A penitential order probably dating from the early 12th century. After suppressing a revolt in Lombardy, Emperor Henry II took a number of nobles to Germany as captives. These devoted themselves to works of charity and mortification, and adopted a penitential robe. They were called Barrettini from their headdress. Later allowed to return to Italy, they introduced improved German methods of woolen manufacture there. In 1134 their first monastery was founded at Milan; some years later they adopted the Rule of Saint Benedict. They became prominent in every community in which they were established. Saint Charles Borromeo, appointed to correct serious abuses which had developed within the order, was murderously attacked by a member of a minority group opposing reform, and the society was suppressed in 1571. The wives of the first Humiliati formed a community under Clara Blassoni, and were joined by a number of followers. They engaged in the care of lepers, and were sometimes called Hospitallers of the Observance. Though the suppression of the male branch of the order was a serious misfortune to the congregation, some houses continued their existence and are still found in Italy.

MLA Citation

  • “Humiliati”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 November 2010. Web. 23 April 2021. <>