- Category : Healing-Fields-Psychologist
- Type : GP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
Agostino Gemelli, O.F.M., (18 January 1878 – 15 July 1959) was an Italian Franciscan friar, physician and psychologist, who was also the founder and first Rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart).
Gemelli's Institute of Psychology was the most prominent institution of its kind in Italy. In 1961 he founded a teaching hospital for the Medical School of the University, located in Rome, the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic, which is now named after him. He focused some of his research on the psychology of the workplace.
He was born Edoardo Gemelli in 1878 to a free-thinking upper class family in Milan, who were members of the Masonic movement. In his youth, his commitment to social causes led him to become a member of the Italian Socialist Party. He went to Ghislieri College for his education. After his training as a physician, he carried out neurophysiological and psychological experiments, some with the famed physiologist Camillo Golgi.
Gemelli, who had been an agnostic from his upbringing, had a religious conversion from his experience of military service in a hospital, that brought him into contact with a chaplain there who impressed him deeply. This led him to join the Order of Friars Minor in 1903, at which time he took the name Agostino. He was professed in the Order on December 23, 1904, and ordained on March 14, 1908. As members of religious Orders were barred by the Catholic Church from practicing medicine then, he continued his medical research, moving into the field of neuropsychology, where he was dissatisfied with many of the theories regarding the central nervous system held at the time.
At the same time, Gemelli undertook many spiritual activities, helping to found the secular institute of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ, established by the Venerable Armida Barelli, a Christian social activist. He first led her to join the Third Order of St. Francis, and in 1919, seeking a greater commitment, under his guidance, Barelli joined with other Franciscan tertiaries to form this group. In 1928, he guided the establishment of a men's branch of the Institute, led by the Servant of God, Giorgio La Pira, who was a member of the Italian Senate.
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Agostino Gemelli surrounded by some students
Gemelli founded the Catholic University in 1921, and soon gained the patronage of Pope Benedict XV. It was founded as an instrument of forming a new leadership class for a future Catholic state. This religiously-motivated political goal was intended to counteract the anti-clerical state established by the unifiers of modern Italy in 1860.
In 1929 the Holy See signed a Concordat with the government of Benito Mussolini, which made the Catholic Church the state religion of Italy. At that point, the university became a laboratory for Catholic social policies through which the church might bring the Fascist state in line with canon law and papal teachings. Gemelli taught as a Professor of Applied Psychology at the university.
Despite Gemelli’s accommodations to the state, he maintained relative autonomy for his university. This allowed the left-wing of the Christian Democratic Party to organize and develop at the Università Cattolica during Mussolini’s peak years.
It is well established that Gemelli was an antisemite: he wrote a viciously antisemitic article about the intellectual Felice Momigliano in 1924, and in 1938 supported the Fascist regime's racial laws, which were aimed primarily at Jews.
Gemelli is also considered one of the 20th century's most prominent Franciscans. He worked to reconcile Christian faith and modern culture, though questions have arisen about his political legacy in recent times.
Despite his many administrative duties as University Rector (which he performed until his death), Gemelli's endeavors involved both scientific and philosophical studies. At the request of Pope Pius XI, he also served as the first President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (1937). In addition, he wrote extensively on the contemporary meaning of Franciscan spirituality and was a pioneer in actively engaging the laity in the mission of the church.
Gemelli died in Milan on 15 July 1959.
Padre Pio controversy
Agostino Gemelli was a harsh critic of the character of the Capuchin Saint Pio, stating that Padre Pio was "an ignorant and self-mutilating psychopath who exploited people's credulity" with his stigmata. Gemelli's criticism is believed to have been instrumental in moving the Vatican to take various measures in censuring Padre Pio, including a prohibition on celebrating Mass in public.