he was transferred to Genoa and, in 1588, to Venice. From 1589 to 1591, he was at Padua, where it is said he met Francis de Sales, then a student at the university. In 1585, the general chapter of the Theatines ordered that Scupoli be reduced to the lay state, for some reason that has never been revealed. He himself offered no defense, and he spent his remaining 25 years in retirement in Theutine houses.

Scupoli is generally credited with the authorship of the Spiritual Combat, although it has, at times, been ascribed, in whole or in part, to other authors. The work first appeared anonymously in 1589, the year the young Francis de Sales received a copy of it from a Theatine in Padua. The first edition to bear Scupoli's name was published in Bologna in 1610, the year of his death. It is agreed by historians that the basic chapters, at least, were produced by Scupoli and may have been added to by others. Many editions of the book have been published, and it has been translated into all the modern languages. It is considered to be a spiritual work of great value.

Other works are ascribed to Scupoli, notably Del Modo di consolare ed aiutare gli infermi a ben morire and Il modo di recitare la Corona della Madonna. The Della pace interiore, or Sentiero del Paradiso, and Dolori mentali de Cristo, long considered Scupoli's work and sometimes published with the Spiritual Combat, are now thought the writings of others.

Bibliography: h. brÉmond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment réligieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu'a nos jours 7:5257. p. pourrat, Christian Spirituality, v.3 (New York 1927; repr. Westminster, Md. 1953). francesco andreu, The Catholic Encyclopedia 11:203204.

[p. mulhern]