As of this writing, Angelo of Acri is only still a Blessed, however his canonization is literally just around the corner so I'll be referring to him as "St. Angelo" going forward...
St. Angelo was born Luca (Luke) Antonio Falcone on October 19, 1669, to a humble peasant family in the town of Acri, Italy. According to several biographies I consulted, his family was deeply pious (an uncle was a priest) and the child was raised by his parents in a worthy Christian manner. Luca, himself, aspired to religious life and in his early youth he joined the Capuchins - twice - but each time, due to an overwhelming sense of fear and unworthiness, he returned home. He even considered marrying at one point but had a change of heart and decided to give religious life one more try.
|St. Angelo had a great love for Christ|
Crucified and often carried a crucifix.
Padre Angelo understood the Lord's point and revamped his preaching style to better suit his general audience, which mainly consisted of simple folk from the small rural towns of southern Italy. Rather than wracking his brain over-thinking his sermons, he trusted in the God's promise of help and prepared himself through diligent prayer before each speaking engagement. He would then preach on a level that the common people could easily grasp and, as a result, his efforts met with much success as he conducted missions from one town to another. Wherever Padre Angelo spoke he touched hearts and moved countless sinners through his inspired words; he was even nicknamed the "Angel of Peace" (a play on his name Angelo) and soon signs and miracles began manifesting around him. This is where his mystical gifts make him more and more comparable to his famous spiritual brother, St. Padre Pio.
Accounts of the saintly preacher's ability to heal began circulating, as well as his uncanny ability to read hearts in the confessional and to correctly predict future events. In addition, Padre Angelo was at times seen preaching at a certain venue while at the same instant witnessed to be somewhere else ministering to the sick and needy. And frequently during his Masses, he spontaneously fell into sublime ecstasies, which edified those in attendance.
|Relics of St. Angelo's sandals and Franciscan cord-belt.|
In his final years of life, increasing illness forced Padre Angelo to retire to the Capuchin Monastery of Cosenza. He eventually went blind six months prior to his death, but through a unique favor from God, he miraculously regained his eyesight each day for the amount of time needed to offer Mass and recite the Divine Office (incredible!). He died on October 30, 1739, at the ripe old age of 70, and after having served the Lord in religious life for 47 years!
The incorrupt body of St. Angelo, enshrined in the Basilica dedicated to him in Acri, Italy
(a wax mask covers the relic's face).
Pope Leo XII beatified Angelo of Acri on December 1825 after recognizing three miraculous cures attributed to his intercession. I am pleased to share that a fourth miracle was officially approved for his Cause this past March 2017, which paved the way for his upcoming Canonization on October 15th, 2017. The bodily remains of this Saint - reportedly incorrupt - is enshrined in the Basilica of Acri dedicated to his honor. May he intercede for our personal needs and the needs of the Universal Church, especially for all priests to be worthy servants of God and the Church!