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Beginnings

he Institute of the Religious Teachers Filippini was founded by Lucy Filippini and Mark Anthony Barbarigo, who had much in common - both were of noble families; both were interested not only in education, but also in the social apostolate. Mark Anthony Barbarigo lived during a period of cultural decadence, a period when false doctrines and practices, such as Jansenism and Quietism, flourished. The social, religious, and moral conditions were extremely sad. Chief among the causes for these conditions were the paganizing influence of the Italian Renaissance; the lack of necessary formation for the clergy; the scandalous conduct of the ruling princely families; the ignorance and worldliness of priests and religious. Poverty was foremost among the many cultural and socio-economic problems existing in Italy in 1692. This was a heritage from an italy dominated and divided, having meager resources. It was a period of regression, of epidemics, of wars and calamities. A new era was rushing in, overcoming the old, and a robust Christian-catholic culture would come forth and face the illuministic innovations of both religious and social life.   

 

With ecumenical and prophetic discernment, Cardinal Barbarigo and Lucy Filippini looked ahead to fulfilling their generous, ardent and profound mission of faith and charity. The schools they founded were intended to promote the dignity of womanhood and help influence a healthy family life. 

Poverty was foremost among the many cultural and socio-economic problems existing in Italy in 1692. This was a heritage from an italy dominated and divided, having meager resources. It was a period of regression, of epidemics, of wars and calamities. A new era was rushing in, overcoming the old, and a robust Christian-catholic culture would come forth and face the illuministic innovations of both religious and social life. With ecumenical and prophetic discernment, Cardinal Barbarigo and Lucy Filippini looked ahead to fulfilling their generous, ardent and profound mission of faith and charity. The schools they founded were intended to promote the dignity of womanhood and help influence a healthy family life.   

 

Cardinal Barbarigo's vision was superior to that of his contemporaries. He saw the ever-growing need for Catholic education and knew that women would be the instrument to transmit culture and tradition. He placed Lucy in charge of the education of young women. Besides teaching them Christian doctrine, she embarked on a revolutionary Innovation - reading and writing for the poor! She impressed her own style and methodology on the schools and, with the Cardinal, prepared the first nucleus of Teachers. To complement the work of the schools, they conducted classes of conferences for women in order to strengthen their faith, to encourage them to pray, to meditate, and to perform good works. Teachers were also prepared to minister to the needs of the poor and the sick, bringing them physical relief and spiritual strength. The social apostolate was an extension of the classroom. History records the dynamic response a rebirth of Christian living and value-centered education. Among the characteristics of the Catholic Church in the United States in the twentieth century have been the extraordinary development of the Catholic school system and the increasing place of prominence of the Italian-American community in American Catholic life. In examining the roots and causes of this growth, one cannot ignore the work of education begun by Lucy Filippini under the guidance of Cardinal Barbarigo in Montefiascone, a small, seventeenth century town in Italy. Two hundred years later, Ninetta Ionata, under the direction of Archbishop Walsh, was responsible for much of the impressive contribution of Italian-American Catholics to the life of the Church in New Jersey.   

 

Through their role of evangelization, the zealous efforts of the Religious Teachers Filippini helped preserve Catholic values among the Italian immigrants. This website is dedicated to the founders of the Religious Teachers Filippini. In schools throughout the world, one still finds their methods at the basis of education - that same imprint of goodness, meekness, fervor, and relationship to the times. They are accomplishments that will live on through a spiritual dimension in the mystical Body of the Church.




 







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