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A secular community founded in 1608 by the Duke of Mentone, Vincent Gonzaga, on the occasion of the marriage of his eldest son Francis II Gonzaga with Marguerite of Savoy. It was founded in honour of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, a relic of which has been venerated since time immemorial in the cathedral of Mentone. The emblems of the order consisted of a red silk robe and a golden necklace with a medal on which were figured three drops of blood in a monstrance. The duke was invested with these insignia by his son, Cardinal Ferdinand Gonzaga, and with the approbation of Paul V proclaimed grand master of the order, a dignity inherited by his successors in the duchy. The duke in turn distributed the same insignia to fourteen knights chosen from the highest nobility of Mentone and the neighbouring states. The statutes of the order obliged the members to devote themselves to the defence of religion, the Holy See and their sovereign. This order lasted only a century. It disappeared when the last of its dukes, Ferdinand Charles, having died childless, the Emperor Joseph I in 1708 merged the duchy into his hereditary estates.

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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

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Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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