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Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi

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Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi of Montecucolo; a Capuchin friar of the province of Bologna, date of birth uncertain; died at Genoa, 1692. In 1654 a band of friars was sent to the Congo to supply the place of those who had died or were incapacitated by sickness, and amongst the newcomers was Cavazzi. He suffered much on the long sea-voyage, yet his zeal was unabated when he landed in the Congo, where he laboured for many years with much spiritual fruit. Being invalided home, he was summoned by the Propaganda to give an account of the mission, and from this he got the idea of setting down in writing his observations and experiences. He produced a voluminous work, but had hardly finished it when he was again sent on the mission. The manuscript was entrusted by the superiors of the order to Fortunato da Bologna, who rewrote the book in more elegant style, and published it at Bologna in 1687 under the title "Istorica Descrizione de' Tre Regni Congo, Matamba et Angola ". The work is profusely illustrated. In the "Bibliotheca Scriptorum Ordinis" Fortunato da Bologna is stated to have rewritten an already published work of Cavazzi, but the "Bibliotheca" seems in error on this point, as may be gathered from Fortunato's prefatory remarks.

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