Home  

Saints Index

Sep 19 - St Francis Mary of Camporosso

 In the cemetery in Genoa a statue of Blessed Francis Mary may be seen which bears the following inscription: "Francis of Camporosso was born December 27, 1804, and died on September 17, 1866. This poor man in Christ was more blessed in giving than in receiving. With bread and advice and consolation, he was ever prepared to minister to the sufferings and needs of all who came to him. His austere and holy life he crowned with the sacrifice he made of himself at the beginning of the epidemic of 1866. The sorrow and gratitude of the people prompted them to immortalize his image in this marble statue."

It needed but a few words to say all that one could wish to have said of this apostle of the people. As a shepherd in the little village of Camporosso near San Remo he was obliged to contribute to the support of his family. Later he joined the Capuchins an Genoa. There he clothed his ideals and intentions in the words: "I came to the convent to be its beast of burden."

The opportunity was presented to him to carry out his intentions when he was made infirmarian, and especially when he was appointed to collect alms. He called at the palaces of the nobles, but oftener at the huts of the poor in order to distribute to them the alms he had just begged. He ventured to go into the ill-famed quarters of the seaport, where he would pick up the stones thrown at him and kiss them. Soon it was reported of him from all sides that he was working miracles, cures, and conversions of a most unusual kind. People of rank as well as the lowliest souls came to him to seek advice.

His love for our Blessed Lady was most touching. He spent entire nights on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament. When an epidemic broke out in 1866, he was seized with the desire to make his last and most magnanimous sacrifice. He knelt before the altar of the Immaculate Virgin, and through her hands offered himself to God as a victim of expiation. On September 17th, he departed this life as a victim. The epidemic ceased that very day. He was beatified by Pope Pius XI and canonized in 1962 by John XXIII.

ON SELF-SACRIFICE
1. Francis Marry offered everything he possessed. He was well aware of our Lord's words: "Everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). As a child he worked for his parents; in the order, he became a servant to other members; as the apostle of the people he worked for the poor and the sick. -- Does your life agree with the Christian principle, "It is more blessed to give than to receive"?
2. Francis Mary also sacrificed his life. He lived up to the admonition of the Apostle: "In this we have known the charity of God, because he has laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for our brethren" (1 John 3:16). Francis Mary did this literally when he sacrificed his life for the people during the epidemic. -- Pray God to give you a share of this heroic courage, of this heroic love.
3. Francis Mary received an inestimable reward for his sacrifice. Posterity is extolling him. The Church has raised him to the dignity of the altars. Almighty God has fulfilled in him the promise: "And you shall have treasure in heaven" (Matt 9:21). Whatever we do for God will not go unrewarded. God will not let Himself be outdone in generosity. -- Rouse yourself to a similar spirit of sacrifice.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who didst cause Thy humble servant Francis Mary to distinguish himself in an extraordinary way by works of charity, grant that by his merits and intercession Thy love may ever be increased in our hearts. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., 1959 Franciscan Herald Press