In the last Blog, we mention that Bl. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini was the mentor of Bl. Clilia Merloni.
BL. GIOVANNI BATTISTA SCALABRINI was the Bishop of Piacenza from 1876 until his death He was the founder of both the Missionaries of Saint Charles and the Mission Sisters of Saint Charles. His rise to the episcopate came at a rapid pace after giving a series of lectures on the First Vatican Council in 1872 and his staunch dedication to catechism which led Pope Pius IX to dub him as the "Apostle of the Catechism". Successive popes Leo XIII and (
St.) Pius X held
him in incredible esteem and both failed to convince him accept archdioceses or
Giovanni Battista Scalabrini was born in Fino Mornasco the third of eight children. Two brothers emigrated to the
his adolescence he wrote a poem in praise of the life of St Aloysius Gonzaga and had a devotion
to St Joseph and St Francis de Sales as well as St Charles Borromeo which extended for the
remainder of his life. Americas
He first attended the local state high school where he demonstrated a remarkable intelligence that made him a top student held in high esteem and then entered the Liceo Volta college in Como where he often received prizes for his academic excellence; he had interests in both science and foreign languages.
Bl. Giovanni did his philosophy and theology studies in
and was ordained in
After ordaination he expressed a strong desire to join the missions in the Indies but Bishop Marzorati had other ideas for him and said to him: "Your Indies are in
bishop instead appointed him as a professor and rector of seminarians, where he
taught Greek and history. In 1870 he was appointed as the pastor of the
San Bartolomeo church where he remained until 1876. He distinguished
himself during a cholera epidemic in 1867 through his tireless efforts to
alleviate the suffering of the victims. Italy
In 1876 he was appointed Bishop of Piacenza by Pope Pius IX. It was St John Bosco who advised Pius IX to appoint Bl. Giovannii as a bishop.
He made five pastoral visits across his diocese which proved to be an exhaustive but effective mission of evangelization and his efforts at reforming seminaries and pastoral initiatives earned him praise even from the secular detractors who criticized him for his strict obedience to the pope.
The bishop's episcopal tenure resulted in the establishment of the "Saint Raphael Association" dedicated to the care of Italian migrants which proved to be a cause he held close to his heart. This solidified through the actions of his twin religious congregations and his visits to both Brazil and the
where he went to meet Italian immigrants. Bishop Scalabrini also held
three important episcopal gatherings in his diocese that revitalized parish and
diocesan practices and made his diocese the ground for the first-ever National
Catechetical Congress in 1899. USA
His holiness was well-renowned across the Italian peninsula and there were countless who attested to his saintliness in an ensuring canonization process. St.John Paul II beatified Bishop Scalabrini in Saint Peter's Square on 9 November 1997. His feast is celebrated June 1.