The Worshipful Company of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Spirit, also called the White Company

In 1348, Tuscany, and especially around the Florentine area, was struck by a terrible plague. The contagion was so widespread that the situation had become uncontrollable, many people were dying for lack of food, medicine and assistance not only material but also spiritual, not being able to receive the Sacraments of the Church. It was then that twenty-four men of Signa made the decision to join the company to make up for these deficiencies in helping the poor lepers. Led by their leader, a certain Hugh, went to the Convent of the Order of Friars Selve del Carmine to seek advice from a respected religious Friar Pietruccio. The favorable opinion, he confessed, and took the Communion from the hand of Fra 'Pietruccio, except that such a Morozzo claimed to have done so recently, you gave a promise to help one another as possible in their enterprise and, dressed in white, with the uniform which were distinguished, began their work of assistance throughout the even pushing to Empoli and Montelupo. Was born in 1348, at the time of the plague, the Society of the White, the color of the dress, such as religious confraternity composed of lay people, in order to help those who were infected, or because of the plague died and then had to be buried, but with the comfort given by religion, as well as in the same period the Brotherhood of Mercy was born in Florence, with the exact same purpose and goals, but with one difference: the robe, black, with the "funny" black, for the Mercy in Florence, white, with the "funny" white for the Company in Signa, since then called "Whites". The establishment of companies was much in use at that time if you think that a Signa, in addition to this, there was the Company of the Good Death which had its headquarters in the Castle and the Society of Corpus Christi to San Miniato. This tradition goes back to 1251 when, as stated in the "History of Florence Wonderful" the Bargellini, first was established in Florence, the "Compagnia di Santa Maria Maggiore", founded by the Dominican Peter of Verona, which declared the purpose to assist abandoned children and old. By the Compagnia di Santa Maria there arose another, also placed under the protection of Our Lady: the "Company of the Virgin Mary of Mercy", the precursor to the current Mercy. Popular tradition says the Bargellini, attributes its foundation to such a Luca Borsi, porter of the Wool Guild, which, among other things, would have had the curious idea of fining the blasphemers who attended the Cellar Adimari finally to collect money for the purchase of "zane" suitable to transport the sick and wounded to the hospital and the dead to the cemetery. In this spirit, supported by a strong Christian faith, the twenty-four men of Signa began their work. They had the task of "rescue and help all those who found themselves in need of spiritual and material matters." Their way into the homes of plague victims to heal them, they ministered to the sick, accompanied the dead to the cemetery. The Fellowship of the Whites had its first official recognition on the occasion of a great procession called in 1348 to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Giovanna it-to stop the plague. It is said that on that occasion the priest gave a kiss to all the arms of the Blessed, Morozzo but when he approached them he was rejected by an invisible force. He tried three times, but in vain. At that point he confessed his guilt publicly, said that he had lied to the Convent of the Selve, who were well twenty years since I approached the sacrament of penance, he told all his sins and, in the space of three days, he died. Many followed the example of the generous men and the company became so large as to be one of the most important in the area. It had its first seat in the parish church of St. John and then moved to the church of San Lorenzo. Then changed his name, becoming the Company of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Spirit. His work has continued over the centuries to the present day. Of course today its functions are a little 'changed, but its action is always based on works of charity and worship. It is very common to see today during a funeral a "brother" that accompanies the coffin to the cemetery as it was then, although we can say that the current most important function of the Society is that it is "custodian of the traditions and promoting the festivities that during the centuries have always maintained with solemn processions. " It is in fact the organizer of the feast of the Blessed Giovanna, along with the historical parade of Signa. And the oldest association which still operates in the town of Signa. The Company has its own particular organization and is based on strict rules, obedience, respect and silence in the church, not criticizing the "officers" responsible for the organization of the Company, which, if not met, provide radiation from the group, codified in Chapters, a kind of statute of the association. From the "Chapters" states that their organization is this. The Company is incorporated in the seat, comparable to the Board of Directors of an association today, with officers of officers of Major and Minor. These charges are taken until an election can participate who has over twenty years. More the officers are: Superintendent, who collects the money, but cannot spend it on his own initiative and that can be replaced by two counselors who give him the change, and the Governor, who has the task of maintaining order in the Company and oversee its good performance, the Camarlingo, which spends the money, and it is a bit 'like the President, the corrector, which is the parish priest, and has the task of officiating the Masses, to confess the "brothers", watch the procession. Lower the officers are: Sextons, which are two and shall keep in order the church to prepare for elections, to ring the bells, in order to keep the headquarters of the Society, Nurses, which are two, and visit the sick and the poor or do chores to someone, the Companions, who are eight and carry in procession the Crucifix, the Cross Domains and lanterns. The Society are allowed men and women. The Venerable Seat fixes the rate by which you can remain ordinary members. The Novices need to do a year of internship, and at the feast of Corpus Christi, being dressed by their elder brothers acquiring the right to be part of the seat and put on sackcloth color white It was a spring morning, when the facts tell that occurred. Before we begin, we want to remember, however, the time and the events that led to them. One of our great literature has already done so before us, and it dutifully with his words that begin the narrative, aware that many revive the school memories. This is the "Introduction to the First Day" of the "Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio. "... I say, then, that these were the years of the beatific incarnation of the Son of God had reached a 1348 when in the illustrious city of Florence, in addition to any Italic noble, made its appearance that deadly pestilence, which operation or de 'Corps superiors or to our lawless deeds of righteous wrath of God in our correction sent upon us mortals ... "and then continues:" ... not therefore less of anything near spare the countryside, in which (leaving star small villages, which were similar in their smallness to the city) for the scattered villas and camps for the poor and needy workers and their families, without any effort to help the doctor or servant, for the streets and they tilled their day and night alike for homes not as men, but rather as beasts ... " Here, we take now the story of that morning of the year 1348, while in the cities and in the countryside, the plague was raging. A group of men, twenty-four to be exact, all of Signa, united by the same intent of providing aid and comfort to those who had been affected by this disease, led by a man named Uguccio, they went down to the coast and across the bridge over ' Arno, went up to the Convent of the Selve, located on the hill opposite the Castle of Signa. Here they met with Friar Pietruccio Order of Carmelite Friars, known for his charisma. He demanded the blessing and spiritual guidance. He confessed and communicated all, with the exception of Morozzo You tend to Signa, who said that he had confessed to lying. He was later punished for his lies, as described in "The Life and Works of the Blessed Giovanna", manuscript of the tenth century IV. Promise fidelity to the commitment made in the course of its ability in carrying out this work of mercy, they walked to their mission and put on sackcloth, white. They went to Signa and territory of Gangalandi, till at Empoli and Montelupo Castle and the surrounding territories, helping all those who need it both in body and in spirit. This story is our story. The l remember that we can decipher, each in our hearts, it is in essence a memory of our people. Bibliography Moreno Benelli and Remo Vannini of the Archaeological Group of Signa.

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