Life of Felix de Andreis. Chapter 02

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoFelix de AndreisLeave a Comment

Author: Joseph Rosati, C.M. · Year of first publication: 1900.

He is sent to Rome to teach Theology in May, 18o6.—His pious labors in that City until the year 1815.

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THE air of Placentia was very prejudicial to the health of Father De Andreis, who suffered frequently from very violent head­aches. His superiors, therefore, thought of removing him to another place, and sent him to the house of Monte Citorio in Rome, where, it was hoped, he would be able to remain longer than in any other, as several establishments of the Mission in Italy had been suppressed, and many more seemed about to meet with the same fate. He, therefore, went thither towards the end of March, in the year 1806, to the great joy of the Very Rev. Romuald Ansaloni, Visitor and local superior of Monte Citorio. This gentleman was well acquainted with the talents and virtue of Father De Andreis, not only by the favorable accounts which he received of him on all sides, but also be­cause the young priest had been, for many years, his disciple in the study of moral theology. Very soon, then, did the judicious superior employ him in the weighty duties of that large house, which, being de­prived of many of its subjects, stood in great need of help.

Before entering upon the manifold func­tions of his institute, Father De Andreis prepared for them by a retreat of some days ; he was intimately convinced that a priest cannot exercise the Apostolic ministry with profit to others, if he be not careful of his own sanctification. His spiritual retreat being concluded, he, at once, devoted him­self to the different missions, which were confided to him. We will here notice some of them ( although he gave them at different intervals,) and will then pass on to his other works. To use his own words, it ap­peared to him, when he was sent to instruct the poor of the country, that he was in his proper place, in his own sphere. Every one admired his efforts to extirpate vice and make known unto all, the truths and doctrine of Jesus Christ. Never did he dread the arduous labor and fatigue of such an under­taking ; but, making small account of him­self and his own ease, he was always ready to alleviate the burden of his companions. During the summer of 1806, he assisted in the missions of Ceccano, Giuliano di Fer­rentino, Sannino, Monte Fertino and Valmonte. It was rumored, during this last, that certain facts, of a miraculous nature, had transpired. However, the bishop of Segni, in whose diocese Valmonte is situa­ted, having been questioned on the subject, gave the following reply :—

“Although I have well considered the matter in question, I cannot call to mind any wonderful act performed by Father De Andreis during the mission which he gave at Valmonte in 1806. Nevertheless, I very well remember his spotless life, which marked him out among all others ; he was cherished by the people, and I, admiring his exalted virtues, formed a high opinion of him.

“PETER ANTHONY, bishop of Segni.”

In the autumn of 1868, he returned to this same diocese, and gave many other missions in that of Amelia. Wherever he went, he gave himself no rest, nor could he content his zeal until all had profited by the word of God.

During the Lent of i8io, and of the fol­lowing years, until 1815, he was constantly employed in laboring in the country, and especially in the suburbs of Rome, where, certainly, there was ample room for the exercise of his zeal in favor of the. poor shepherds, who sojourn there at that season of the year.

