The ideal rider to defend the most helpless creatures
Gesualdo De Luca
Versatile writer, passionate man of culture
Ignazio De Luca, in the religion Gesualdo, son of Joshua,
was born in Cesarò on August 1814, in one of the short
periods that his mother - Maria Savoca Panneri - originally
from that country, used to spend in his father's house.
Custos General and Prior Capuchin and author of numerous
scholarly and canonical and historical works.
He always signed his works Gesualdo De Luca da Bronte, those
published from 1843 and are over 40; the unpublished ones
are many tens and are located in Messina.
A brilliant orator and educator, a man of doing with a fiery
and impetuous character, he became interested and wrote
about everything from Theology, Civil and Canon Law,
History, Physics, Apologetics and others.
He entered the "public scene" in 1843 when he was
called as secretary of Father Felice Fenech da Lipari,
provincial superior to Messina and Syracuse and later
Procurator General of the Order.
In 1846 we find him already Guardian of the Sanctuary
of Gibilmanna, where he reorganized the Archive, neatly
assembling all the scriptures and deserved the title of
Meritorious for the various works done, described in his
pamphlet "The Sanctuary of Gibilmanna".
He obtained from the Holy See various Rescripts granting
many privileges and spiritual graces to the Shrine.
After moving to Rome, in 1847 he was appointed
general secretary of the Procura "for the answers and
consultations to the Sacred Congregations and member of the
Commission formed for the examination of the Ordinances and
Decisions of the General Chapter.
In 1848, following Pius IX, who had left Rome and had
fled to Gaeta, Father Gesualdo moved to Naples in the
convent of S. Eframo Nuovo. In the two cities he was able to
frequent high exponents of the ecclesiastical and cultural
world of the time (among which the De Luca brothers,
Antonino Saverio, the cardinal,
and the economist Placido,
linked to him by kinship relations).
A year later, in August 1849, he returned to Bronte, where
the notoriety that had preceded him immediately opened the
doors of his teaching.
He was appointed reader of the Dogmatic and Moral Theology
of the schools of the Order (where he taught for four years)
and later in the Real
College Capizzi where - he wrote himself - «for a long
season he was Professor on the Chairs of Canon Law, Dogmatic
Theology, Philosophy , of Rhetoric, and Latin Literature,
and Italian "(where he had among his students the writer
At the University Of Palermo, he was the first to search for
ancient documents and sources of brontese history reporting them back in his most famous book the
della Città di Bronte" ("History of the town of
Bronte"), a weighty volume of 450 pages
published in Milan in 1883.
"The origins of the city of Bronte - wrote the Civiltà Cattolica on
July 5, 1884, in reviewing the book - are lost in the remotest
antiquity, and probably are cured by the fabulous era of Sicily. But the
truly historical memories are relatively recent, not coming back to the
tenth or the eleventh century of the Christian era; and these too are
«The ch. Fr. Gesualdo De Luca, advised by his father's love, has studied
the search for greater diligence with the primordial origins of his
homeland until fabulous times, arguing for conjectures, where he could
not because of direct monuments. In this context I would like to offer a
wide and manifold geographic and ethnographic erudition; which, if not
always offers him certain or at least quite probable conclusions for the
existence of Bronte in those very ancient times, but opens the field to
offer the reader useful news about the telluric conditions of the island
and its inhabitants in those ancient years.»
«The history of Bronte proper, has its beginning in the fifteenth century;
and our ch. Author describes it in all its particularities and with the
greatest accuracy, both in public events and in political relations and
relations with neighboring peoples, and in religious conditions, and
finally in particular events more worthy of memory. There is a review of
the most remarkable men who have illustrated it, either with the
sanctity of the life and with works of zeal, or with illustrious
offices, ecclesiastical maxims, or with doctrine and with books given to
«The work ends with a careful study of the events suffered by volcanic
eruptions and other soil conditions, whether under geological respect,
or under the respect of fertility and products.
It is a work that must not only be pleasant to the Brontesi, but will be
welcomed by the lovers of historical studies. The Holy Father himself
has deigned it to honor Brief.»
Many, like the same Civiltà Cattolica, judge the historical
reconstructions made by the Capuchin friar, written more with "patrious
love" than with research, documents and study; another historian
Benedetto Radice, defined "chaotic"
the attempt done by the De Luca, even if, affirms,
that he must also be given praise".
Published more than 50 books among
which "The right of property in the teaching and the facts of
the church" (two volumes, Catania 1853), "The divine and human
rights" (in two volumes, Catania 1854 and Palermo 1857), "Consecrator
crist. matrimoni" (Catania, 1871)".
As a "good fellow villager",
father Gesualdo De Luca joined the enemies and
detractors chorus that were trying to confute and demolish the advanced
thesis of Nicola Spedalieri.
In his book "Il contratto sociale discusso a mente dei sacri
contract talked while thinking of the holy
canons), (Catania, 1882) turned ferocious
criticisms to the thought of the philosopher defining him, among
other things, "a very miserable copycat of the
most impious theories that crazy fellows ("Rousseau and others, equally
had written about the origin and quality of the men's natural right and
duties", and their "inauspicious
shadow" that " ... is wrapped in
so many contradictions ...".
Also, "excited by good friends, proposed,
to straighten up this big work by the priest Spedalieri ... if God will
grant me a long life".
«But - write Giuseppe Cimbali
(About Spedalieri - The insults of a century, Rome 1899)
- the announced destruction was not performed. Luckily, God did not grant ... the hoped longevity and the destruction remained
only a criminal attempt».
Father Gesualdo worked to revive the fate of
the small Convent of the PP. Capuchins of Bronte (a part of it,
in 1882, had been used by the Municipality as a hospital)
reorganizing it and directing it, with brief interruptions until
Gesualdo De Luca died in Bronte on 26 February 1892.
He is buried in the Bronte cemetery, under the floor in front of
the altar of the Chapel of the Franciscan Order. The plaque thus
reads: "Close this urn, the mortal remains, of MR Gesualdo De
Luca, former Provincial Council, of many learned scholarly
theological works, historical oratories, clear writer, of the
Congress of the 3rd Order of the Franciscan Order. , founder,
died of 78 years in 1892 at 26 Feb., pray ".
After almost four centuries from its construction, even the
convent of the Capuchin Fathers, where friar Gesualdo lived and
died, so he strenuously defended so much to suffer the prison,
he closed its doors with the transfer to the other headquarters
of the last two brothers remained.
Many documents and manuscripts that are kept in the library of
the Convent, with the closing (September 2010), have been
transferred to other places, probably in Messina.