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49. TO FATHER FULVIO ANDROZZI
|On the Exercises as an
Efficacious Means of Helping Souls
Rome, July 18, 1556
summary | text
of letter | footnotes
Fulvio Androzzi,1 a Jesuit for less than a year, was
carrying on an apostolate in Meldola, in the region of Emilia. He wrote two
letters to Ignatius, which have not been preserved, informing him of the work
he was doing; he was so busy, in fact, that he found that he had not
sufficient time to prepare his sermons and asks Ignatius for direction.
Through Polanco, Ignatius responds sending him various norms to be used in his
apostolate. But Ignatius emphasizes that the most efficacious means of helping
souls would be to give them the Spiritual Exercises. The first week for
everyone, while the full four weeks only for a select few. He then adds that
when there are many tasks to be done, one has to make a prudent selection to
see which tasks take precedence over others. The letter was written in Italian
The peace of Christ.
We have two letters from your reverence, one dated the
twentieth of last month, and the other dated the fourth of this month. We
rejoice in our Lord on the occasions which His goodness allows you to serve
Him by helping and consoling souls, not only those of our benefactors but of
their families and the people of their regions, and because of the health and
peace of mind that He bestows on you. However, if little time is left for you
to prepare your sermons, Christ our Lord will supply that defect. But
throughout the day things might be so arranged as to give you more time, if
more time is necessary, for one thing rather than for another. The good
disposition and devotion of your patrons will be a great help to you in
setting to order what should be better arranged....
Your reverence knows that there is one outstanding means
among those which of their nature are helpful to men. I mean the Exercises. I
remind you, therefore, that you should make use of this weapon, which is such
a familiar part of the Society. The first week could be given to many people,
as well as some methods of prayer. But to give them exactly as they are, one
should have retreatants capable and suitable for helping others after they
themselves have been helped. Where this is not the case, they should not go
beyond the first week. Your reverence should look about to see whether you can
find some good prospects for the Lord's service, for whom there is no better
way than the one I have indicated. The frequent reception of the sacraments is
usually of much help to this end.
If you are very busy, you should make a choice and employ
yourself in the more important occupations where there is greater service of
God, greater spiritual advantage for the neighbor, and the more general or
perfect good. Keeping a little time to put order in yourself and your
activities will be of considerable help to you in this respect....
With regard to your reverence's personal experiences, which
you say are the cause of some pain and sadness, I hope that you will daily
grow freer of them by God's grace, since all such things, and even the greater
pains of our human nature, can be cured by greater enlightenment and an
increase of charity. I hope that your reverence will find such a master in the
Holy Spirit, who will make it less necessary on our part to multiply advice.
I am enclosing a letter from Ortensio,2 and if you wish I
will send you other letters which were sent us from Loreto. I understand that
Curzio3 is advancing with great strides along the way of virtue and
edification. Master Giovanni Filippo4 will write you about other matters.
May God grant us all His grace always to know and to do His
From Rome, July 18, 1556.
||Androzzi was born in 1524 in Montecchio, in Macerata,
and was a canon at Loreto when the Society established a house in that
city (1554). He came to know Diego Laínez, made the Exercises under
his direction, and then entered the Society in Rome in November 1555.
Shortly thereafter he went to work in the province of Emilia. He died
in Ferrara on August 27, 1575.
||Ortensio was Fulvio Androzzi’s brother. He was born
in 1528, and became a Jesuit in Rome in March 1556, and was in Rome
when Polanco was writing to Fulvio. He died in Rome on January 24,
||Curzio was the youngest of the three Androzzi brothers
who became Jesuits. He was born in 1536 and entered the Society in
Loreto in April 1556, and was a novice at the time this letter was
written. Curzio died in Brescia on June 13, 1584.
Giovanni Filippo Vito was Polanco’s
assistant. He was born in Messina in 1531, and became a Jesuit in
February 1551. He came to Rome to study, and in April 1554 began
working with Polanco. He was ordained the following year and died in
Rome on April 8, 1558.