St Joseph Cafasso
St Joseph Cafasso was born on 11 January 1811 of deeply religious parents at Castelnuovo, Italy. As a boy he was called the "little saint", and though poor, his talents, industry and piety saw him ordained priest at the early age of 22. He was made prefect, then professor of moral theology, and finally rector of the seminary of Turin. Fr Cafasso, the "Pearl of the Italian clergy", though of small stature and somewhat deformed, had been the source of richest blessing not only for the clergy and people of Turin, but the whole world as the spiritual director of the great apostle of charity, St John Bosco. Clergy, Bishops, Princes and workers alike came to his confessional, with thousands of men of all classes deriving untold spiritual benefits at his Retreats.
He evinced keen interest in the work of St Joseph Cottolengo, who had espoused the cause of the orphans, the poor and the distressed of all kinds, and had founded the "Little House of Divine Providence".
Joseph Cafasso died on 23 June 1860; he was beatified in 1895 and was canonized in 1947.
In his homily on the saint, Pope Pius XII asked every priest to learn from him "a tireless alacrity, patience, kindness and above all, constant application of prayer, since all human labour is in vain unless it be seconded by God." "St Joseph Cafasso," continued the Pope, "was sent by Providence for the supremely important and fruitful work of the formation and sanctification of the Clergy. No one has left a mark on the Piedmontese clergy of the 19th and the 20th centuries as much as he; he has saved them from the desiccating and sterilizing climate of Jansenism and rigorism. How many owe to his guidance their firmness in the sentire cum Ecclesia, the holiness of their sacerdotal life, their fidelity to the many duties of their vocation." St Cafasso had the confidence of all, young and old, rich and poor. "May he obtain from God," concluded the Pope, "for his country and for the whole Church a people filled with confidence in the Priest, and Priests worthy of that confidence!"
Reflection :"The dying Saviour on the Cross is a friend who will not terrify you, who will not abandon you. Hope in him, and heaven is yours!" (St Joseph Cafasso)