Gentili, Aloysius (DNB00)

GENTILI, ALOYSIUS, LL.D. (1801–1848), missionary-apostolic in England, born at Rome on 14 July 1801, was the son of a solicitor of Neapolitan descent. After completing his studies at the Sapienza, he took the degree of doctor of civil and canon law, and began to practise as an advocate. The death of his patron, Cardinal Gonsalvi, successively auditor of the rota and secretary of state, having destroyed his hopes of advancement, he studied the English, French, and Spanish languages, and became a professional teacher of Italian, in which vocation he had great success. He was made a knight by the duke Sforza Cesarini, who enjoyed the privilege of creating knights palatine and knights of the order of the Golden Spur. In 1830 he obtained an introduction to Rosmini, which led to his joining the Institute of Charity founded by that celebrated philosopher. Having been ordained priest in 1830, he was sent in 1831 to the first house of the institute, built on Monte Calvario, near Domo d'Ossola, and was appointed master of the novices. In 1835 the Institute of Charity was introduced into England, and Gentili and two other missionaries were sent by the Father-general Rosmini, and exercised their ministry first at Trelawney, Cornwall, and afterwards at Prior Park, near Bath, where Gentili was appointed superior of the college by Bishop Baines. Differences arose on educational and other subjects between the bishop and Gentili, who, after visiting Rome in 1839 to take his vows as presbyter of the institute, was sent back by his superior in 1840 to become chaplain to Ambrose Lisle Phillipps [see De Lisle] of Grace Dieu Manor, Leicestershire. In 1842 he was removed to the mission at Loughborough, and after a time his talents and successes as a preacher led to his being appointed itinerant missionary. He commenced this new career in company with Father Furlong in 1845. After giving missions in all the large towns of England and Ireland, Gentili, while on a visit to the latter country, was seized with a feverish attack, and died at Dublin on 25 Sept. 1848. A detailed account of his missionary labours will be found in the ‘Life of the Rev. Aloysius Gentili, LL.D., Father of Charity and Missionary Apostolic in England. Edited by the Very Rev. Father Pagani,’ London, 1851, 8vo (with portrait).

[Pagani's Life of Gentili; Collins's Life of Gentili, 1861; Dublin Review, xxxi. 365; Lockhart's Life of Rosmini.]

T. C.