Antonio Rosmini, Catholic priest and founder of the Institute of Charity (a religious congregation), dedicated a great part of his considerable intellectual ability to the study of philosophy. In particular, he wished to lay firm foundations for an objective philosophy which would serve as an antidote to the seed of scepticism sown by the Enlightenment. For him, philosophy, science and faith, which separated finally and disastrously in the 19th century, could be and should be complementary in the search for knowledge. Faith and reason were for Rosmini "like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth". Despite opposition from secular opponents and from within the ranks of his fellow-churchmen, Rosmini never wavered in his aim. Except in Italy, however, and to a certain extent in nineteenth century England, Rosmini's proposals fell on deaf ears.
Today, the urgency, importance and relevancy of Rosmini's task and endeavour have finally been recognised, at least by co-religionists. The fruitful relationship between philosophy and faith is seen "in the courageous research pursued by more recent thinkers, among whom I gladly mention…Antonio Rosmini…in referring to these I intend not to endorse every aspect of their thought, but simply to offer significant examples of a process of philosophical enquiry which was enriched by engaging the data of faith. One thing is certain: attention to the spiritual journey of these masters can only give greater momentum to both the search for truth and the effort to apply the results of that search to the service of humanity" (Fides et Ratio, 74).
Antonio Rosmini went to Monte Calvario, Domodossola, at the beginning of Lent 1828 , and during his time of solitude he wrote the first draft of the Constitutions of the Institute of Charity. At that time also he wrote the Maxims of Christian Perfection which forms the basis of his ascetical writing.
Rosmini envisaged the Institute as being of great service to the Church. The scope of its charity is universal. No work of charity, corporal, intellectual or pastoral, is excluded. In general terms the Institute is ready for anything, but once the nature of the work is made manifest it concentrates on equipping its members for that particular work.