NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Friday, May 1, 2015

Saint of the Month - May 2015: Saint Riccardo Pampuri

St. Riccardo Pampuri
A Holy Man of Medicine ~ Feast: May 1st

On August 2nd, 1897, Innocenzo and Angela Pampuri welcomed little Erminio into their large family – he was their tenth of eleven children.  Sadly, early childhood wasn’t a happy experience for Erminio as his mother died of tuberculosis when he was three, and his father died in an accident when he was ten.  His grandparents took him in and raised him with the help of a pious aunt.

In his youth Erminio had originally dreamed of becoming a priest but changed his mind through the influence of a favorite uncle who was the town doctor.  He studied medicine at the University of Pavia, and in his spare time, he fortified his spiritual life with daily attendance at Mass and involvement with two religious associations - the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and Catholic Action.  In 1917, his medical training was interrupted after he was drafted into the Italian Army, but resumed in 1920; he graduated with honors from the university in July 1921.

The young doctor took up practice in the town of Morimondo, near Milan, where he endeared himself to the locals by his skill, sense of humor, and his generosity towards the poor, whom he treated for free.  Erminio continued to involve himself with several religious and charitable groups, and even started one of his own to help care for the sick-poor: the Band of Pius X.  Despite his professional and personal successes, Erminio felt an emptiness deep within his heart; God’s special call had returned and this time he felt he couldn't resist it.  After much prayer and discernment, Erminio left his practice and joined the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God on June 22, 1927.  He took the religious name of "Bro. Riccardo" and was professed a little over a year later on October 24, 1928.

As a religious, Bro. Riccardo served his congregation by running a free dental clinic in Brescia, where his skills as a physician were put to valuable use.  His deep spiritual life complemented his work perfectly, and he touched many souls through his dual vocation; he truly recognized Jesus in his patients... and in addition, being dearly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, Bro Riccardo often turned to her for guidance and counsel. He prayed the Holy Rosary often and encouraged his patients to pray it as part of their healing process.

"Pray that neither self indulgence nor pride, nor any other evil passion, prevent me from
seeing in my patients Jesus who suffers, and from healing and comforting Him."

~ Extract from a letter written by St. Riccardo to his sister

In April 1930, the good Brother experienced a relapse of pleurisy, which he first contracted during his military service.  The illness quickly degenerated into bronco-pneumonia, to which he succumbed on May 1, 1930; he was only 32-years-old.  

The shrine-tomb of St. Riccardo Pampuri located in the parish church of Trivolzio, Italy.
The body was reportedly found incorrupt and whole, although somewhat darkened.

Bro.  Riccardo's death was greatly mourned by his clients and by his fellow religious who were convinced of his personal sanctity.  He was buried in the town of Trivolzio and soon cures were being reported at his tomb.  The deceased brother's reputation for holiness endured the test of time, and after two miraculous healings were officially recognized by the Church, Riccardo was Canonized by the late Pope John Paul II on November 1, 1989.  His incorrupt body - covered in a life-like mask - is venerated in the parish church of Trivolzio.  May St. Riccardo Pampuri intercede for our personal needs... and the needs of the entire Church.

A Reflection
How will you be remembered after your death... fondly as a friend, or despised as a foe?

A Short Prayer
St. Riccardo, you were a friend to all peoples, especially to the poor and the sick.  Today, your memory is venerated worldwide because of your goodness - may we follow your noble example.  Amen.

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