Cajetan began his professional life as a lawyer. After his ordination at age 36, he was engaged in the work of the Roman Curia.
While in Rome he joined the Oratory of Divine Love, a group devoted to piety and charity.
When he was 42, he founded a hospital for incurables in Venice. Cajetan purposely sought to serve the ill and poverty stricken. He came under considerable criticism when he became part of a “disreputable” religious community in the city of Vicenza that consisted only of men of the lowest socio-economic classes. His friends thought this association was a terrible reflection on his family.
During this time, Protestantism was on the rise and the church was in real crisis. Cajetan and three friends committed themselves to reformation through reviving the spirit and zeal of the clergy. They founded a congregation known as the Theatines — from Teate (Chieti) where their first superior-bishop had his see. One of the friends later became Pope Paul IV.
When Emperor Charles V’s troops sacked Rome in 1527, the Teatines fled to Venice after the destruction of their house in Rome. The Theatines made significant contributions to the Catholic reform movements.
In Naples Cajetan founded a monte de pieta — “mountain or fund of piety” — a nonprofit credit organization that lent money using the collateral of pawned“objects. The purpose was to help the poor and protect them against usurers. This organization evolved over time into the Bank of Naples.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini