Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara - EDGARDO REFUSES to ESCAPE

In his 1873 book on Pius IX, Karl Benzinger included this illustration of Papal soldiers to demonstrate how they appeared during the pontificate of Pius IX. By 1888, the Papcy had appointed Benzinger Brothers (a company with roots in Switzerland) as “The Pontifical Institute of Church Art.” (See American Art, by Saul Zalesch, Vol. 13, No. 2 [Summer, 1999], pp. 58-79.)  Online via Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image for a better view.


After the Papal States fell, Edgardo (then nineteen) was still at San Pietro in Vincoli. His brother Riccardo, an officer in the Italian army sent to liberate Rome, finally had a chance to free his brother.

Wearing his soldier's uniform, Riccardo went to San Pietro as soon as he could. He was shocked at what he found.

Edgardo told the story years later. At first, he did not recognize Riccardo. Who was this person barging into his rooms wearing the "uniform of an assassin" (a soldier's uniform)? When he learned this Italian soldier was his brother, Edgardo made clear he would not leave the church. He was wearing religious robes when Riccardo found him.

For twelve years, the Mortara family had waited for this moment. They, their family and friends around the world had prayed for the opportunity of escape. They prayed for the time of freedom. But Edgardo was now a young man who could make decisions for himself. Freedom for Edgardo meant remaining a Catholic priest.

His family had never anticipated that outcome!

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jul 06, 2019

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"EDGARDO REFUSES to ESCAPE" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2001. Jan 28, 2020.
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