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Catholic Dictionary




The person who originally establishes any institution or enterprise that continues and flourishes after his or her time. The term is commonly applied to Christ as the founder of the Church. Also refers to the man or woman who begins a religious order or congregation, either by writing the original rule, as did St. Benedict (480-547), or by establishing a specific institute, as did the numerous founders of existing communities. It is equally applicable to those who inaugurate any one of the large number of associations, societies, or institutes flourishing in the Catholic Church.