Charity, Brothers of
Charity, Brothers Of (called, in Italy, Fate ben fratelli; in France, Frères de a1 Charite; in Spain, Brothers of Hospitality), a Romanist order, founded in 1540 at Seville, by the Portuguese Johannes a Deo, for nursing the sick and reforming immoral females. In 1572 Pope Pius V confirmed it, under the rule of St. Augustine, and it then limited itself to serving hospitals for the sick of all nations and religions. In 1580 it had a number of institutions in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, both Indies, and other countries. In 1617 it was received into the number of regular orders by adopting the solemn vows. In 1619 the brethren were exempted from the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops, and in 1624 they received all the privileges of the mendicant orders. Among the hospitals of the order, those of Milan, Paris, Rome, Naples, Vienna, Prague, are especially celebrated. The number of houses amounts at present to over a hundred, in Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, and North and South America. See Helyot, Ordres Religieux, vol. 2; Fehr, Geschichte der Mönchsorden, 2:80 sq.