December 7th 1549 - Codacio Pietro
† in Rome
The companions of Ignatius were of international origin, with different social background. Most of them came from the academic elite. This profile of the membership shaped the future. Thus Father O'Malley SJ writes in his book 'The first Jesuits'.
It is remarkable that not any Italian belonged to Igantius' friend circle in Paris. The first Italian who followed Ignatius was Pietro Codacio. He originated from Lodi in the Lombardy, an old bishop seat from that fourth century with churches worth seeing. Milan and Venice had made peace in Lodi in the year 1454.
Codacio possessed several estates in Lodi, and his family belonged to the most distinguished and most influential in the city. There he was born in the year 1507. In 1532 he took the holy orders. From the cathedral chapter chosen as canon he went to Rome, where he made rapidly career under Clemens VII and Paul III, and got the office of the 'Maestro de Camara' and many titles and benefits. He belonged to the Oratory of the Divine Love, like many reform-conscious priests. That oratory was the basic unit of the new created Order of the Theatins, whose rule had been confirmed by Clemens VII in the year 1524 by a breve.
To the astonishment of his circle of acquaintances he followed 1539 in Rome Ignatius of Loyola. Under his direction he made the Spiritual Exercises with such eagerness that he took no meals three days running, although he was usually a great eater, quite corpulent, and bent on a good table.
He was destined to take care for the residence of the first companions in Rome. Hence he had to provide for their temporal well-being (food, clothes, dwelling), and won very fast their hearts. He was considered in the house as indispensable because of his skilful way, and because he was familiar with the conditions at the papal court, and had good relations with many prelates. Hence he was an inestimable assistance, although he was afflicted with gout and a blister trouble.
On December 7th 1549 the highly-deserving 'landlord' died unexpectedly by a stroke. The Society of Jesus had to owe him also the small church of Our Lady with the holy image of the 'Madonna della Strada'.
[back to Otto Syre's SJ-Calendar]