Wednesday, November 28, 2018


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 the cardinalate.
Giovanni Battista Scalabrini was born in Fino Mornasco the third of eight children. Two brothers emigrated to the Americas. In 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.
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 Como and was ordained in 1863.  
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 Italy". The 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.

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 USA 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.

 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment