The Great Theologians and their influence on St. Gaspar Bertoni’s Charism and Original Constitutions

Saint Thomas Aquinas and St. Ignatius of Loyola

 In the gradual formulation of his charism, St. Gaspar Bertoni [1777-+1853 – Founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ, canonized on November 1, 1989], the words ‘in obsequium’ are used most often.  His charism might be described as “Abandonment to God, Availability to the Church” Much influenced by St. Ignatius of Loyola, Fr. Bertoni also received deep insights for his spirituality from the Angelic Doctor, as well as from the Word of God.

The Influence of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Gaspar Bertoni's Charism

St. Gaspar Bertoni’s second Constitution [CF # 2] speaks of the Missionary Manner of Serving the Church. To present this Constitution, the Saint quoted a Document from the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, naming him an ‘Apostolic Missionary’. In the brief paragraph that he quoted [perhaps imitating St. Ignatius in his introductory ‘Formula’ where he quotes documents from the Holy See approving the Jesuits and their basic Apostolic Mission], St. Gaspar repeats words and phrases to explain his initial Constitution which reads: ‘Apostolic Missionaries for the Assistance [Service] of Bishops. This ‘Apostolic Service’ is then presented in CF # 2 by emphasizing words and phrases describing aspects of Church obedience that present the Stigmatine: ‘Abandonment to God and Availability to the Church’.

St. Gaspar Bertoni: Cemtral Ignatian Ideals in our Original Constitutions

St. Gaspar Bertoni was much imbued with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Ignatius of Loyola. From them, and Rm 12:1, ff. [make of your lives an oblation to the merciful God…] the manner of achieving this is found in his Original Constitution, # 2. Fr. Bertoni’s Mode for the service of God through the Church is to heed the bishops [cf. CF # 185] in loving obedience in their varied and changing needs. This Homily preached on the Solemnity of St. Gaspar [June 12, 2009] at a Mass celebrated by the priests of the Holy Espousals Province in Waltham MA +Bishop Richard Garcia, Ordinary of Monterey, and friend of the community, was the principal celebrant. The idea is that by an analogical process, we might see the Beatitudes preached by Jesus Christ [cf. Mt 5], serve as the Manner of living the Commandments – these Beatitudes represent the heart of Jesus’ preaching [cf. CCC # 1716].

mode_servingSt. Gaspar Bertoni: His Mode of Serving the Church [2009]

Fathers Nadal and Suárez, Jesuits

A Brief Presentation:  Fr. Jerome Nadal, SJ, whose name is rendered in Latin as Hieronymus Natalis,  [1507-1580], was a well-known personality in the early History of the Society of Jesus.  Five full substantial volumes are dedicated to his writings of Conferences in the well known Series, Momumentis Historicis Societatis Iesu.  

The effort here will be to present the corner-stones of the Jesuit Constitutions as these were understood first by Fr. Jerome Nadal, and later, by Fr. Francis Suárez [1548-1612] [De Religione  Societatis Iesu], who wrote under the leadership of the long-time  Superior General [February  19, 1581–January 31, 1615], Fr. Claudio Acquaviva, a generation or so later. As will be seen, Fr. Suarez’ work is a most orderly apologetic, more defensive reflection on the Jesuit Constitutions, defending this ‘new’ way of life in the Church, which had found opposition even in high Church circles. For example, the Fourth Vow of special obedience to the Roman Pontiff – was not understood as something unique in that in faith, all believers are placed under the magisterial and spiritual direction of the Vicar of Christ.

Then, the applications will be made regarding these Jesuit theological and spiritual interpreters of the Rule of St. Ignatius – as this appealed to Fr. Gaspar Bertoni, Stigmatine Founder.  In the booklet of the Stigmatine Founder’s Rule, prepared during the Holy Year of 1950, Fr. Joseph Stofella has noted that a large majority of the Original Constitutions come from Fr. Francis Suarez, SJ – and many of these, verbatim.


The Special Grace of this Arduous and Difficult Vocation. The Obsequium Romani Pontificis and the Finis/ Scopus/ Media in the Apostolic Mission.
The Influence of Father Francisco Suárez, SJ in the Charism of Father Gaspar Bertoni