Thursday 19th April 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli

June 20, 2017 saints No Comments


In the history of the Church saints have commonly lived at the same time and worked together for the Kingdom of God. Pope St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. John of Avila (of the Cross) and St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori and Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli.
Blessed Gennaro was the son of noble parents, born on September 12, 1702, in Naples, Italy. The Baron of Salerno Angelo Sarnelli, and his wife, Caterina Scappo, lived in the Zapata palace on the Piazza Trieste e Trento when their fourth of eight children was born.
Gennaro received an education commensurate with his station in life. Like many saints, he was modest about his accomplishments — a studious child known for his self-sacrifice. His desire to be obedient was so strong that when he failed, he would apologize profusely, kissing his parents’ hands or throwing himself at their feet. His love of God was shown by his frequent visits to St. Francis Xavier Church in Naples.
In 1716 he followed the proceedings leading to the beatification of the Jesuit priest, St. John Francis Regis. This prompted him to seek his father’s permission to join the Jesuits, but his father refused his request and told him to study law instead. In a truly “Jesuitical” manner, Gennaro obediently went to law school and studied not only civil law, but also studied canon law. At the young age of 20, he earned doctorates in both civil and canon law.
As a lawyer, he worked for the Pious Workers of St. Nicholas as a member of the Knights of the Legal and Medical Professions. He followed their rules faithfully, which included serving the sick in the Hospital of the Incurables, especially those who were near death or in the hospital down at the docks. During this time he met St. Alphonsus Liguori.
His desire to become a priest only increased during this time. Thus in September 1728, he left the bar to study for the priesthood in the Diocese of Naples. Then, on June 4, 1729, he left home and moved to the Collegio della Santa Famiglia for better studying conditions. Almost a year later, he entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Apostolic Missions.
On May 28, 1731 he finished his probation period and was ordained on June 8, 1732 by Francesco Cardinal Pignatelli. He then began work as a catechist, being the director of religious education at Santa Anna di Palazzo and also taught at St. Francis and St. Matthew Churches.
Gennaro donated all his wealth to the poor, as he saw that he had no need for it. In addition, he joined the Propaganda of Naples, which was devoted to apostolic works.
In 1733 he joined St. Alphonsus de Liguori to help him in the Ravello mission. This was the time when St. Alphonsus had been deserted by his first companions after he had founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732.
After witnessing the success that Alphonsus had with preaching to the poor and those deprived of any spiritual assistance, Gennaro became convinced of the need for the new congregation and became a member.
Gennaro worked with Alphonsus side by side, giving missions along the Amalfi coast from 1735 to Easter of April 1736. In the spring of 1736, however, his health began to decline, necessitating his return to Naples.
Gennaro found lodging with a religious companion. He then began vigorously defending the new congregation and its founder, St. Alphonsus, against the brothers of the Apostolic Missions.
With the help of his father, Angelo, and his brother, Andrew, who had also become a priest, he founded the house for Redemptorists at Ciorani and assisted in the founding of the house at Villa Liberi.
Although Gennaro eventually returned to his home, he never hesitated in answering the summons of St. Alphonsus.
In Naples he wrote extensively, authoring more than 30 books. Between 1936 and 1941 he still ministered to the poor by rescuing prostitutes, opposing blasphemy, and promoting mental prayer among the laity. He also spent time in the formation of youth. When Giuseppe Cardinal Spinelli announced his visit to Naples, Gennaro went to the surrounding villages of Naples, preaching to the spiritual orphans.
When the cardinal arrived, Gennaro begged him to allow the Redemptorists to direct the missions to the poor and abandoned souls. Thus Gennaro and Alphonsus worked in the rural areas until the summer of 1742 when Alphonsus had to leave the missions and return to Ciorani.
Despite his weakened condition, Gennaro again answered the call to serve when Cardinal Spinelli asked him to replace Alphonsus. He worked lovingly and obediently without complaint until September 1743 when, weakened by ill health, he was replaced.
Although he was unable to continue traveling to do his work in the missions, he continued to preach locally until April in 1744. At that point he was so ill that he returned to Naples where he took to his bed, never to rise again. At the age of only 42, Gennaro passed away on June 30, 1744.
St. Alphonsus wrote a biography of Gennaro Sarnelli, focusing on the great contributions he made in the establishment and the growth of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. In that biography, he recorded the last works of Blessed Gennaro as he prayed:
“My Father in Heaven, behold, here I am. Now the creature returns to his Creator, the son to His Father. Lord, Most Holy Trinity, if it pleases you, allow me to come to you, to see you face to face. Still I do wish neither to die nor to live, I wish only what you want. You know well, all that I have done, all that I have thought, all was done for your greater glory!”
As death approached, Gennaro prepared his final bequests to the poor and arranged for his funeral. He left all of his books to the Redemptorists. At his death, Brother Francesco and Brother Tartaglione and a novice, Francisco Romito, tended him.
His body was buried on July 2 after two days of visitation by thousands, in Santa Maria Dell’Aiuto Church. In 1849, his body was transferred to the Redemptorists’ Church of Santi Alfonso e Antonio at Tarsia in Naples.
Finally, his remains were moved to the Redemptorist Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Ciorani, the motherhouse of the Redemptorist Congregation which had been built on the Sarnelli family estate.
Pope Pius X declared him venerable and Pope St. John Paul II beatified him on May 12, 1996. His feast is June 30.
Dear Blessed Gennaro, there are many spiritually abandoned persons in our world today. Guide us so that we will learn the best way to approach the lonely and hurting souls around us to bring them the merciful love of God that we all so desperately need. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priests are performing exorcisms over the phone, cardinal claims