His last missions in Italy were those that he gave during the Lent of 1814 at Vesco­vera, in the diocese of Tivoli, with Fathers Giovannoni and Vespasiani, from Cori to Valle, and subsequently from Cod to Monte, which last he made in company with Father Colucci and Father Rosati. In these missions, he endured much fatigue, and had to labor hard to pacify the in­habitants, who, at that period, were divided by animosities and contentions of various kinds. The duty of addressing the clergy, (when their number was considerable,) was always entrusted to Father De Andreis, and he discharged it with admirable skill and discretion ; for, while he ever manifested towards their person, the greatest respect, he spoke to them with such unction, that they would eagerly endeavor to lead better lives. Conversing with some priests, dur­ing the mission at Cori, he showed them, by the most convincing arguments, that their own salvation, no less than that of the flock confided to their care, depended upon the right administration of the sacra­ment of penance, and that this could not exist where uniformity, which is so essen­tial to it, was wanting both in doctrine and practice. “A confessor,” said he, “who is too indulgent, though he may draw many penitents, loads his own conscience with the sins of others, because his tolerance is the cause that so many grievous disorders, blasphemies, infamous connections, pro­fanation of festivals, immodesty in women, negligence of parents towards their children, discords, public and private enmities, and other enormous crimes of long standing, continue to exist in towns and villages. If a sinner, on presenting himself at the tribu­nal of penance, were to find there a confes­sor whose firmness would not absolve him, because he had already deceived many other priests by his false promises, he would address himself to another ; and, if the latter, equally firm, were to say to him : `Come back again, to give me a sincere proof of your conversion,’ the false penitent, having tried all the confessors of the place, and finding them all uniform in their con­duct towards him, would indeed, as the Blessed Leonard says, open his eyes to the state of his soul, conceive a horror for his sins, and feel the necessity of leading a new life. Venerable priests, the impiety of the people proceeds, therefore, in a great meas­ure, from ourselves ; and thus, according to the words of a pious and learned Cardinal of the Roman Church, ‘from too great facility in absolving, comes equal facility in sinning.’ Give me,’ said the great Pope Pius V., ‘good confessors, and I will show you the world reformed.’ What, then, shall we do, we ministers of the Lord? Let me, at least, hear your opinion, which I so much respect.” Then, after he had urged each one to make known his opinion, they all agreed that it was requisite to enter into a holy league, like that which the Blessed Leonard formed for the purpose of remedying the enormous disorders existing in a certain city belonging to the Papal States. Setting aside controversial ques­tions, on which even the most distinguished doctors are at variance, they determined on the observance of certain points extracted from the Roman Ritual and the admonitions of St. Charles Borromeo. All agreed to be firm with regard to these, without ever allowing themselves to be overcome by human respect, or the false promises of a penitent. These resolutions were written down, and a copy of them delivered to each of the confessors to keep as a rule of his conduct.1

Notwithstanding the ardent desire of Father De Andreis to labor in the country, he could undertake but few missions there, Father Ansoloni, his superior, having as­signed him other, and no less arduous duties. He had to teach theology, both to those of his congregation, and to the young clergymen of the college of the Propaganda, which, by order of Pope Pius VII., had been transferred to the house of Monte Citorio in 1802. In this new employment were discovered the vast treasures of sacred learning which he possessed. He was a strong champion of revealed truth, was well versed in all scholastic questions, accurately distinguishing the most weighty from those that are merely of secondary importance ; sustaining the former by invincible argu­ments, and refraining from any asperity in the discussion of the latter. He was an enemy to all novelties ; and, while he modestly followed the opinions which ap­peared to him the most probable, he always respected those authors who taught differ­ently. His ideas were clear, his explana­tions methodical, never confusing or over­burdening the minds of his auditors. Hence, it may be said with truth, that, as all, both little and great, go with delight to quench their thirst, each according to his need, at a limpid and wholesome stream, so all were instructed by the lessons of this excellent master ; the most elevated minds as well as those of a more ordinary stamp ; and, while the former were never wearied, the latter were not neglected.

“When Father De Andreis took the chair,” writes the Right Rev. Joseph Ro­sati, first bishop of St. Louis, “to give us lectures in theology, his disciples were astonished, I may almost say, thunderstruck, by the richness, ease, solidity, and perspi­cuity of his arguments. He never made use of the book, and yet, developed fully the entire doctrine on which he spoke ; quoting with accuracy, not only passages from different authors, but repeating, word for word, long texts from the Holy Script­ures and the Fathers, in corroboration of his assertions. And, besides texts from the author that he was explaining, he would bring in others, which served to confirm and elucidate them. I enjoyed the great privilege of studying, under him, in the house of Monte Citorio, the entire course of dogmatic theology; and, not even once, dur­ing the whole time, did I ever see him make use of a book, or any other writing, while he was giving his lecture, whether he was expounding a principle, or questioning us upon any difficulty. All his explanations were most clear ; and the very things which he added himself, in order to convey. more clearly the author’s meaning, were, of themselves, so beautiful and learned, that scarcely had we returned to our rooms, after class, than we hastened to put them in writ­ing, for fear that something might escape our memory. In this manner we filled entire sheets with useful and valuable knowledge, especially during these lectures which he gave on the Scriptures. But, what I prized, even more than all this, was, that, while he enlightened our minds, he inflamed our hearts, his words being as so many fiery darts that pierced the inmost depths of the soul ; so that, when we left the school, we could repeat with the two disciples who accompanied our Saviour to Emmaus : ‘Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis duns loqueretur nobis in via—Were not our hearts burning within us, as he was speaking to us in the ways.”

