Saint Francis Caracciolo
(October 13, 1563 – June 4, 1608), born Ascanio Pisquizio
, was an Italian Catholic
priest who co-founded the Congregation of the Minor Clerics Regular
with Venerable John Augustine Adorno
. He decided to adopt a religious life at the age of 22.
St Francis Caracciolo was born in Villa Santa Maria
in the Abruzzo
region, in the Kingdom of Naples
. He belonged to the Pisquizio
branch of the Caracciolo
family and received in baptism
the name of Ascanio. From his infancy, he had a reputation for gentleness and uprightness. He vowed himself to an ecclesiastical
life, and distributing his goods to the poor, went to Naples in 1585 to study theology. In 1587 he was ordained priest and joined the confraternity
of the Bianchi della Giustizia
(The White Robes of Justice), whose object was to assist condemned criminals to die holy deaths.
A letter from Giovanni Agostino Adorno to another Caracciolo, Fabrizio, begging him to take part in founding a new religious institute, was delivered by mistake to the newly ordained priest, and he saw in this circumstance an assurance of the Divine Will towards him (1588). He assisted in drawing up rules for the new congregation, which was approved by Pope Sixtus V
, July 1, 1588, and confirmed by Pope Gregory XIV
on February 18, 1591, and reconfirmed by Pope Clement VIII
on June 1, 1592.
The institute founded thereby, named the Congregation of the Minor Clerks Regular (the "Adorno......