Priests have been carrying out exorcisms over the phone as demand continues to rise, a Cardinal has said. Speaking at the Vatican’s annual exorcist training conference in Rome, Cardinal Ernest Simoni said priests are delivering prayers of liberation, part of…Continue Reading

Twitter suspends right-wing commentator Mark Dice for saying transsexualism is a mental illness

April 16, 2018 ( – Right-wing commentator Mark Dice, famous for YouTube video interviews with random passers-by in public spaces, says that his Twitter account was suspended Thursday of last week after he implied that transgenderism is a mental illness.…Continue Reading

Pope: ‘Troubled’ over Syria, praying for Alfie Evans

At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis calls for greater commitment from the international community for a joint action for peace in Syria. He also asks that Alfie, who is suffering from a degenerative disease and whom doctors want to deny…Continue Reading

There’s no ‘bridge’ between modernism and faithful Catholicism

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church today is suffering greatly from a split among the faithful.  This split is evident in matters pertaining to the liturgy, doctrine, social teaching, morality, theology, and even in how the Faithful view…Continue Reading

Trump Unleashes Military Strikes on Syria Over Chemical Attack

President Donald Trump said he had approved military strikes on Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical attack by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on a rebel town. “A short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to…Continue Reading

Full text of Pope Francis’ letter to Chilean bishops

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2018 / 04:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a letter addressed to Chile’s bishops, Pope Francis admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling the nation’s massive sex abuse crisis and asked for forgiveness. The pope summoned Chile’s…Continue Reading

Citing growing interest in Traditional Latin Mass, Archbishop Chaput creates quasi-parish

Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 12, 2018 / 12:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new quasi-parish for Catholics interested in the Traditional Latin Mass will open in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at a church that had been part of a 2014 parish merger.…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards speaking at Catholic university in SF Archdiocese

Cecile Richards, a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, has been added to the Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) 2018 Spring Leadership Lecture Series at Dominican University of California. The series is presented by Dominican in…Continue Reading

Pope Francis releases exhortation on holiness

VATICAN CITY — God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his…Continue Reading

Cuomo Loots A Catholic Charity

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a disturbing new way to raise revenue: using government muscle to squeeze private organizations into “voluntarily” writing billion-dollar checks. That’s what he did to Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health plan affiliated with the Catholic Church, and…Continue Reading

Chappaquiddick And Us

Ah, you can always predict The New York Times;  from covering up the crimes of Stalin, courtesy of their Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty, their goal is to ever protect the left.  Thus, it is unsurprising that they published a hit…Continue Reading

Catholic morality has been replaced by a destructive sexuality

During the course of his journalistic and literary career, Cork writer Seán O’Faoláin (1900-1991) was fond of lists, often with a view to lampooning the excessive strictures of his era. He was 20-years-old and a university student before he learned…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

The surprising reason why LGBT and abortion activists have been close allies from the beginning

CLEVELAND, Ohio, April 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-abortion and LGBT movements are linked spiritually, ideologically and politically, a Christian pro-family advocate says. Because of this, it has become more important than ever before for pro-life and family advocates to unite against these enemies of life and the family. Former abortion volunteer and Christian convert Linda Harvey explained to a recent pro-life conference how the LGBT and abortion movements have the common elements of rejecting God’s…Continue Reading