These words of Bishop Rosati are amply confirmed by the testimony of Rev. Joseph Martini, a former disciple and confident of Father De Andreis ; he also declares that whenever his teacher, either in, or out of the school, was heard to speak on the truths of religion, or the maxims of eternal salva­tion, he did it with so much warmth, that his countenance. which was naturally pale, perceptibly changed its color. And this ardor was greatly increased when he ad­dressed himself to the young students of the Propaganda, as if he longed to transmit to their hearts a heavenly fire that would make them fervent apostles for the infidel lands to which they were destined.

Besides the professorship of theology, Father De Andreis was entrusted with the retreats of the candidates for ordination, those for confessors, parish-priests and others, to whom the house of the Mission was always open, and thither they frequently resorted, in order to strengthen, or renew, the spirit of their vocation. To his share, always fell the most arduous and delicate part of these retreats, so that it seemed as if they could neither be undertaken, nor accomplished without him. And, although he was often called upon unexpectedly, he was always prepared, and, so ingeniously did he vary the form of his discourses, that, though the matter was, necessarily, always the same, what he said, seemed to be heard for the first time. This was a singular, and, we might almost say a marvellous gift, for many who had already made three or four retreats under his guidance, would come to listen to him without experiencing the least weariness, retire deeply touched by his words, and eager to hear him again. Not that any art lay concealed in his dis­courses ; on the contrary, he was all candor and sincerity; he never made use of fanciful expressions, bearing the stamp of mere human eloquence ; but, in the simplicity of his words, his reasoning was so persuasive and connected, that the luminous evidence it imparted to the intellect, dispelled any repugnance to receive the truth ; while it so deeply touched the heart, that it moved, at the will of the speaker, to hatred of sin, confidence in God, fear of the divine judg­ments, holy love of God, and always to a firm resolution of leading a truly sacerdotal life. Now, if it be asked of what means he made use, thus to conquer even the hardest hearts among his auditors, we can only reply that his words partook of the vehement ardor by which he was himself devoured, and his sentiments were as so many burning arrows, discharged by an able hand. With regard to this, we will here cite some par­ticular facts.

Monsignor Atanasio, pro-vicegerent in Rome, sent to the spiritual conferences of Monte Citorio, a priest of a regular order, who, at the beginning of the new French government, had swerved from the path of duty. While he was listening one morning to the conference, given by Father De An­dreis, on these words of our Lord — Ego sant veritas he was touched by such a special impulse of grace, that, in the sight of all, he could not refrain from manifest­ing signs of extraordinary compunction. Scarcely had he retired to his room than he gave way to excessive lamentations ; and, though the hour of the repast went by, he never ceased to weep, without showing the least desire to take any food. Father An­saleni was obliged to send Father De An­dreis to his room in order to console, and induce him to take some refreshment. But he was quieted only by the hope of hearing, in the next conference, an exposition of these other words of Jesus Christ, Ego sum vita. He heard it in fact, and continued, throughout the retreat, to show such un­mistakable marks of true conversion, that all were edified.

