Sunday, January 10, 2016

Historical Notes about the General Archive

Historical Notes about the General Archive

The General Archive was located in Pavia, St. Maiolo Community, from 1569 until 1810, which was where Father General used to reside. In 1810 the Congregation experienced the tragic event of the Napoleonic suppression. Knowing that government was coming to take possession of everything that belonged to our Congregation, our fathers living in Pavia quickly tried to save all they could: documents, books and manuscripts were thrown into bags and brought to some friends who were in the same city of Pavia.
Some years later, Father Quarti recovered those bags and brought everything to Somasca, to Father Maranese, who had remained in Somasca as pastor of the parish.
In 1823, the Somascan Congregation arose out of the Napoleonic suppression, and in 1829 the first General Chapter was held in Genova, at the Church of Maddalena. In  that particular chapter our fathers also discussed where to place the General Archive. Three options were proposed: the first one was Como, “Gallio College”, the second was Somasca, at the “Mother House”, and the third option was Genova, “Maddalena”. Unanimously,  Maddalena was chosen because Genova was a quieter region in Italy at that time, compared with Milan and all over Lombardia in general.
Therefore, from Somasca all that remained from the Original General Archive was sent to Genova, at the “Maddalena Community”. Only the Letters of Saint Jerome Emiliani were kept in Somasca.
In the following years, the local superior of the “Maddalena” used to take care of the General Archive. For the most part the Archive was kept in a small room, sometimes not cared for very well.
In 1910, Father Stoppiglia (local superior of the “Maddalena”) requested permission (and it was granted) from the Father General to put the Archive in order. The Father General at that time was Father Pietro Pacifici, who later became Bishop of Spoleto.
Father Stoppiglia not only put  the General Archive in order, but he also published documents, searched for lost manuscripts, and edited different books. When Father Stoppiglia died in 1835, his assistant Father Marco Tentorio  passionately and strenuously continued this delicate and important task of taking care of the General Archive.
In 1946, father Marco Tentorio was named General Archivist by Father Giuseppe Brusa,  Father General of the Congregation. Father Tentorio began to travel all over Italy, visiting many communities, libraries, museums, and private collections, trying to organize the General Archives, which little by little grew in size so much that the current location was not enough anymore.
In 1973, Father Fava, Father General, approved the new expansion of the General Archive. From a small room, including hallways and a few “piles of documents placed in some corners,” the General Archive was moved to a different floor of the “Maddalena”, spacious and more organized.
After the death of Father Marto Tentorio, the Archive was entrusted to the local superior (Father Beccaria, 1993-2005).
On October 2005, the new General Archivist was nominated, Father Maurizio Brioli.
A decision was made to move the General Archive to Rome, in the General House, where it is currently located; the process was completed in 2008.

Some bibliographical references for the General Archive:
1.         1910 - 1935: Father Stoppiglia was in charge of the Archive. The reference is AMG (Archivio Maddalena Genova)
2.         1935 - 1973: Father Marco Tentorio was the General Archivist. The reference continued to be AMG. From 1973, a new reference is used: ASPSG (Archivio Storico Padri Somaschi Genova)
3.         2005 - today: Father Maurizio Brioli introduces a new and modern reference: AGCRS (Archivio Generalazio Chierici Regolari Somaschi). This is done in order to follow the system that all the General Archives are using (AG = Archivio Generale + our Congregation official reference = CRS)

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