Ingawa walishika imani sahihi ya Kanisa Katoliki walitiwa mara nyingi shaka juun ya jambo hilo kwa sababu ya kuhimiza wakleri na waumini wengine kuachana na utajiri ili kuishi pasipo makuu kama walivyodai kwa nguvu zaidi Wavaldo na wengine waliohukumiwa na mamlaka ya Kanisa kama wazushi.
- Their name “Humiliati” is said to have arisen from their very simple clothes, which were all of one colour against the fashions of the day.
- The order grew rapidly, and a good number of its members were declared Saints and Blessed. It also formed trades associations among the people, and played an important part in the civic life of every community in which they were established. It has left some fine church buildings still in use today.
- The Humiliati rule forbade vain oaths and the taking of God‘s name in vain; allowed voluntary poverty and marriage; regulated pious exercises; and approved the solidarity which already existed among the members of the association. Unusual was the authorization to meet on Sundays to hear the words of a brother “of proved faith and prudent piety”, on condition that they not discuss among themselves either the articles of faith or the sacraments.
- A decretal promulgated in 1184 by Pope Lucius III at the Council of Verona against all heretics condemns both the “Poor Men of Lyons” and “those who attribute to themselves falsely the name of Humiliati”.
- The fraternity spread rapidly and gave rise to two new branches, a “second order” composed of women, and a “third order” composed of priests. The order of priests, once formed, claimed precedence over the other branches, and on the model of mendicant orders such as the Dominicans or the Franciscans, was styled the “first order”. Their original ashen habit was replaced by a white one. In the course of time the accumulation of material possessions and the limitations placed on the number of members admitted (for at one time there were only about 170 in the 94 monasteries) led to laxity and serious abuses. St Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, was commissioned by Pope Pius V to remedy the situation. The rigour with which he did this roused such opposition among a minority that a conspiracy was formed and one of the Humiliati, a certain Girolamo Donati, called Farina, attempted to murder Charles. This led to the execution of the chief conspirators by the civil authorities and the suppression of the order by a Bull of Pius V issued on February 8, 1571. Their houses and possessions were bestowed on other religious orders, including the Barnabites and Jesuits, or applied to charity.
- The wives of the first Humiliati, who belonged to some of the principal families of Milan, also formed a community under Clara Blassoni, and were joined by so many others that it became necessary to open a second convent, the members of which devoted themselves to the care of the lepers in a neighbouring hospital, whence they were also known as Hospitallers of the Observance. The number of their monasteries increased rapidly, but the suppression of the male branch of the order, which had administered their temporal affairs, proved a heavy blow, involving in many cases the closing of monasteries, though the congregation itself was not affected by the Bull of suppression. The nuns recited the canonical Hours, fasted rigorously and engaged in other severe penitential practices, such as the “discipline” or self-inflicted whipping. Some retained the ancient Breviary of the order, while other houses adopted the Roman Breviary. The habit consisted of a robe and scapular of white over a tunic of ashen grey, the veils being usually white, though in some houses black. The lay sisters, who retained the name of Barettine, wore grey. In the early 20th century, there were still five independent houses of Humiliati nuns in Italy.