Saturday, May 7, 2011
May 7 -- Feast of St. Agostino Roscelli
I've noted it before, but I am struck by the fact every time I encounter it: no cohort of saints stands out as much for loving their neighbors and caring for the least of their brothers and sisters as the saints of the nineteenth century. For me, the question is whether this is due to the extraordinary amount of social work being done by the Church in that era, or the preference of 20th century popes for folks who did that work.
Agostino Roscelli was a poor shepherd whose vocation to priesthood was nearly unrealized because he could not afford the eleven years of school required. His own determination and the generosity of others made it happen -- consider this when you get a shakedown for a college fund. And please don't suggest that your taxes are your contribution to a college fund. You may have excellent reasons for not donating, but public funding of universities is not among those reasons. That money ain't covering jack. But I digress. Kind of.
Agostino became the chaplain to an orphanage in 1847. Sometimes we disconnect one narrative from another, so remember that Europe was in the throes of the industrial revolution, with all the dislocation and misery imaginable. In 1848, of course, European workers would rebel in cities across the continent, and of course all those rebellions would be crushed within a few years. Orphanages did a banner business -- Agostino baptized more than eight thousand babies.
He also provided guidance and support for unwed teenage moms. He founded the Sisters of the Immaculata to take care of the women's homes he established. He also became a prison chaplain. In short, he was minister to the pariahs. He never sought headlines or higher office, but he did leave the impression of the his knees in his church kneeler.
I'd say we need more Agostinos, and of course we do, but in truth they are out there. We just need notice them and to give them our support.
Posted by Tom Major at 5:56 AM