Tuesday 18th January 2022

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Cafasso

June 21, 2018 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Truman Capote wrote: “Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” More important, grace is a chain of grace with one grace leading to another. And holiness a chain of holiness as God pours His love through one person to another, as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, pours graces upon her children on Earth.
This is evident from the life of St. Monica, who is largely responsible for the conversion of both her husband and her son, St. Augustine of Hippo. Similarly, St. Thomas Aquinas was the student of St. Albert the Great, and Saints Louis and Zélie Martin were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, doctor of the Church, and her sisters who entered the convent. St. John Bosco was also mentored by a saint who assisted him in founding his order, St. Joseph Cafasso.
Joseph, born on January 15, 1811, was the third of four children born to peasant parents in Castelnuovo d’Asti, Italy. His sister, the youngest child, became the mother of a saint also, Blessed Giuseppe (Joseph) Allamano.
Joseph Cafasso was born with a deformity of his spine that prevented him from standing up straight. This cross he bore with uncommon serenity which demonstrated his holiness from his earliest days. Those who recalled the young child could not recall that he had ever committed a sin. Many held him up as a model for other children.
Thus the townspeople were not surprised when Joseph entered the seminary at just 15 years old. He went to the seminary in Turin and was ordained a priest in 1833, when he was only 22 years old. It was also around this time that he first met John Bosco.
Joseph continued to study at the seminary after his Ordination, and in 1834 he met Luigi Guala, the cofounder of the Institute of St. Francis of Assisi. The purpose of this institute was to provide higher education for priests. After Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in the 1790s, most of the Catholic institutions had been destroyed or confiscated by his forces. When they left, new ones had to be built to replace them — thus the founding of the Franciscan school for priests.
With the encouragement from Guala, Joseph first became a student at the institute and shortly thereafter, he began his career as a lecturer. As a lector, he taught moral theology and also led formation in French spirituality as lived by Pierre de Bérulle, who introduced the Discalced Carmelites of St. Teresa of Avila into France. He included the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Francis de Sales as well.
Then he became the chaplain; and when Luigi Guala died in 1848, Joseph was named his successor and became rector of the college. One of his main priorities was the proper formation of priests both before and after their Ordination.
He studiously fought the rigors of heretical Jansenism by using the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Francis de Sales. In addition he opposed the state interfering in Church matters.
His temperance was above reproach, as he never engaged in smoking or drinking. The only beverage he allowed himself was plain water. He never partook of coffee nor did he ever eat between meals. His fortitude and quiet perseverance in suffering his physical pains surprised many. When he was asked about his long hours of serving others and not getting much sleep, he replied, “Our rest will be in Heaven.”
This holiness left a lasting and deep impression on St. John Bosco who testified: “A single word from him — a look, a smile, his very presence — sufficed to dispel melancholy, drive away temptation, and produce holy resolution in the soul.”
While serving the Institute of St. Francis, Joseph also practiced temperance and prudence to win the loyalty of his students. He — like Padre Pio — had the special gift of discerning penitents’ needs as well as knowing precisely how to strengthen their wills to live holier lives. He also assisted those students in need of temporal assistance by providing them with books or helping them with their living expenses.
At some point, Joseph became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. It is in keeping with that saint that Joseph focused so much of his energy on the poor and needy, especially those shunned by society such as condemned prisoners.
He particularly touched the hearts of lawbreakers when he would visit them in prison. He heard their Confessions, and soon became known as the “Priest of the Gallows” for the more than five dozen condemned prisoners with whom he stayed on the days leading up to their execution. He once grabbed the beard of a prisoner and pulled on it saying that he would not let go until the prisoner confessed.
He would listen to their woes, console them, and support them by standing near them at their last moment until death from the hands of their executioners. Beyond that he would offer many penances and endure many mortifications for their salvation.
He also passed many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, praying that God would have mercy on their souls, and he would call those who converted — more than 60 — his hanged saints.
Perhaps he has been most noted for his guidance of St. John Bosco from 1841 to 1860. This association led to the formation of the Salesian order, dedicated to helping young boys, and then the establishment of the Daughters of Our Lady, Help of Christians, to care for the isolated and destitute young girls.
Bosco was not the only person who started great apostolates at the urging of Cafasso. Others included Venerable Giulia Falletti di Barolo, a noted advocate for women prisoners, Blessed Francesco Faà di Bruno, a professor and priest known for his social work, and Blessed Clemente Marchisio, founder of the Daughters of St. Joseph of Rivalba, dedicated to meeting the religious needs of young women.
When Fr. Joseph Cafasso was only 49 years old, his health became much worse and he seemed to have a premonition of his approaching death. He not only suffered from pneumonia, but he also suffered from his congenital deformities and ailments, complicated by hemorrhaging in his stomach. After receiving the sacraments for the final time, he died on June 23, 1860.
He left his meager possessions to the religious order founded by St. Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo in Valdocco, Italy. This order, known as the Little House of Divine Providence cared for those suffering from cancer. It later included housing for orphans. When the college he headed for the last 12 years of his life moved to Santuario della Consolata in 1870, St. Joseph Cafasso’s remains were also transferred and interred there.
Dear St. Joseph Cafasso, guide us in our discernment of God’s will for us. May we continually seek to serve God’s children in need, to protect them from the evil in this world! 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

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Load More...

