Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo


Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo
Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo

Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo was born in 1786 at Bra in Piedmont, Italy. As a secular priest in Turin, he showed a special concern for the sick poor, receiving them into a small house.

This Little House of Divine Providence, thePiccola Casa, as he called it, was the beginning of an entire city of more than 7,000 poor persons, orphans, sick and lame, retarded, penitents, served by several religious Orders.

These were distinguished by their names and their religious habits, each group being dedicated to a specific work they were assigned to do.

And of this Piccola Casa, as it is still called, one can say what Saint Gregory Nazienzen said in his funeral eulogy of his friend Saint Basil’s large hospital: Go a little way outside the city and se, in this new city storehouses of piety, the common treasure of the owners, where a surplus of wealth has been laid up, where sickness is borne with patience, misfortune is considered happiness, and compassion is efficaciously practiced.

For this ever more pressing work, the Saint founded fourteen religious communities which today are still very widespread, especially in Italy.

Among them were some which were purely contemplative; the life of prayer its members led was destined to draw down upon the others the blessing of heaven, thus completing by a spiritual work of mercy the corporal works exercised there.

These religious prayed in particular for those who have the greatest need of assistance, the dying and the deceased.

The Saint trusted totally in the infinite kindness of God, and as one of his friends said, he had more confidence in God than did the entire city of Turin.

When he was asked about the source of his revenues, he answered, Providence sends me everything.

Confidence in God did not, however, cause him to cross his arms and observe. He slept only a few hours, often on a chair or bench, and then returned to his daily labor, work and prayer.

But Saint Joseph Benedict was exhausting his strength.

In 1842, the doctors decided that he should go to visit his brother in Chieri.

When he entered the carriage, one of the Sisters cried out in tears: Father, you are sick; what will become of us?

Be at peace, he answered. When I am in heaven, where one can do everything, I will help you more than now I do. I will hold to the cloak of the Mother of God and keep my eyes fixed on you. Do not forget what I, a poor old man, say to you today!

A few days later, on April 30, 1842, death came.

The final word of this great Saint was that of the Psalm: I rejoiced when it was said unto me, Let us go unto the House of the Lord!

Saint Joseph Benedict was canonized by Pope Pius XI, March 19, 1934.

(SOURCE: Le vrai visage des Saints, by W. Schamoni (Desclée De Brouwer: Bruges, 1955).)




“Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing.

I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

This I command you: love one another.”” – John 15:12-17.


Blessed Luchesio

Confesseur, First Franciscan Tertiary
(† 1241)

Blessed Luchesio
Blessed Luchesio

Luchesio was a merchant of Poggibonzi, a city not far from Siena, Italy, who found politics and commerce more interesting than the service of God and the salvation of his soul.

This man had a very dear wife by the name of Bona Dona, and he possessed a prosperous business.

But neither the joys of his home life nor the success of his commerce had satisfied his ambition, since he felt destined for a brilliant public life, and desired to enter into the society of the rich.

To attain that goal, he was striving to increase his receipts by unjust practices and rash speculations.

To make matters worse, he joined the fratricidal combats between the city-states which were wreaking havoc and ruin on the Italian peninsula.

Saint Francis of Assisi was traveling about in Toscany, however, announcing the Word of God and calling souls to penance. Sometime around 1221 he came to Poggibonzi, and the whole population turned out to hear him, including the merchant Luchesio.

The gift to touch his heart was given Saint Francis, with the grace of God.

How fail to be touched, indeed, hearing the Saint preach on “that Being without beginning or end, immutable and inexpressible, ineffable, incomprehensible, beyond the grasp of creatures, Who is blessed, praised, glorious, exalted, sublime, most-high, lovable, delectable, and forever worthy above all else, of being sought and desired!

And after his sermon Francis saw Luchesio come to introduce himself, asking what he should do to gain Heaven.

Saint Francis at that moment had a revelation from on High. By it he understood that Luchesio was to be the one who first of all would adopt the Rule of the third Order, which for some time he had been intending to initiate.

And he went to visit Luchesio at his home and made known his plans to him and his wife: “For quite some time I have been thinking of establishing a Third Order, by means of which people living in the world, and in particular those who are married ,will be enabled to serve God more perfectly. I think you could do no better work than to inaugurate it.Immediately Luchesio and Bona Dona accepted the proposition.

Soon afterward, the Saint received them with joy and gave them habits made of a plain cloth, with a cord for cincture.

He also gave them the rules which later were approved by Pope Nicolas IV, and of which it has been said that justice and democracy in Italy had their source in the little notebook where the Saint wrote down the Rule of the Third Order.

The happy new tertiaries resolved to give all their fortune to the poor, reserving for themselves only their house and a garden which they could maintain without hired help.

After this, Luchesio completely abandoned politics and business to concern himself only with his salvation and the works of mercy.

This speculator well-known as such to his co-citizens, this man formerly so harsh towards others and avid for profit, became the just and charitable Christian of that city, and his house, which was the place of reunion for the first Fraternity, also became known as”The Inn for the Poor.

He not only received the poor into his house, he went out to search for the sick in swampy regions infected with malaria, and became their Providence also in their abandonment.

He would go out with a little donkey to procure, or beg if necessary, what was needed for their convalescence. In this Bona Dona seconded him with all her strength.

He was a great penitent, and had the gift of mental prayer extending even to ecstasy; yet it was charity which remains his most memorable quality.

He and his beloved spouse fell ill on the same day; declining rapidly, Luchesio sent for their Franciscan chaplain.

Having received from the priest the Last Sacraments, he heard that Bona Dona was in agony.

He found the strength to go to her and take her hands in his, encouraging her to her very last breath.

