Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Francis Silvester

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(Ferrariensis).

Theologian, b. at Ferrara about 1474; d. at Rennes, 19 Sept., 1526. At the age of fourteen he joined the Dominican Order. In 1516 he was made a master in theology. He was prior first in his native city and then at Bologna, and in the provincial chapter held at Milan in 1519 he was chosen Vicar General of the Lombard congregation of his order. Having discharged this office for the allotted term of two years, he became regent of the college at Bologna where he remained for a considerable time. Later he was appointed by Clement VII vicar-general of his entire order, and on 3 June, 1525, in the general chapter held at Rome, he was elected master general. As general of his order he visited nearly all the convents of Italy, France, and Belgium, restoring everywhere primitive fervor and discipline. He was planning to begin a visitation of the Spanish convents, when a fatal illness carried him away. Albert Leander, his traveling companion, tells us that he was a man of remarkable mental endowments, that nature seemed to have enriched him with all her gifts. Silvester wrote many splendid works, principal among which is his monumental "Commentary on the Summa contra Gentiles of St. Thomas Aquinas" (Paris, 1552). Worthy of special mention are also his explanations of various books of Aristotle. In his "Apologia de convenientia institutorum Romanae Ecclesiae cum evangelica libertate" (Rome, 1525), written in a style clear, forceful and elegant, he ably defended the primacy and the organization of the church against Luther. Some have erroneously attributed this work to Silvester Prierias.

QUETIF-ECHARD, Script. Ord. Praed., II, 59 sq.; HURTER, Nomenclator.

Charles. J. Callan.