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Confraternities

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A confraternity is a voluntary organisation of lay people who are gathered to do good deeds (as defined by the church). Working together, they are able to accomplish greater things than they would be able to do individually. For example, the Confraternita di San Camillo sponsors a paupers' hospital in Vanzenia, and ensures that there is care available to even the very poor in the city. Others sponsor festivals, offer charity for the poor, bury paupers, pray for the souls of the living or the dead, or encourage the arts. Some confraternities are powerful social organisations, whose members reap immense benefits from the connections that they make, and may also engage in trade or other enterprises together; others have anonymous membership. A confraternity may be open to all, or it may be restricted by social class, sex, age or citizenship: however, they tend to be one of the more 'open' institutions, where people of all parts of society can work together for the public good…