Biographical Note/Scope and Content

 Papers of a longtime executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and representative of the Vatican to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, documenting his efforts to promote rural development and food supply throughout the world. Included are general correspondence and subject files, manuscripts, photographs, diaries, and tape-recorded recollections. Of note are files on the Granger Homesteads, a rural housing development initiated by Ligutti in 1933, and his investigation of the management of church property in Malta (1969-1971).

A substantial number of letters, memoranda, and reports are in Italian. This has hindered efforts to properly file loose documents.

Related material is in the National Catholic Rural Life Conference Records in this repository and in the Monsignor Luigi Ligutti - Vatican Council II Collection at the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, the Catholic University of America.

Donated by Msgr. Luigi G. Ligutti, 1976. Additions received from Walter Persegati, 1984.

Processed by Phil Runkel, 2008-2010. Files that clearly pertain to official business of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference were transferred to appropriate series in that collection. Routine correspondence and reference files were discarded.


Biographical Note

1895 Born March 21, Romans, Province of Udine, Italy
1912 Migrated to United States, settling in Des Moines, Iowa
1914 Received B.A. from St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa
1917 Graduated from St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore; ordained priest
1918 Received M.A. from the Catholic University of America
1918-20 Instructor at Dowling High School, Des Moines, Iowa
1920-26 Pastor at Woodbine, Iowa; diocesan priest of the Archdiocese of Des Moines
1926-40 Pastor at Granger, Iowa
1933 Sponsored and organized Granger Homesteads
1937 Elected president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC)
1941 Appointed executive secretary of the NCRLC
1949 Appointed executive director of the NCRLC and official permanent observer (representative) of the Vatican to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
1959 Assumed newly-created position of director of international affairs for the NCRLC and moved to Rome
1962-65 "Peritus" (consultant) for three commissions of the Second Vatican Council
1969-71 Served as Apostolic Visitor in Malta
1971 Founded Agrimissio
1983 Died December 28, Rome


See also:

Mary Roger Madden. "Ligutti, Luigi";; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. Access Date: Thu Aug 12 11:43:37 CDT 2010 Fri May 28 10:03:56 CDT 2010 Copyright © 2000 American Council of Learned Societies. Published by Oxford University Press

Miller, Raymond W. Monsignor Ligutti, the Pope's County Agent. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1981

Yzermans, Vincent A. The People I Love: A Biography of Luigi G. Ligutti. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976


Scope and Content


Series 1.1, General Correspondence, Outgoing, 1922-1982, relates largely to rural development issues and projects; there is a smattering of more personal correspondence. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series 1.2, General Correspondence, Incoming, 1917-1983, relates largely to rural development issues and projects; there is a smattering of more personal correspondence. Of special interest is a handwritten letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Victor Emanuel, dated 5 December 1954, in support of a rural life congress LGL was organizing in Panama. Other notable correspondents include Rev. William Gibbons, SJ, Msgr. Joseph Gremillion, Cardinal Giovanni Montini (Pope Paul VI), James Norris, and Msgr. Edward Swanstrom. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Series 2, Diaries, 1911, 1926, 1936-1981, chronicles LGL's meetings, trips, and other activities. Entries for the last three years are in Italian, and presumably in the hand of his secretary, Walter Persegati.

Series 3, Subject Files, 1911-1980, pertains for the most part to LGL's international work, including the founding and development of Agrimissio (which provided technical assistance and educational programs for missionaries), service as the Vatican's representative to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, adviser at the Second Vatican Council, and initiator of a major study of socio-religious conditions in Latin America.

Series 4, Granger Homesteads Project Files, 1926-1940, 1945, undated, documents the founding and administration of the first rural housing development of the Roosevelt administration, initiated by LGL in 1933 for seasonally-unemployed coal miners in his parish near Des Moines, Iowa. Notable correspondents include Harold Ickes and Eleanor Roosevelt; the latter visited the Granger Homesteads in June 1936. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject and type of document.

Series 5, Malta Investigation Files, 1968-1973, 1975, documents LGL's efforts to reform the management of church property in Malta as Apostolic Visitor for the Vatican from June 1969 to March 1971, when his mission was terminated amid controversy. Included are letters, memoranda, newspaper clippings, notes, and reports, filed by type or document. The original arrangement has been retained. The original inventory prepared for LGL lists 20 folders which are incomplete or missing in their entirety from the files shipped to the Archives.

Series 6, Manuscripts, Published Articles and Letters to the Editor, and Speeches, 1909-1975, undated, contains LGL's published writings, speeches and unpublished manuscripts. (Publications issued by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference are in its files.) The series is arranged by type of document and chronologically thereunder.

Series 7, Travel Letters, 1945-1957, 1965, consists of lengthy reports on LGL's travels abroad which he circulated to friends and associates.

Series 8, Photographs, 1914-1980, includes photos of the Granger Homesteads and of LGL on trips, with Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, and posing for portraits.

Series 9, Oral History Recordings and Transcripts, 1970-1974, undated, consists of audiocassette tapes and/or transcripts of interviews of LGL and his associates, all but one by or for his biographer, Msgr. Vincent Yzermans, and the transcript of LGL's self-taped recollections of events from 1926 to 1952, based upon his diaries.

Series 10, Writings about Ligutti, 1935-1985, n.d., contains newspaper and magazine articles.