Similar emotions were evinced on another occasion, not by a few only, but by the whole assembly of priests and curates, dur­ing the course, and at the end, of one of the meditations. Towards evening, after hav­ing made, in the chapel, the customary ex­amination of conscience, all the missionaries were assembled in the refectory for slipper, when, to their great surprise, the priests, who were in retreat, did not make their ap­pearance ; after waiting some time, one be­longing to the house was dispatched to find out what was the matter. He entered the chapel and found them all absorbed in such profound silence and recollection, that they seemed transported out of themselves, and he was obliged to tell them that it was time to go to supper. Such occurrences as these, and the wonderful conversions that took place during the retreats given by Father De Andreis, were soon divulged throughout Rome. Notice was taken of them by the prelates and Cardinals of the Church, and his Eminence, Cardinal Vicar. Della Somaglia, wishing to ascertain for himself the truth of what was said, went one day to the house of the Mission, with­out disclosing his intention to any one. He arrived just when Father De Andreis was giving a conference to the priests assembled in the interior chapel. On the entrance of so great a personage, they all rose through respect, and, when he had taken his place, and they were reseated, Father De Andreis, without the least discomposure, resumed his discourse, addressing the Cardinal in these words : “Your Eminence, the subject of our conference is this,” (here lie named it,) “and the division has been made into two parts ; the first has been proved by authority, etc., we are now near the con­clusion, and I continue, therefore, by say­ing, etc.” The Cardinal Della Somaglia listened with great attention to this address, and remained to the end of the conference, which afforded him so much satisfaction, that he attended all the others until the con­clusion of the retreat. When it was over, he went to congratulate, in a friendly man­ner, the superior of the house ; telling him how much he admired the young mission­ary, not only for the solidity and beauty of his discourses, but still more for the piety and unction with which he spoke. And the worthy prelate, not satisfied with this, in the first audience that he had of Pius VII.: “Holy Father,” said he, “I have found out, lately, a treasure of science and piety in a priest of the Mission at Monte Citorio ; his name is Felix De Andreis, and he is yet quite young. I heard him speak, several times, on the dignity and duties of the priesthood, and he pleased me so much, that I seemed to hear a St. John Chrysostom or a St. Bernard.” Enraptured at these words, the sovereign pontiff immediately replied : “We must not lose sight of this young man, for it is with such as he, that we should fill the episcopal sees.”

The other cardinals and prelates who resorted to Monte Citorio to hear Father De Andreis, thought and spoke as the Cardinal Della Somaglia had done ; we must mention especially, among the number, the vice­gerent, Father Fenaia, who, better than any one else, could form a correct opinion about him. He had long experience as a missionary, and was well versed in such matters, being himself an excellent preacher of the gospel. It was not merely to the learned that Father De Andreis gave so much delight ; he was, at the same time, most acceptable to the simple and ignorant. Without discontinuing his theological lect­ures, he had frequent occasion to address discourses to tradesmen, merchants, in a word, to every description of persons, who ­were, all alike, moved to tears by his words. For a long time, he was entrusted with the conference which was given every Sunday to the clergymen who assembled at Monte Citorio, and he would go from that to the congregation of San Vitale, entirely com­posed of peasantry and common people ; to these, he preached in the morning of every festival day, and afterwards heard their confessions. He was also a member of the pious association of St. Panl, and was elected one of its twelve directors. Besides all this, he was frequently called upon to give retreats in monasteries, colleges, schools and other pious associations ; and, wishing to satisfy every one, had often to preach four times, in the same day, on very dis­similar subjects ; now on religious perfection ; then again, on the necessity of con­version. During the last years of his so­journ in Rome, or rather from 1810 till 1814, he preached regularly, every day, to­wards evening, for about three quarters of an hour, to an assembly, composed of per­sons of all ranks ; countrymen, merchants, servants, lawyers, priests, and even many distinguished individuals, both of the eccle­siastical and the secular order, who met at the appointed hour in a large hall near the entrance of Monte Citorio. He discharged each one of these different duties with the same grace and dignity, as if it were the only object of his care, never allowing his mind to be disturbed, nor doing things in a hurry, in order to have time to do a great many; he was not one of those officious persons who meddle with everything and wish to share in every good work, under pretence of seeking the general good, while they only spoil the greater part of what they undertake, or are overcome by the weight of it, not being able to accomplish anything solid or durable. Most assuredly, Father De Andreis did not resemble them, for, as he was gifted with a penetrating mind and mature judgment, he easily distinguished the promptings of charity from those of self-love. He was also careful to give to each affair the amount of attention it de­manded, and the ease with which he spoke in the pulpit seemed so natural to him, that he would blend, in the same sermon, the most sublime truths of religion with the simple words of the Catechism ; the most vehement language with the most gentle and pathetic expressions.

