Efforts to reform society along Christian lines, undertaken in the Turin diocese after the fall of Napoleon’s Empire, in addition to taking up systematic parish catechesis once more, fostering popular missions, the Forty Hours and retreats for all kinds of groups, focused above all on reform of the clergy, beginning with more careful selection of candidates for the priesthood and diligent care in their preparation. With this in mind diocesan authorities first reorganised the seminary in the capital (1819), strengthening disciplinary and spiritual aspects, and encouraged the initiatives of Fr Luigi Guala, approving the Rule for the Pastoral Institute [Convitto ecclesiastico] (1821), then extended the seminary at Bra (1824-1825), and finally set up a new seminary in Chieri (1829) in the old house which belonged to the Oratorians (St Philip Neri’s priests), putting trusted formators in charge. The model of formation espoused by the archbishop, the Camaldolese Colombano Chiaveroti (1754-1831), drew its inspiration from priestly ideals belonging to post-Tridentine Catholic tradition, with a strong emphasis on apostolic charity and pastoral sacrifice (the priest had to be a “victima charitatis”). Meanwhile groups of generous clergy, supporting his reform efforts, made themselves available for preaching to the people, the ministry of confessions and spiritual direction, along with some orders and congregations that had been set up once more after the suppression in the French era.
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