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Awakening courage in times of struggle
The Life and Spiritual Legacy of Bruno Lanteri
Bestselling author Timothy M. Gallagher offers a remarkable biography of Father Bruno Lanteri, who overcame great odds to become the foremost spiritual leader of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, ultimately founding the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
Drawn from Lanteri’s own journals, letters, and correspondence, Gallagher’s exceptional portrait reveals a man, once limited by his own impatience and lack of charity, who evolved into a leader of fierce spiritual courage, a religious reformer, a defender of the Pope against Napoleon’s command, and a symbol of perseverance who coined the term “begin again”—the official motto of the Oblates.
Complemented by extensive notes, a chronology of Lanteri’s life, photographs, and maps, and framed within the era of the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon, and the Bourbon Restoration, Gallagher’s richly researched volume brings to light the ministry and legacy of a unforgettable spiritual leader.
Reviews and endorsements
"A clear and delightful portrait of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, rich and engaging on three counts. As biography, Fr. Gallagher provides an exact and full life of Lanteri, replete with important passages from the letters. As history, he investigates his subject’s activities in the Napoleonic aftermath of the French Revolution as it affected the papacy and the Piedmont region. And to the spiritual benefit of the reader, he explores Lanteri's spiritual journey into deep union with God, and his rich spiritual teaching with its message of mercy and hope."
—David Beauregard, O.M.V., author and professor of church history, St. John’s Archdiocesan Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts
"Fr. Timothy Gallagher has responded admirably to the call of the Second Vatican Council to those in religious life to return to the charism of their founder. With his impressive scholarship, pastoral prudence, theological acumen, and pellucid prose, Gallagher has made available to English-speaking readers a biography of the Venerable Bruno Lanteri (1759-1830), the founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Tracing this remarkably holy and dedicated figure’s lifelong fidelity to prayer that led to contemplative union with God, Gallagher shows how, from this center, the fruitful priestly ministry of this 'man of a hundred tongues and a hundred arms' arose. When an emperor attempted to subjugate the Church to state policy, Lanteri defended the Church, to the point of willingness to lay down his life. Fr. Gallagher presents Lanteri through a careful reading of the original documents, and offers readers the story of a life that will awaken in many the courage to begin again in times of struggle, and draw near to the God whose love this man so effectively taught."
—Harvey D. Egan, S.J., professor emeritus of theology, Boston College
"Every Oblate of the Virgin Mary, and all who know Fr. Lanteri and seek to live according to his spirituality, will find strength, consolation, and spiritual joy in reading Fr. Gallagher’s biography of our Founder. As I read, I was struck by Fr. Lanteri’s unwavering efforts to follow more closely Him whom he loved above all else. These efforts, and at times these struggles, never hindered him from persevering on this path, and constantly 'beginning again' in what grew to be a deep love for Christ. He personally experienced God as a Father who loves and forgives, and so, throughout a lifetime of intensely active ministry, became an apostle of God’s mercy, in particular toward those who themselves struggled spiritually. As founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, he unceasingly taught his spiritual sons that there is nothing greater than God’s mercy."
—Fr. Louis Normandin, O.M.V., member of the general council of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary
“Fr. Gallagher has written of the Founder of his religious order with a personal sense of the particular charism of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and with a historian’s sense of the context of its birth and development. Quite ordinary events in Lanteri’s life are unified by his strong sense of spiritual purpose often obstructed by a body weakened with constant ill health; these same events are played out in the tension between Church and State in France and Piedmont in an age of revolution; they are reflected in the lives of his co-workers and companions in the various societies and communities he formed part of. A man who sought always to remain the background is brought forward in this book so that all can begin again to discover his virtues and appreciate his influence today.”
—Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago
"It was time for an English-language biography of Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri, and Fr. Timothy Gallagher was the natural choice of an author. His research and acquaintance with the person and spirit of Lanteri started as early as his doctoral studies at the Gregorian University in the late 1970s. He has chosen a unique approach, among existing biographies, seeking to uncover the spiritual journey of the Founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. He has done a wonderful and poignant job! At a time when the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, especially in the English-speaking world, continue to seek a deeper personal understanding of a man of the Church who has profoundly influenced their ministry to this day, Fr. Gallagher’s timely work is of immense importance. His biographical approach will most certainly further reveal the mind and heart of Lanteri for a growing number of laymen and women who want to associate themselves with the spirit and ministry of the contemporary sons of Venerable Lanteri. This work will also contribute to a deeper appreciation of the life of the Church in southern Europe during the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th century. Bravo Fr. Gallagher!"
—Ernest Sherstone, O.M.V., vicar general of the Oblates, director of the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality