The Capuchins. Documentary and Narrative Sources of the First Century (1525-1619). Second Edition; edited by Vincenzo Criscuolo, Rome 2020.
In a few years, the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor will encounter some important dates with regards to their history. As is known, a new Franciscan family broke forth in the months of January-February 1525 when Matteo da Bascio attempted a reform; his work was legitimized with a brief of the Apostolic Penitentiary of 18 May 1526 and then officially approved by the Apostolic See with the papal bull Religionis zelus, addressed to the brothers Ludovico and Raffaele da Fossombrone and promulgated by Clement VII on 3 July 1528. In 2025, therefore, the Order will have the opportunity to remember the fifth centenary of his birth and three years later, in 2028 will solemnize the fifth centenary of his pontifical approval. These will be historically significant events, which appropriately should be met with meticulous preparation.
This volume, whose first edition - published in 1994 - is long since sold out, was happily defined by the General Minister Emeritus Flavio Roberto Carraro as "a small means of grace". It can contribute appropriately to the preparation of these events. Following numerous requests, it was deemed necessary to prepare this second edition, which basically follows the same content as the first, eliminating, of course, inaccuracies and typos and respecting the same elegant and manageable graphic design. Thus, it is intended to bring to common knowledge the documentary and narrative sources of the history of the Capuchin Order in the first century of its existence, bringing out its particular spirituality and the charisma of absolute fidelity to the Franciscan ideal, which is embodied in the various evolutionary paths of history, of the Church, of the world and in diversified geographical areas.
As far as the content is concerned, a concise historical picture of the first century of the Order is presented, followed by juridical-legislative sources, such as the pontifical documentation, the ordinations of Albacina and the constitutions of Rome-Saint Euphemia, with some written defenses and with the first circular letters of the superiors general. A series of texts from the first accounts follows, then specifically dealing with the ministry of Capuchin preaching, charitable assistance to the poor and sick and missionary activity. Finally, ample space is dedicated to Capuchin sainthood in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the expansion of the Order in Europe, with a last section reserved for the founding and contemplative activity of the Capuchin sisters.
From Flavio Roberto Carraro's address to his friars, the concluding words of his presentation of the first edition remain valid also for this second edition: “Now the volume is in our hands and it is up to each of us to make sure that even this little means of grace bears its fruit. Formation, in its initial and permanent stages, constitutes the occasion on which the Superiors and Formators can animate the brothers at the meeting with these texts which gush forth with the pure and strong freshness of our spirituality, a sure path in the path of perfect Charity ".
The Capuchins. Documentary and Narrative Sources of the First Century (1525-1619). Second Edition; edited by Vincenzo Criscuolo, Rome 2020. 18 cm, 1356 p., Ill. (€ 35.00) ISBN 978-88-99702-17-5 http://www.istcap.org/component/k2/i-Cappuccini.html