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Wilhelm Lamormaini

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Confessor of Emperor Ferdinand II, b. 29 December, 1570, at Dochamps, Luxemburg ; d. at Vienna, 22 February, 1648. His father, Everard Germain, was a farmer and a native of La Moire Mannie: hence the name Lamormaini. Lamormaini studied first at the gymnasium of Trier, and thence went to Prague, where he received his doctor's degree, and in 1590 entered the Jesuit Order. Ordained priest in 1596, he was called to the University of Graz as professor of philosophy in 1600, became professor of theology in 1606, and in 1614 was appointed rector of the Jesuit College at the same place. Between the years 1621 and 1623 he was in Rome, but became in the latter year rector of the Jesuit college at Vienna, and in 1637 rector of the academic college in that city (the present university ). From 1643 to 1645 he was provincial of the Austrian province of his order, but was compelled to relinquish this office on account of the gout, which made his visitations a task of the greatest difficulty. During the last years of his life, he established a seminary for poor students in Vienna, the "Ignatius- und Franciskus-Seminarium für Stipendisten". After the death of his fellow Jesuit Martin Becanus in 1624, he became the confessor of Ferdinand II, and as such his name appears in the political affairs of the time. He was an esteemed and influential counselor of the emperor, so much so indeed that his enemies affirmed that it was not the emperor, but the Jesuits who ruled the empire. When the Protestants were compelled to give up all ecclesiastical property taken from the Catholics (Edict of Restitution, 1629), Lamormaini was influential in having it used for the propagation of the Catholic Faith. He also took part in the proceedings against Wallenstein (Jan., 1634). He was offered a large sum by the Senate of Hamburg in recognition of his services on the occasion of the election of Ferdinand III as King of Rome. The city of Augsburg, in gratitude for the services he had rendered to it, erected a costly altar in the church of the Viennese Novitiate. On one occasion only was he placed in an unpleasant position, namely when the Spaniards accused him of espousing the cause of their enemies, the French, and tried to have him banished from court. But Lamormaini was able to vindicate himself. By his advice many Jesuit institutions were established in the empire. He took a leading part in the Counter-Reformation in Austria, Styria, Bohemia, and Moravia. Only a part of the biography of Ferdinand II upon which Lamormaini labored appeared, "Ferdinand II, Romanorum Imperatoris, Virtutes" (1638); this has been republished frequently, and in different languages. Lamormaini was scholarly, pious, unpretentious, and upright. He was called by Urban VIII "verus et omnibus numeris absolutus Jesu socius", a true and perfect companion of Jesus. That he was immoral, that he received hush-money, and that he stirred up his brethren to lie and deceive or to use violence against heretics, are unfounded tales that call for no mention in serious history.

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