St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor
FOUNDER of the poor regular clergy of the pious schools of the Mother of God, a native of Petralta in Arragon, of a noble family. He sanctified his youth by all virtues from his infancy, particularly by charity and prayer. At school it was his custom zealously to instruct his companions in mysteries of faith and in the most perfect methods of prayer. He consecrated himself to God by a vow of virginity, and distinguished himself in his studies first of humanity and philosophy, and afterwards of divinity at Valencia. New Castile, Arragon, and Catalonia were successively edified by the sanctity of his life, and his apostolic labours. Going to Rome, he was enrolled in the confraternity of the Christian doctrine, in which zealous employment he soon saw the infinite importance of instructing children early in the knowledge and spirit of religion. Hereupon he particularly devoted himself to this part of the pastoral charge, though he gave also much time to visit, relieve, and exhort to perfect virtue all the sick, and all the poor and destitute: in which, by his courage and patience, he seemed a perpetual miracle of fortitude, and another Job. He had laboured thus twenty years, when Paul V. in 1617, allowed him and his companions to form themselves into a congregation under simple vows, which, in 1621, Gregory XV. changed into solemn religious vows, and gave them the name which they still bear. In 1656 Alexander VII. brought them back to their former state of simple vows. But Clement IX. in 1669, raised them again into a religious order by solemn vows, which Innocent XI. confirmed, with a grant of new privileges, in 1689. They teach philosophy, divinity, mathematics, the learned languages in all the classes, and the first elements of reading, writing. They have houses in most cities in Italy, several in Austria, Moravia, Poland, Hungary, and Spain. St. Joseph Calasanctius, or Casalanz, died at Rome on the 25th of August, in 1648, being ninety-two years old. An office in his honour was inserted in the Roman Breviary in 1769, on the 27th of August.