By bestowing upon him so many excellent qualities, it appeared as if God had expressly destined Father De Andreis to sustain faith and revive devotion in Rome, at the very time that both were greatly shaken, namely, during those unhappy days when the holy city was bitterly lamenting the loss of her supreme pontiff, when the sacred college was dispersed, and her temporal dominions abandoned to the tyranny of strangers, the errors of incredulity, and the disorders of her own children. In the proclamation issued in Rome by General Miollis, in pur­stfance of the order of Napoleon, in am, for the general dispersion of all religious orders, Father De Andreis was, of course, comprised ; and, being a native of Piedmont, he would have been obliged to withdraw from the capital, were it not that considera­tion was shown him on account of the col­lege of the Propaganda, whose students he taught. This, perhaps, was the only in­stitution which was allowed to subsist. As for Iather De Andreis, raising his eyes to Heaven, as he did in all human vicissitudes, he saw clearly, in his preservation, a special dispensation of Divine Mercy, who wished him to remain in Rome, solely, that he might oppose the torrent of iniquity, and become the refuge and comforter of the good, the despised, and the oppressed. Regarding it in this light, he strove to ful­fil the designs of Heaven, and devoted him­self to all the good works that were going on, seeking out others which lie knew might be beneficial, either to the spiritual or the temporal welfare of his neighbor.

Hence, led by his own choice, he fre­quently visited the prisons, consoling, with paternal affection, the unfortunate beings confined therein, often for political opinions only; they were, consequently, oppressed, but not criminal. He would give them retreats, and hear their confessions, with joyful alacrity, in order to render them patient and perfect Christians, It was also his delight, when he was free from his scholastic duties, to visit the sick of all kinds in the public hospitals, inducing many to make general confessions, who had never approached that sacrament during the whole course of their lives ; preparing others for their approaching passage to eternity, and comforting all, by the most touching and affectionate admonitions. During one of these visits, having met with a sick per­son, all covered with gangrened ulcers, and who was quite abandoned by the physicians, “Courage,” said he ; “trust in God, who is all powerful ; put upon your sore a piece of the cassock of our Holy Father the Pope, who is now enduring so much for our holy religion ; who knows ! perhaps, through his merits, God may vouchsafe to restore you to health.” A few days after, Father De Andreis having returned to the sick man’s bed, accompanied by Father Rosati, he found it empty; and, on making enquiries about him of those who were around, he was told that he had left the hospital, hav­ing been entirely cured. Whether this cure should be imputed to the merits of our Holy Father Pius VII., or to the prayers of the fervent missionary, it is not for us to decide ; we leave it to the judgment of others. The fact, wonderful as it is, cannot be denied, and it is mentioned in the papers of Bishop Rosati, who was a witness of it. When the servant of God had any time re­maining after these numerous occupations, he employed it in deploring the evils which, especially at that period, afflicted the entire Church, and, for that purpose, he would visit one of the Roman basilicas. What sorrow did he not experience on entering these churches, once crowded by members of the regular orders, and now completely deserted ! What bitter tears he shed over the profane abandonment of these holy places, how many and fervent were his prayers, how austere his mortifications, to obtain that these terrible days of divine justice might be shortened ! Frequently did he offer his own life to God, to save that of others and appease the divine wrath ! And yet, he did not despond in the midst of so many calamities ; on the contrary, he looked forward, with certainty, to their speedy termination ; and, even when the storm appeared most violent and destructive, he assured his friends, in confidence, that the exiled pontiff would return, in triumph, to the Apostolic chair ; but, that they must not, meanwhile, neglect to devote them­selves, manfully, to the defence of religion, attacked by so many enemies. He practised, himself, what he taught to others, for lie pointed out the errors contained in the impious pamphlets which were pub­lished throughout Rome ; replied to many doubts, which were laid before him, with regard to the oath exacted by the prevailing government ; confuted, by his learned dis­cussions, the wicked maxims then dis­semmated; and, in fine, he prepared an ex­cellent book, wherein the proofs of the Catholic religion were established, by in­vincible arguments of easy comprehension, even to the unlearned, and the objections of infidels overthrown by most clear and substantial replies. He gave to this work, the unpretending title of “Catechism.” It was nearly finished at the return of Pope Pius VII. to Rome ; and, as he thought it would be a suitable time to have it printed, he carefully put the last touch to it. But the merciful providence of God had other designs in view ; for, this excellent work, instead of being given to the public, became an occasion of extreme mortification to its author. It was suspected by those to whom it was first made known, was maliciously criticized and condemned, and the writer gained nothing by it, but the deepest con­fusion, both among strangers and his own friends. This was truly an unexpected blow, and he felt it most painfully; but God made known to him, by au especial light, infused into his mind during his meditations, that lie must bear his grief in silence, and that this ignominy which had befallen him would be useful for his per­fection. Concerning this, it will be well to give here some reflections found in his own writing, in his private Resolutions and In­spirations received from God. In No. 16, he speaks as follows :

