Saint Joseph Pignatelli

Saint Joseph PignatelliAlso known as

  • Giuseppe Maria Pignatelli
  • José Pignatelli Moncayo



His mother was Spanish, his father an Italian noble. An orphan at age 9, he became a resident student at the Jesuit college in Zaragoza. Joined the Jesuits in 1753 at Taragona at age 16, along with his brother. Developed tuberculosis, which weakened and haunted him the rest of his life. Ordained in 1763 at age 25. Teacher at Manresa, Bilboa, and Zaragoza. Ministered to men on death row.

Expelled with other Jesuits on 3 April 1767 by order of King Charles III. Being a member of the nobility, Joseph had a chance to stay, but he left with his exiled brothers. On the road they found that the Jesuits were being expelled from all countries except Prussia and Russia. Joseph stubbornly kept together a remnant of the order, and these would the restoration of the Jesuits three years after Joseph’s death. Led and inspired the Jesuits during the 41 years of the Suppression of the Society. Considered the link between the old Jesuits, suppressed in 1773, and the new Jesuits, restored in 1814.

Groups of Jesuits reformed into societies such as The Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in France and The Society of the Faith of Jesus in Italy. The Jesuits survived in Russia, and though he lived in Italy, Joseph associated himself with them. In 1775, Pope Pius VI gave permission for Jesuits from other countries to rejoin the Jesuits in Russia, and in 1799 approved the opening of a novitiate in Colorno, Italy, making Joseph the Master of Novices. In 1801 King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia reinstated the Jesuits in his kingdom, and in 1815 he joined them himself.

In 1800 Pope Pius VII determined to completely restore the Society, but was unable until the fall of Napoleon. Despite their being virtually nothing left of the Society‘s resources, requests for the restored Jesuits to start schools poured in from every direction. Within a year the Society had as many members and as many foundations as the old Society had had in 1555.






MLA Citation

  • “Saint Joseph Pignatelli“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2020. Web. 22 September 2021. <>