Francis Piccolomini General # 8

General from 1649 to 1651



After the short Generalate of Vincent Caraffa the 9th General Congregation was called for December 13, 1649. The delegates elected a 75-year old Sienese, Francis Piccolomini, who had been a teacher of Philosophy and Theology and during his career had been the Provincial of three different provinces Rome, Milano, and Venice—three more prestigious cities could not have been imagined and his work as Provincial of these three important centers must have taken more time and energy than he could spare.

He was 75 years old when he was elected by 59 votes out of 80 on the 21st of December, a week into the sessions of the 9th Congregation. After only a year and six months as General, Piccolomini died, undoubtedly worn out by the strenuous work required of him as Provincial and then, on top of it all, at his advanced age, they laid upon his shoulders the cares of the whole Society. His death occurred on June 17, 1651. Piccolomini had concerned himself with erecting new provinces, censuring those who would attempt to erect new provinces without authorization, insisting that only men of exceptional virtue should be professed, that the Roman Rite should be observed by all, that useless questions should not be treated in Philosophy or Theology, and that the directions of the General were to be observed.

Some of the external problems of the time were the martyrdoms of the Martyrs of Canada and the upheaval caused by Cromwell and his English Republic.

His remains found their place among those of his predecessors in the crypt of the Gesú.