A number of important religious orders were started during the Counter-Reformation. A number of these religious orders were established which concentrated on helping the sick and needy in their own locality. The people in these religious orders did not question Catholic ideology though they were concerned about the direction the Church was going in. Their work satisfied the Catholic belief in “salvation through good works’ and improved Catholic standing in cities such as Rome, Milan and Augsburg.
The Rome Oratory later formed the Theatines and one of the Theatines founders was Caraffa. This group wanted to advertise to the local population in Rome how good priests should live and work by setting examples in pastoral care and spiritual learning. But the Theatines were few in number and therefore of limited influence. In 1524, the group received Papal approval.
The Ursulines were founded in Brescia in 1535. It was an order for women. They worked among the poor and founded a school for poor children. They were to become a major teaching order.
The Somaschi were founded in 1530 in Venetia and they concentrated on helping orphans.
The Barnabites were founded in c1530 in Milan and they concentrated on pastoral care.
All the above were attempts to rediscover the original spirit of friars and they also sought to spread the true Catholic faith.
Some of the old orders also responded by modernising themselves. The Capuchins came from the Franciscans in 1528. They cared for the sick and needy and provided comfort especially to lepers.
They expanded rapidly after 1570. However, most old orders failed to copy this example and it was the new orders that set a better example to the laity. The most obvious example of this is the Society of Jesus; better known as the Jesuits.