Capuchins
in Sardinia and Corsica

Capuchins' Friary
(1591)
in Cagliari
94, Viale Sant'Ignazio da Laconi

SARDINIA - More than four centuries have passed, since the Capuchins' arrival in Sardinia: they actually came to the island in 1591, when the Order had already developed all over in Italy. Papal Authority was granted to the Order in 1528. Led by Father Zeffirino da Bergamo, a small group of Friars settled in Sardinia (in Cagliari and Sassari) and were welcomed warmly everywhere. The "Beautiful and Holy Reformation" was progressively expanding everywhere: houses were opened in: Sassari (1591), Cagliari (1591), Ozieri (SS) (1592), Iglesias (CA) (1596), Sanluri (CA) (1608), Oristano (1608), Bosa (NU)(1608), Nulvi (SS) (1608). A hundred years later the seed has become a tree, which extends its branches almost everywhere on the island. The Friars multiplied, making their mark on Sardinian History. They were present not only in the towns but also in the agricultural and pastoral centres. You can see that the Capuchins shared the Sardinian people's pains, joys, and achievements. The Friars were received warmly by the people in their villages and were given hospitality and were taken care of. They were known as the Friars of the people, because they were always close to the people. As the number of Friars grew, there was a need to set up a more formal structure. Seventeen years after their arrival in Sardinia, Sardinia was made a Capuchin Province ( 1608). Ninety years later there were two distinct Provinces, Cagliari and Sassari (1697). In Sardinia, as everywhere in Italy, everything soon changed, because of the suppression of Religious Orders decreed by the Civil Authorities. There was a long period of suffering for the Church: Friars were forced to leave their Friaries and go elsewhere. Supported by Friars from other Provinces in Italy (such as Genova, Lucca and Rome), the Sardinian Capuchins managed to overcome that difficult period of "reconstruction", until finally they sat their "acknowledgement" of their autonomy (1972).


In the photos (fom the left to right): Brother Giacomo da Decimoputzu, Brother Nicolò da S.Vero Milis, Brother Paolo da Cuglieri, St.Ignazio da Laconi and Brother Nicola da Gesturi.

Among the Capuchins who distinguished themselves in Sanctity during the last four centuries we remember: Brother Giacomo da Decimoputzu (XVII century), Brother Paolo da Cuglieri ( 1650-1726), St.Ignazio da Laconi (1701-1781), Brother Nicolò da S.Vero Milis ( 1631-1781), and Brother Nicola da Gesturi (1882-1958).
Among the eminent scholars were Father Giorgio Aleo ( 1637-1672), an Historian; Brother Antonio Maria da Esterzili ( XVII century), a Playwrigt. Both within and outside the Order these Capuchins had important responsabilities: Father Salvatore Saba da Ozieri ( 1863), First General Minister of our Order and later Archbishop and Papal Nuncio in India; Father Serafino Carchero da Cuglieri ( 1847), founder and First Bishop of the Diocese of Ogliastra, later Bishop of Ozieri; and Father Luigi Maria Agus da Ghilarza (1816-1877), vice-postulator of Beatification of Brother Ignazio da Laconi and Reorganiser of the Capuchin Order in Sardinia after the period of suppression.
Even though there are not as many Sardinian Capuchin Friars as there were in the past, we still have 9 friaries in Sardinia ( Cagliari, Sanluri (CA), Iglesias (CA), Laconi (NU), Oristano, Sassari, Mores (SS), Sorso(SS), Lanusei (NU) and we devote ourselves to working in:
Parishes, Hospitals, Prisons, Sanctuaries, School, Poor's Assistance, Missions and Massmedia.



Bastia ( Corsica) - St. Antoine Friary


Corsica - The Capuchins arrived in Corsica fifty years later than in Sardinia. Our Friary in Bastia (the only one still open) was built in 1540. This was the first Friary outside the Italian mainland. It was founded by Father Mariano da Nebbio.
In the space of a few years 5 other Friaries were founded: Belgodere (1543), Luri (1548), S:Pietro di Tenda (1552), Vescovato (1554) and Pizzo-Brando (1558).
A rapid and inexorable increase was due to a lot of vocations. This led to the building of other Friaries (Santa Reparata, Olmeta, Cagnano-Oveglia, Calvi, Speloncato, Piedicorte di Gaggio, Ersa, Ajaccio, Corte, S.Martino di Lota, Linguizzetta di Verde, Prunelli di Fiumorbo e Olmeto).
In 1608 the Corsica Province had more than 52 Friars and in 1625, 133 Friars; in 1650, 164 Friars; in 1717, 300 Friars.
Even in Corsica the Capuchins devoted themselves to preaching in Parishes, to the Religious Education of children in villages, to helping the poor. Many Missionaries went abroad to work as Missionaries to Foreign Lands.
After the great expansion in the XVII century there was the difficult period in the XVIII century during the French Revolution. Even in Corsica there was the Suppression of Religious Orders, the expulsion of Friars, the closure of the Friaries and the confiscation of Church Property. This continued until 1903. Things did not improve until after the First World War . Since 1984, there has only been one Capuchin Friary in Corsica.
The Friary in Bastia is kept open by Sardinian Capuchin Friary.





For information contact
P. MARCO TARCISIO MASCIA

markus@mbox.vol.it