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Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood
Confraternities which made it their special object to venerate the Blood of Christ first arose in Spain. In the life of the Carmelite lay brother, Francis of the Infant Jesus (d. 1601), mention is made of such a confraternity as existing in Valencia. A few years later they must have been quite numerous, for it is said of the Carmelite Anna of St. Augustine (d. 1624), that "she received with hospitality those who went about collecting alms for the confraternities of the Precious Blood erected in many places". Ravenna, Italy possessed one at a very early date. Another was erected in Rome under Gregory XIII and confirmed by Sixtus V, but merged later on with the Gonfalour. The archconfraternity as it now exists owes its origin to Mgr. Albertini, then priest at San Nicola in Carcere, Rome, where since 1708 devotions in honour of the Precious Blood had been held. Deeply moved by the temporal and spiritual misery caused by the French Revolution, he united, 8 December, 1808, into a society such as were willing to meditate frequently on the Passion and to offer up to the Divine Father the Blood of His Son, in expiation of their sins, for the conversion of sinners, for the great wants of the Church, and the souls in purgatory. He composed for them the "Chaplet of the Precious Blood" which they were to recite during his daily Mass. The confraternity was canonically erected by Pius VII through his cardinal vicar, 27 February, 1809, raised to the rank of an archconfraternity, 26 September, 1815, and enriched with numerous indulgences. Pius IX increased the privileges, 19 January, 1850, and 30 September, 1852. In England it was erected in the church of St. Wilfrid, Staffordshire, 1847, but was transferred to the church of the London Oratory (12 August, 1850). Previous to this it had been introduced into America by the Passionists, and canonically erected in the numerous houses and parishes founded by them after their arrival (1844). As a rule they enroll such as desire it at the end of their missions.
SEEBERGER, Key to the Spiritual Treasure (Collegeville, Ind.), 1-11, 372-80, 462; BERINGER, Die Ablässe (Paderborn), 607-10.
Ulrich F. Mueller.