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…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

Catechism

Today . . .

Alice von Hildebrand . . . Catholic Icon . . . Dead at 98

The readers of The Wanderer have been blessed to read the wisdom and the vast understanding of the Catholic faith that Alice Von Hildebrand shared in her columns with the readers of The Wanderer for over four decades. Her contribution to the Church and to the defense of Catholicism is immeasurable. The countless people she touched in her witness to the Catholic faith will not be fully known until the end of time. Her words are even more valuable today as our…Continue Reading

Brazil to have a statue of Jesus larger than Christ the Redeemer

A statue of Christ is being built in Brazil that will be larger than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro. The image, which has been under construction since 2019, will be called Cristo Protector and is being erected on the Cerro de las Antenas, a hill near Encantado in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The project was planned to be completed by the end of 20

Vatican orders forced concelebrations, new restrictions on traditional Mass and sacraments

The document released restricts the traditional celebration of the sacraments, hints at a future withdrawal of permission to celebrate the traditional Mass at all , and issues penalties for priests who will not concelebrate.

Top European court rules all EU countries must recognize same-sex parents

(LifeSiteNews) – The top court of the European Union ruled Tuesday that all EU countries must recognize homosexuals and their legal children as family members regardless of national laws on same-sex parenting or homosexual “marriage.” In a ruling that applies to the entire 27-nation bloc, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Luxembourg declared that member countries must allow a same-sex couple to move and reside freely with a child legally recognized as their son or daughter…Continue Reading

Court won’t stop Texas abortion ban, but lets clinics sue

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions, though it ruled that clinics in the state can sue over the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. The decision, little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, was greeted with dismay by abortion rights supporters. They said the outcome, by limiting…Continue Reading

COVID Gloom Shadows World

By JOHN J. METZLER As the New Year brings hope and possibility for a global reset and renewal, the tragic reality remains that COVID-19, with all its deadly variants, continues to plague the planet now fully two years after the malady emerged from Wuhan, China. Thus, despite much justified optimism over wider vaccinations, the pandemic…Continue Reading

Voter ID Requirements Make Sense

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY A young man who looks like a teenager walks into a liquor store and pulls a bottle of cheap whiskey off a shelf.He puts it down at the checkout counter and pulls out his wallet.The clerk at the counter looks at him skeptically. “Can I see your ID?” he asks.“Yes,” says…Continue Reading

The Road To Emmaus

By DONALD DeMARCO The road that stretched from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, as Luke informs us (Luke 24:13-35), was about seven miles (60 estadia). What transpired in the story of the “Road to Emmaus,” however, has a far richer meaning than the route on which two people, and then a third, traveled. It…Continue Reading

Where Does NATO Enlargement End?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the breakup of the USSR began. But the dissolution did not stop with the 14 Soviet “republics” declaring their independence of Moscow.Decomposition had only just begun.Transnistria broke away from Moldova. South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded from Georgia. Chechnya broke…Continue Reading

Our Entire System Of “Sexual Liberation” Depends On The Abortion Industry

By JONATHON VAN MAREN (Editor’s Note: Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as in print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator, and others.) + + (LifeSiteNews) — If…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon You

FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Neh. 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-101 Cor. 12:12-30Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 In the second reading today, St. Paul states: “You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” This truth is of great importance to all of us, but we need to look at the Gospel reading to see what God teaches…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Are archaeologists still looking for the original pieces of Christ’s Cross? – J.B., Pennsylvania.A. No, the true Cross was found by St. Helena in Jerusalem in the fourth century, and pieces of this holy relic can now be found in many churches and shrines throughout the world. Helena was sent to Jerusalem by her son, the Roman Emperor Constantine,…Continue Reading

Practicing Catholics: The Moral Connection

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A Catholic acquaintance recounts having been asked, while being interviewed in preparation for hiring by a particular agency concerned with national security, “Have you slept with your friend’s girlfriend or wife?” His impulse was to answer, “No, I’m Catholic,” but only yes or no answers were allowed.That reminded me of an occasion in the Army…Continue Reading

From The Christmas Cycle… An Overlooked But Powerful Reading

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Pope posted this commentary on January 4, 2022 and it is reprinted here with permission. His website is msgrpope.com.) + + There is a Scripture reading proclaimed at the Christmas Liturgy that usually gets overlooked. And yet it should elicit considerable reflection since it is proclaimed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, one of…Continue Reading

Our Lord Gave Himself Entirely

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-51 Cor. 12:4-11John 2:1-11 In calling Israel into a covenant relationship with Himself, God took His Chosen People into a relationship that is akin to a marriage. This marital relationship is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Often it is because Israel was like an unfaithful…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Vincent Mary Pallotti (1795-1850)

By DEB PIROCH He lived during a different era . . . the same as the Curé of Ars. He attended a special Jesuit high school, the Collegio Romano where St. Aloysius Gonzaga had been schooled. And like his fellow alumnus, he came from a large family and was called early to religious life.One of ten, as a child Vincent…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Blessed Carmelites Of Compiègne

By DEB PIROCH There are those who make the capital error of equating France’s French Revolution with the American one. Bastille Day may have liberated the people from autocracy, but beyond that, the Revolution was vile. While phrases like “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” were bantered about, it was actually only one motto used and it really had nothing whatsoever to…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)