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Cardinal, prince, archbishop, and Jesuit, b. at Rome, 5 March, 1786; d. at Modena, 17 August, 1841. His father, Duke of Sirmien, Prince of the Roman Empire, was a man of culture and attended personally to Carlo's education. He early manifested a religious vocation. Ordained priest, he said his first Mass, 1 January, 1809. He won the confidence of many souls, among others, a young cleric afterwards Pius IX, and later he ordained priest Gioacchino Pecci, eventually Leo XIII. Odescalchi was in the suite of Pius VII during the perilous times that preceded the pope's captivity, and after his release, he was rapidly promoted, and sent twice on special missions to Vienna. In 1823 he was created cardinal and immediately afterwards Archbishop of Ferrara, but he remained with the pope who was then dying. He devoted himself to his see with apostolic energy, until he resigned (1826). Returning to Rome he was made Bishop of Sabina, prefect of several congregations, and became protector and promoter of many good works. He was in the conclaves for the election of Leo XII, Pius VIII, and Gregory XVI. Cardinal Wiseman testifies to the general confidence reposed in his virtue and high principle on these occasions. When the Society of Jesus was restored by Pius VII (1814), Odescalchi had resolved to join it, and a cell had been prepared for him at Sant' Andrea. But the pope would not then allow him to enter, nor would Gregory permit it (1837), a commission of four cardinals, appointed to consider the question, having reported in the negative. Finally permission to resign the cardinalitial dignity having been given in full consistory (1839), Odescalchi entered the novitiate at Verona, and after a short probation was devoting himself to various ministries when he died. As a youth he had published the not unimportant "Memorie istorico-critiche dell' Academia de'Lincei" (Rome, 1806) and as Bishop of Sabina his "Massime sacerdotali" (Rome, 1834).
Berlendis, Memorie edificanti del P. C. Odescalchi (Rome, 1842-), Eng. tr. ed. Faber (London, 1840); Angelini-Rota, Storia del R. P. C. Odescalchi (Rome, 1850).