“Cokfirma Domine opus pod operatus es in nobis Christ° confixus sum crud. I have, for a long time, felt that a great love of the cross was insinuating itself in­to my heart, and I have prayed that it might increase, and that our Lord would implant it, permanently, in the very midst of my soul. I mean by this, that I have felt a marked predilection ior sufferings, humiliations, and poverty, in opposition to the three follies of the world : concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life, which we renounce in baptism, etc.

“Now, about the third Sunday of Advent, (of the year 1814,) or some days previous, while I was in church, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, all at once, though I was not thinking of it, there came before my mind, as plainly as if I had seen it with my eyes, a large cross, suspended in the air, of a frightful and horrible aspect. It was armed with sharp points, and completely covered by a thin black veil, which only allowed part of the lower extremity to be seen. This sight produced within me a sensation of terror and awe, which I vainly strove to repress. I understood that this cross was meant for me ; that the small portion remaining uncovered, signified the sufferings I had already undergone, while the greater part were still in store for me. I felt my strength and courage fail ; yet, making a violent effort, I submitted, and accepted the cross, beseeching our Lord to sustain me by his grace, that I might not sink under the trial, nor displease his Divine Majesty. After this, I could not elp con­jecturing what this cross might p, but I could not divine its meaning. .t hap­pened, the following night;“ elpt- deuced some suffering, both of mind and Jy, and I fancied that, perchance, this way Ile cross which threatened me, and I rejoiced to be rid of it so easily; but the cross came again before my mind, just as I had first seen it, and, from that time, it never left me, though I sometimes perceived it under different aspects. The novena for Christmas was then beginning, and my accustomed pains of body and mind began to increase from clay to day; such a height did they at length attain, that I hardly knew what had become of me. My sufferings were’but too plainly depicted on my countenance, and the dif­ferent impressions which I saw them pro­duce on others, augmehted my anguish. Heaven seemed to have become of bronze, and the earth of iron ; every creature ex­cited in me feelings of aversion. I spent days and nights almost without closing my eyes, my whole system being affected by the mental agony I endured ; it was but with an effort that I took the smallest quantity of food ; life itself seemed about to leave me ; light was changed into darkness… One day, when almost in despair, I was trying to recite the Seven Penitential Psalms, I felt somewhat consoled, especially at the second, where it is said : Ta es refit­gium meum a tribulatione quce cireumdedit me, and : Domine prbbasti, me, etc. From that moment, I became more tranquil, and felt inspired with great confidence in God and abandonment of self, accompanied by unusual strength and cheethilness. I be­held the cross again, at first, with nothing but the left arm covered ; then again, entirely unveiled, and no longer suspended in the air, but resting upon a heavy stone ; and, lastly, adorned with precious gems, and resplendent with rays, like those crosses that are exposed upon our altars on great festivals. I felt like one whose life was re­newed after he had passed through a severe crisis. The love of creatures, the desire of esteem, of possessions, of anything that was not God, had passed away from me ; I felt detached from every satisfaction, even those of a spiritual nature, and from virtue itself ; and was filled (as it seemed to me) with a most sincere desire of being despised by all, annihilated, crucified ; in fine, that the divine will, alone, might be accomplished in me. Yet, as these dispositions seem to me like young and tender plants, they must be fostered, strengthened, and well grounded. And this I beg of our Lord to do, for it is from him that all good pro­ceeds, and to him, alone, belong the glory of it. Confirma Domine, etc. 0 blessed Catechism ! blessed contradictions ! blessed anguish ! blessed grief ! what treasures have you brought me ! How delightful it is to be disenchanted, and to be set free from all human respect ; to aim at nothing, seek_ or desire nothing, but God alone and his glory; Et unde hoc mihi? Et unde hoc mihif2