A plea for mercy: Thomas Evans asks Pope Francis to save little Alfie

ROME, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie Evans’ father has said he is knocking “on the Church’s door” asking for help to save his son from being euthanized, and is pleading that his “voice be brought to the Holy Father” so that Alfie can be transferred to “the Pope’s hospital” in Rome. In a letter sent on Sunday to the archbishop of Liverpool, Thomas Evans also confirmed that he and Alfie are both

Syrian patriarchs condemn ‘unjust aggression’ of Friday allied airstrikes, ask for prayers

Damascus, Syria, Apr 15, 2018 / 03:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The airstrikes carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against Syria on Friday constituted “unjust” and “brutal” aggression, the patriarchs of the major Christian Churches in Syria have said in a joint statement. President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes along with the U.K. and France in a joint show of military force following the suspected use of chemical warfare by the…Continue Reading

FULL TEXT: Cardinal Burke’s talk on the limits of papal power

ROME, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — What is the extent of papal power? Are there any limits, and if so how is the violation of those limits judged and corrected? These and other questions were addressed by Cardinal Raymond Burke last Saturday, April 7, at a conference in Rome titled ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?’ The afternoon symposium, sponsored by the ‘Frie

Trump supporters slam decision to launch strikes against Syria

Prominent supporters of President Trump are expressing skepticism over his decision to launch airstrikes against Syria, slamming the move as overly aggressive and unnecessary. Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham both questioned Trump’s decision Friday to launch strikes in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last weekend that the U.S. has attributed to the Syrian government. Carlson noted the move was inconsistent with the president’s message during his 2016 campaign, and Ingraham said


A Book Review… Edith Stein’s Love Of Wisdom

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH, 2017), 221 pp.; paperback $15.95. Available from or 1-800-888-9344. An engaging, comprehensive introduction to the life, writings, thought, and martyrdom of a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith beatified…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Illusion Of Independent Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Interruption Of A Catholic Renaissance

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018. xvii + 234 pp. Available at (Editor’s Note: Please also see James K. Fitzpatrick’s review of the Douthat book in The Wanderer, March 1, 2018, p. 1.) + + + The Archdiocese…Continue Reading

The Incredible Enlarging Child

By DONALD DeMARCO Psychologists who study perception tell us that we interpret things against a background. We notice what is called the figure, but we interpret the figure in relation to a background which we do not notice. A candle is holy when set on an altar, romantic on a piano, eerie in a jack-o-lantern,…Continue Reading

Has The War Party Hooked Trump?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN With his Sunday, April 8 tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless chemical attack in Syria,” tweeted…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Raymond Cardinal Burke… Pope Francis Is “Increasing The Confusion”

(Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of an April 5 interview Raymond Cardinal Burke granted to an Italian Catholic publication, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. LifeSiteNews reprinted that interview with permission of Riccardo Cascioli, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s editor, and we provide it here. All rights reserved. (Diane Montagna did the translation for LifeSiteNews.) + + + ROME (LifeSiteNews) —…Continue Reading

The Sheep Of The Lord’s Flock

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:8-12 1 John 3:1-2 John 10:11-18 Our faith is one of mystery and what might appear to some as contradictions. Of course, there are no contradictions; paradox would probably be the better word to describe it. Our readings today describe several paradoxes for our consideration. First, we hear…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Confusion, Straw Men Mar Papal Document

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis gets high marks in his latest apostolic exhortation on personal holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (GE), for defending solid teaching on at least one embattled doctrinal truth: “Jesus wanted us to conclude by asking the Father to ‘deliver us from evil.’ That final word does not refer to evil in the abstract; a more…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Christ Is The Fulfillment Of The Sacrifices Of The Old Law

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 24 In the two previous articles, we considered the three most important ceremonies of the Old Law, namely, the Sacrifice of the Covenant, the Pasch, and the Day of Atonement. In the New Testament, the Sacrifice of Calvary is closely connected to those three central Jewish sacrifices. In this article, we will see how…Continue Reading

Overview Of The Eight Beatitudes

By DON FIER The dignity of the human person, as we saw last week, “is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1700). Precisely because he is “endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Pedro Calungsod

By CAROLE BRESLIN Guam, a small island about 1,600 miles east of the Philippines, is an unincorporated territory of the United States. This small island, which has played an important role in U.S. military activities in Southeast Asia since the early twenty-first century, was recently a pawn in the political chess game with North Korea. The Jesuits first came to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Montepulciano

By CAROLE BRESLIN When St. Therese of Lisieux was only 15 years old, she begged her father to let her enter a convent. Her parents, Saints Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, were faithful Catholics and raised their children to cherish the religious life. About six hundred years before St. Therese was born, another saint had the same ambition: to join…Continue Reading