Antonio Rosmini Serbati was born 24 March 1797, at Rovereto, in the Austrian Tyrol. He studied at the University of Padua, and was ordained priest at Chioggia, 21 April 1821. In 1822 he received a Doctorate in Theology and Canon Law. During this time Rosmini formulated his "Principle of Passivity". Rosmini felt compelled to ask himself: Do my plans spring more from my own subjective desire to do good than from a desire to do the will of God?”. Reflecting in this way, Rosmini articulated the principle in two parts: be ready to undertake any work of charity but only so long as it is God’s Providence that presents it; in the meantime, immerse oneself in the commitment to continual conversion, seeking the amendment of one’s own life.
The Institute of Charity
In 1828 he founded at Monte Calvario near Domodossola, a new religious community, the Institute of Charity, known generally since as the Rosminians. In the autumn of 1830 he inaugurated the observance of the rule at Calvario, and from 1834 to 1835 had charge of a parish at Rovereto. Later foundations followed at Stresa and Domodossola. The Constitutions of the institute were approved by presented to Pope Gregory XVI on 20 December 1838. The institute spread rapidly in England and Italy, and requests for foundations came from various countries.