Carried back to his bed, he gave up his blessed soul to God, without further delay.

The only glory that Luchesio could not evade was that of having been the first member of the Third Order of Saint Francis which has saved so many souls: he stands at the head of the providential offshoot planted at Poggiabonsi.

In the 13th century already, fourteen beatified or canonized tertiaries are counted.

In 1694 the Friars Minor obtained from Pope Innocent XII permission to celebrate a feast day in honor of Blessed Luchesio, on the 28th of April.

He was chosen by his native city as its patron, and his feast day is one of obligation there.

(SOURCE: Mgr Paul Guérin, Les Petits Bollandistes, Vol. V, p. 65. Revue du Tiers-Ordre et de la Terre-Sainte, 1902, “Le bienheureux Luchesio, p. 150-154; 1911, p. 443. R.P. Damase Danveau, O.F.M., À la suite de Saint François: le Tiers-Ordre. Éditions o.f.m. de Paris, 1941; p. 44, 64.)


Our Lady of Good Counsel


Our Lady of Good Counsel
Our Lady of Good Counsel

The apparition of Our Lady of Good Counsel is so celebrated, Her picture so well known and so honored in the Church, that it is very fitting to allot a place to this devotion. The little city of Gennazano, situated on the mountains of the former Sabina province, about ten leagues from Rome, for a thousand years already had honored the Blessed Virgin asOur Lady of Good Counsel.

In the 15thcentury, the church of that city was dilapidated and about to collapse.

A pious woman of advanced age named Petruccia desired to provide for its reconstruction, but the gift of her entire fortune, which she made for this purpose, proved insufficient. Petruccia foretold that the Blessed Virgin would Herself finish the work.

Then on April 25, 1467, at the hour of Vespers, a celestial harmony was heard in the air, and the crowd saw a brilliant cloud coming down through the air, which came to rest over the altar in the Chapel of Saint Blaise in the Gennazano Church, where the restoration had begun.

At the same time, all the church bells began to ring joyously. The cloud disappeared, and the marveling crowd saw a picture of Mary holding the Child Jesus, painted on a prepared surface, suspended in the air over the altar near the wall, without any natural support.

It was duly verified that this picture had been miraculously transported from a church of Scutari, a city of Albania. Providence, wishing to preserve it from profanation by the Turks who were controlling that land, sent it as a reward for the faith of Petruccia and her fellow citizens of Gennazano.

A history of the marvels of all kinds which have been wrought since that time near this miraculous picture, suspended in the air, would require volumes.

Often the picture has been seen to change its expression, the eyes of the Blessed Virgin taking on an appearance of joy or sorrow.

How many illnesses and infirmities have been cured!

How many spiritual graces have been obtained!

Gennazano in Italy is still a venerated pilgrimage site, much frequented by the people of that land, and many pious pilgrims from other nations, when time permits it for them, arrange to visit this blessed sanctuary.

The Sovereign Pontiffs have granted many indulgences to devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the title Mother of Good Counsel was included in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin by Pope Leo XIII.

(SOURCE: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).)


“Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’

If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.

I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming.

He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”” – John 14:27-31a.


“Jesus said to the eleven: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.

These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.

They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.

They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.

But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” – Mark 16:15-20.



“Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.

The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.

He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God).

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away.”

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”” – Revelation 21:1-5a.


“Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.

Where (I) am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.”” – John 14:1-6.


Saint Anselm

Archbishop of Canterbury


Saint Anselm was a native of Piedmont. When as a boy of fifteen he was forbidden to enter religion after the death of his good Christian mother, for a time he lost the fervor she had imparted to him.

He left home and went to study in various schools in France; at length his vocation revived, and he became a monk at Bec in Normandy, where he had been studying under the renowned Abbot Lanfranc.

The fame of his sanctity in this cloister led King William Rufus of England, when dangerously ill, to take him for his confessor and afterwards to name him to the vacant see of Canterbury to replace his own former master, Lanfranc, who had been appointed there before him.

He was consecrated in December, 1093.

Then began the strife which characterized Saint Anselm’s episcopate.

The king, when restored to health, lapsed into his former sins, continued to plunder the Church lands, scorned the archbishop’s rebukes, and forbade him to go to Rome for the pallium.

Finally the king sent envoys to Rome for the pallium; a legate returned with them to England, bearing it.

The Archbishop received the pallium not from the king’s hand, as William would have required, but from that of the papal legate.

For Saint Anselm’s defense of the Pope’s supremacy in a Council at Rockingham, called in March of 1095, the worldly prelates did not scruple to call him a traitor.

The Saint rose, and with calm dignity exclaimed, If any man pretends that I violate my faith to my king because I will not reject the authority of the Holy See of Rome, let him stand, and in the name of God I will answer him as I ought.

No one took up the challenge; and to the disappointment of the king, the barons sided with the Saint, for they respected his courage and saw that his cause was their own.

During a time he spent in Rome and France, canons were passed in Rome against the practice of lay investiture, and a decree of excommunication was issued against offenders.

When William Rufus died, another strife began with William’s successor, Henry I.

This sovereign claimed the right of investing prelates with the ring and crozier, symbols of the spiritual jurisdiction which belongs to the Church alone.

Rather than yield, the archbishop went into exile, until at last the king was obliged to submit to the ageing but inflexible prelate.

In the midst of his harassing cares, Saint Anselm found time for writings which have made him celebrated as the father of scholastic theology, while in metaphysics and in science he had few equals.

He is yet more famous for his devotion to our Blessed Mother, whose Feast of the Immaculate Conception he was the first to establish in the West.

He died in 1109.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)