It is now time to return to the Apostolic labors of the servant of God. They received a fresh impulse in 1814, when, the French empire being overthrown, Pope Pius VII., of illustrious memory, returned, in triumph, to his See. Father De Andreis had never doubted that this event would come to pass, even when many, of little faith, had almost given it up in despair ; and his soul exulted with joy, when he became a witness of the reorganization of ecclesiastical affairs, and beheld peace restored to Christendom. He discovered, in all that passed before his eyes, the all-powerful hand of God, who humbles the proud unto the dust, never ceases to protect his Church, and, from the persecutions of the impious, draws his own greater glory. Animated with these senti­ments, Father De Andreis gave way to the most delightful transports of holy joy; at one moment making acts of thanksgiving, at another embracing his fellow-mission­aries, who, having been expelled from Rome, during the stormy period, now hastened to return once more to the house of Monte Citorio. He joined with them, in endeavoring, by renewed labor, to repair the evils which religion and Christian piety had so painfully undergone. The sovereign pontiff, in order to revive the spirit of devo­tion, had appointed several priests to give public missions and private retreats in Rome, and Father De Andreis, who always looked upon the orders of the Pope as those of God himself, felt, more than ever, in­flamed with zeal to excite the fervor of the just and the repentance of sinners. In the appointment of the missions, it fell to his lot to preach in the Piazza Colonna, where his voice, like thunder that startles even those who sleep, or lightning that rends the most solid rocks, called upon all, both rich and poor, and moved them, first to admiration, and then to tears.

Subsequently, he was sent to give a re­treat to the young students who are accus­tomed to assemble in the vast hospital of Santo Spiritu ; a very difficult undertaking indeed. There were over a hundred of them, all gifted with talent ; and having, at least the greater part, a good knowledge of literature and the resources of logic. There were not wanting, among the num­ber, some, who, led astray by the heat of passion, and the reading of bad books, were more inclined to laugh at the missionary, than to learn of him lessons of Christian humility; and, they were still less desirous of submitting to the yoke of the gospel. Without being in the least intimidated, Father De Andreis spoke undauntedly, in the .midst of them, like St. Paul in the Areopagus. Always avoiding bitterness, he convinced them by the solidity of his arguments, moved their hearts, made them yield to his words, and, finally, beheld tears flow from eyes that, until then, knew not what it was to weep. The good that re­sulted from this retreat is almost inciedible, the more so as it was lasting, and, many years after the death of Father De Andreis, the sweet remembrance of what he had done was still preserved.

But the house of Monte Citorio was the special sanctuary of grace and pardon ; all desired admittance within its precincts ; and, in reality, all were received, one after another, without intermission. Father De Andreis attended to all ; now giving con­ferences ; then again, meditations, which he suited to the dispositions of his hearers. He appeared to be the soul of everything, the common centre, the oracle, the master the father of all, who multiplied the bread of his words, and cheerfully gave the sweat of his brow for the welfare of his spiritual children. We mention these things very briefly, and in a general manner, though full well are we aware that they would de­serve a long and ample narrative.

  1. MS., “Different Notices,” etc.
  2. This Catechism was found among the manu­scripts of Father De Andreis, after his death. He might have published it while he was in America, but, having met with a work, recently printed, that answered his views, he put aside the thought of pub­lishing his own, in spite of the solicitations to the contrary which he received from others.

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