Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Fathers of Charity, or Rosminians

Fathers of Charity, or RosminiansArticle

Active. Under Simple Vows. Founded 1828. Motto: Legis plenitudo caritas.

The Institute of Charity was founded by Antonio Rosmini – Serbati, the well – known philosopher, who was born at Roveredo, in South Tyrol, in 1797. After his school-days were over he went to Padua to study philosophy and theology at the university there. In 1821 he was ordained priest, and passed the first five years of his priesthood in his own country, dividing his time between the study of the highest philosophical and theological problems and works of charity and priestly duties. But a little later he went to Dortiodossola, in Piedmont, where he set on foot the great work of his life – the foundation of the Institute of Charity, a Congregation of priests and Brothers who should give themselves up to preaching, the education of youth, and other charitable works.

This was in 1828, from which the foundation of the Institute of Charity dates. The desire of the founder was that the members of the Institute should undertake every work of charity of which they were capable, if called upon to do so, not confining themselves to any particular branch; hence the members of the Order occupy themselves in preaching, in giving missions, in holding retreats, in teaching, in foreign missions, in taking charge of prisons and hospitals, and also in literary work.

The Institute spread quickly in Italy; the first house was near Domodossola at Monte Calvario; in 1831 a new foundation was made at Trent, and in 1833 another house was opened at Verona. In 1835 the founder sent Father Gentili and two other Fathers, at the invitation of Bishop Baines, to Prior Park, near Bath. Father Gentili preached missions in our large towns most successfully until his death, which took place in Dublin in 1848.

In 1838 the Institute received the Papal approbation under Gregory XVI, who admired and loved the holy founder, and the following year the same Pope nominated Rosmini Superior-General for life.

The rule of the Institute, written by the founder, states that the one object of its foundation is the sanctification of the members.

Under the Superior-General are the Fathers Provincial; the Superior of each house is called the Rector, of the colleges the President.

The Brothers of the Order assist the Fathers in teaching, directing schools, and in other works of charity.

The Congregation consists of priests and Brothers. Some of the latter devote themselves to the domestic work of the houses.

The novitiate for the members lasts two years, at the close of which perpetual simple vows are taken. The habit is that usually worn by the secular clergy.

The Institute has (exclusive of the Sisters of Providence) ten houses in England and Wales: Ratcliffe College, near Leicester, Loughborough, Ely Place, London, two at Cardiff, one at Newport, Rugby, and Wadhurst; at Market Weighton a Catholic Reformatory School, and a house at Bexhill-on-Sea.

The feminine branch of this Order is known as the Sisters of Providence of the Institute of Charity. The mother-house is at Borgomanero, in Italy. A foundation was made in England in 1843, and there are now seven houses here. The Sisterhood is under obedience to the Superior- General of the whole Institute. The headquarters in England are at Loughborough, to which all the other houses are in subjection.

The Institute has three houses in America: at Galesburg, Illinois.

There are three houses of the Order in Ireland – namely, a Novitiate House at Omeath, in the Archdiocese of Armagh; an Industrial School at Clonmel, in the Diocese of Waterford; and another Industrial School at Upton, in the Diocese of Cork.

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “Fathers of Charity, or Rosminians”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 November 2018. Web. 21 April 2021. <>