November 24th 1775 - Ricci Lorenzo
XVIIIth General of the Society of Jesus
† in Rome
Father Lorenzo Ricci, the eighteenth General of the Society of Jesus, came of a noble family in Florence. Born on August 2nd 1703, he entered on November 16th 1718 in Rome the Jesuit Order. After his studies he worked as professor of philosophy in Siena and Rome, then from 1743 to 1749 as professor of theology in Rome. From 1751 to 1755 he was spiritual Director at the Roman College, until Father General Centurio called him as his secretary at the Curia. On May 21st 1758 he was elected General with 63 from 87 votes.
On August 16th 1773 in the Roman Professed House the abolition breve of Pope Clemence XIV was announced, by which the Society of Jesus was dissolved.
For the following evening Cardinal Corsini had ordered the General into the English College, allegedly to a discussion, but in reality to be able to watch him there better. Some weeks later, on September 23rd 1773 he was brought into the Angel Castle, and there he was held under detention up to his death. In those two years he was tormented by repeated examinations, which proved however no guilt. Ricci died on November 24th 1775, after he had laid down a solemn testimony for the innocence of the whole Society of Jesus. Before they handed on November 19th the Holy Communion to the critically ill, he read out a solemn declaration. The vice castellan and his secretary, an officer and some witnesses were present. In that explanation he forgave heartily everyone who was guilty of the downfall of the Order.
When during his detention Pope Clemens XIV had died on September 22nd 1774, Ricci sent in August 1775 to his successor Pius VI a petition asking for release from the unjust imprisonment. It was without success, although the pope personally was not disinclined.
On the pope's order Ricci's corpse was put on the bier in the Florentine Church of St John, and was under large participation of the people transferred to Il Gesù, where it was buried in the tomb of the Jesuit Generals.
Together with Ricci also the Assistants had been held under detention. They got back their liberty by Pius VI on February 26th 1776.
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