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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Saint of the Month - November 2017: Blessed Pius of Saint Aloysius Campidelli

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Bl. Pius of Saint Aloysius Campidelli
Another Light of the Little Way ~ Memorial: November 3rd

Literature in English is scarce about this youthful Italian Blessed and, I have to admit, when I first read whatever I could gather about him I wasn't completely impressed or inspired. There were no spiritual fireworks about him that wowed me, but rather, he just appeared too "ordinary", as far as I could personally evaluate... and I wondered to myself as to what made him sainthood-worthy.   

Bl. Pius of Saint Aloysius was born Luigi Campidelli on April 29, 1868, to poor farmers from Poggio Berni (Forli); child number four to his parents. Biographies describe him as an excellent student and active in parish life, and generally known in his small community as a good kid.  There was also a budding attraction to spirituality from an early age.

Sadly, when he was about 6-years-old, Luigi's father, Giuseppe, died of typhoid, which left his family even more desperate. An uncle arrived to help support his mother and three siblings, but the uncle's bad behavior made home-life a trial for them.

The venerated painting of the
Madonna of Casale
At 12-years-old, Luigi came into contact with the Passionists for the first time and was immediately drawn to their manner of life. He began frequenting the Passionist house in Casale and its shrine dedicated to the Madonna, where he was eventually accepted as a novice at aged 14. Despite his youth, he wholly committed himself to the Passionist charism of intense devotion to Christ Crucified, as well as a deep filial devotion to Our Lady. A year later in 1883 he was given the Passionist habit and renamed Pius of Saint Aloysius; on April 30, 1884, the young religious professed his vows.  By all accounts he was a model religious.

Pius was training for the priesthood when he contracted tuberculosis before he could be ordained. During the course of his illness he never complained and maintained a cheerful disposition. He succumbed to the dreaded disease on November 2, 1889, being only 21-years-old and offering his life to God as a sacrifice for the spiritual good of his home region of Romagna.

The Church beatified Bl. Pius of Saint Aloysius on November 17, 1985 and his sacred relics are today enclosed in a beautiful glass-sided urn near the Shrine of the Madonna of Casale that the Blessed frequented in life.

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't initially touched when I first learned Pius' life. I actually had to take about a day to reflect more about his spiritual relevance and to "pray" his life message. Then it all suddenly clicked for me - it didn't matter that his life seemed so ordinary and uneventful, but what mattered was that he consistently did the most ordinary things with extraordinary love!  I truly believe that this was Bl. Pius' plan all along and he humbly effected it without any fanfare, via his conscientious practice of humility and obedience; the self-giving he exercised through the fulfillment of his daily duties that were all consciously offered to Jesus and Mary with the profound love he had in his heart for them.

I further recognized that, in essence, Bl. Pius was walking the little way, a method of spirituality later made popular by St. Therese the Little Flower (d. 1897)... and my early doubts about his sanctity vanished. I see why his companions must have been so impressed with him - they probably came to sense the powerful force of love that emanated from Pius' being despite his seemingly ordinary exterior.

The beautiful urn enclosing the relics of Bl. Pius Campidelli

I am now filled with admiration and respect for Bl. Pius Campidelli and see him as a bright light of the little way for the whole world, especially for our young people to emulate.  May God grant us, the Faithful, the joy of his speedy Canonization!

A Short Prayer
O God, who reveal yourself in a marvelous way 
to the little ones and to the pure of heart, 
manifest yourself to us, we beseech you, 
as you did to Blessed Pius,
and grant that we may follow you unceasingly,
our one and true God, in purity and sincerity of life, 
loving you above all things and loving others with your love. 
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.  Amen.

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