St. Philip Neri


‘Interest in St. Philip Neri, as always, centres on the saint’s capacity to educate to the faith, a capacity which throughout history has taken on concrete form through the life and works of many other great men of faith and Neri’s disci-ples, The Congregation of the Oratory. The idea of the exhibition emerges from the discovery, beyond any hagiographic exaggeration, that Neri’s life expresses genius, that in the charisma that surrounded him is contained the lucid reproposal of the Ideal of Christian life, personally assumed in the form of priesthood and pro-vocatively proposed as devotion to the lay world of his time. The historic documentation of the figure of the saint, full of anecdotal aspects must not distract from highlighting the work of St. Philip Neri, work which took on concrete form in the Philippine Oratory method. Such method is not the result of reasoning, but stems from the unravelling of existence, from life lived with relish and meaning; in faith, asceticism, or the work of the spirit, is set against ‘laziness, father of all vices’. This way of life, in a particular environment and moment of Christianity, cannot be a historical coincidence; that a Philip Neri lived in the heart of the Christian world: Rome. And that his invention of the Oratory belongs to a period when Christianity clashes with modern ideas and its leaders attempt to reiterate the truth of their faith: the Council of Trent. And again, a St. Philip Neri, whose reformation took place within himself to be transmitted from the bottom to all those who came into contact with him. These are all elements which indicate a Presence that Christian man likes to acknowledge, store in his heart and pass or to all those he encounters. The exhibition intends reproducing the existential journey within his environment, with an eye centred on the mark he left on the persons he met. Starting then with the saint’s personal (mystical) experience, as a man of faith, attention centres on his charisma, to better understand the supporting elements of his educational journey. An attempt is made to supply details for a greater, and possibly original, understanding of his charisma so as to achieve recognition in a common faith. The Mystic: has always had one aim. To foster the experience of personal relations with Christ: the Church. The reconstruction of the elements which characterize the method and their combination with human beings, who within that method dedicated themselves to these same elements, making them elements for qualifying the life of the Church, will intertwine with the places which have witnessed the lives of these same human beings. A charisma always expresses itself within a history whose concrete elements are human beings; human beings who have been pervaded by the charisma in an intelligent obedience. This obedience has generated an expansion of the method itself and a permanency of the Charisma in history’


20 Agosto 1995 - 26 Agosto 1995


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions