an order of regular clergy 2 the Church of Rome, which was founded in the beginning of the 16th century for the purpose of defeating the efforts towards a reformation outside the Church by reorganizing the clergy, enforcing discipline in the convents, restoring an apostolical simplicity of life, and infusing a religious spirit into the Church by means of the public worship and the sermon. The order was founded by Cajetan of Thiene (thence called Order of the Cajetans.), bishop John Peter Caraffa of Theate, subsequently pope Paul IV who was usually called Chieti (hence Chietines and Paulines) and Boniface of Coile. It was confirmed by Clement VII in 1524 (June 24). Caraffa was its first superior, and his bishopric gave the order its name. The members renounced all worldly possessions, and refused either to labor or beg, depending, instead, on gifts which Providence should confer on them. Their number was never very considerable; but as they were chiefly of noble rank, the reputation of the order was great, and they acquired houses in many cities of Italy, Spain, Poland, and Bavaria. Mazaril conferred on it, in 1644, the only establishment it has been able to secure in France. It attempted missions in Tartary, Georgia, and Circassia, which have been unproductive of results. The garb of the order is the usual black robe of the regular clergy, with the addition of white stockings. See Caraccioli, De Vita Pauli IV; id. Cajetani Thienami, Bonifacii a Colle cum Paulo IV Ord. Clericorum 'Regul. Fundave unt Vitce (Colossians Ubiorum, 1612); Mirsei Regulke et Constitutiones Clericorum in Cong. Viventium (Antverp. 1638).
Two congregations of Sisters are attached to the Order of Theatines, both of which were founded by the hermit-virgin Ursula Benincasa. She was aided by the Spanish priest Gregory of Navarre, and recommended by Philip Neri, founder of the Oratorians (q.v.). The rule given to the congregation founded by her in 1583 bound the nuns by the three simple vows (to-a common life of poverty, affection, and humility), permitted secular employments, etc., and enforced mortifications of the body. Their number was fixed at sixty-six, because the Virgin Mary was said to have attained the age of so many years. Ursula prophesied a world-wide extension of her order, but it was able to obtain only a single house in Palermo. It was attached to the Theatines by pope Gregory XV.
The second congregation was founded in 1610 at Naples. Its members were to be thirty-six in number in each convent, and they were governed by a more rigid rule than the former class. Complete separation from the world and its affairs was enforced, severe penances and mortifications imposed, and stringent vows exacted. A novitiate of two years was required before entering the order. This congregation secured but one additional house, also in Palermo. Clement IX united the sisterhood with the Theatines. Its garb consists of a white robe, black girdle, blue scapulary and mantle, and black veil for the head and neck (see Helyot, Ausführl. Gesch. aller geistl. u. weltl. Kloster u. Ritter-Orden [Leips. 1753-56], 4:103 sq.). —Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.