Dispensers of medical Communion in times of plague – The Steadfast Charles Borromeo

Unnoticed was the expressive paintings in the attic of a Rottenburger rectory. Despite its age of almost 160 years – it is dated with the year value “1856.” -, the object is in a surprisingly fresh condition – like his message.

Rott_Mori_0206_a01In the style of the former conception of art, the history painting, the events will be staged as a monumental event: A saint with his entourage entered before a barren room in the middle of it stands now. Emaciated and sick besiege him. Cowering, plead on straw and pray the host that holds the Holy above the chalice to. The rigorous, at the same time sad look in his gentle face turns to an unseen goal. The Magic of the scenery is, to read, enhanced by subtle lighting from the bottom left and the opposite breath of air on the two candle flames. Wall openings allow a view of a marketplace free with a row of houses. When Durchblick right is a house of nooks and crannies to see, before the tragic situations take place: a dead woman just is supported by a staircase, as a man collapses in front and makes a couple gesturing attention. Over the roofs of the house perched like a majestic mountain range, the towers of a large church.

The scene of the Sick Communion in misery and pictorial allusions to an epidemic in the background refer to the hl. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584).

His career is downright amazing. For the time is not unusual, Karl was already twelve years old abbot of a Benedictine monastery. In this office his family had a privileged claim. Two years later, Charles took a law degree, graduating in 1559 as a doctor. In the same year appointed his uncle, Pope Pius IV., The private secretary to the Vatican. This office also included coordination tasks for the third and final phase of the Council of Trent.

Before the end of the council Karl had the desire to become a priest. Already in 1563 he was ordained a priest, almost half a year later, followed by the episcopal ordination. Cardinal and archbishop of Milan, Charles was appointed five months afterwards. His tenure also in Milan 1576-1578 raging plague falls. When the members of the city administration fled fear of contagion, the archbishop organized comprehensive medical assistance to the population. Fearless Karl went to the sick and dying, donated consolation and shared the Eucharist from. Just this moment describes the painting from the attic, then also the big church in the background can be recognized as the Milan Cathedral, where he found his resting place with just 46 years of age.Because of its charitable engagements and educational ideal rely today for example, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Charles Borromeo and the Borromeo club to the charismatic person of the 1610 canonized Archbishop.

Rott_Mori_0206_a02Whether the painting comes from a Catholic educational institution, even from the seminary Rottenburg, must remain open for the time being. This narrative form of staging may an image of the invention so far according to current knowledge – be unknown painter “IK” – unfortunately. This also makes the painting to a rare treasure.

Erik Venhorst

INFO – Charles Borromeo

Saint Charles Borromeo is also a patron of pastors, catechists, seminarians and catechumens.Remembrance Day is the 4th of November.