This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5 -- Feast of Blessed Alberto Marvelli

At first, I couldn't see why Alberto Marvelli was beatified.  I don't mean that in a negative way -- I just didn't see what made him stand out as a beatus among the millions of people who struggle to live according to Jesus' precepts. 

He only lived twenty-eight years, but he didn't die a martyr's death.  He was struck by a car in 1946.  It's sad, but it's not a qualification for beatification. 

As a child in Italy, he attended daily Mass and was especially moved by the Eucharist.  Okay, that's a little unusual.  I really never enjoyed communion as a kid -- the Eucharistic wafer was gummy and flavorless and if I wasn't careful it would stick to the roof of my mouth.  In those days, only a priest could touch the Host (as the wafer was called, for reasons I may still not understand) so there was nothing to be done but sit there and try not to gag while I waited for enough saliva to free the holy paste from my palate.  So okay, he got more out of communion than I did.   That's something, but beatification? 

He joined Catholic Action at age twelve and remained a lifelong member.  This didn't sound like much at first, but then I remembered that much of Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth century had gone heavily anti-clerical, so popping up to proclaim oneself pro-Church was a risk.  And of course he was active during Il Duce's reign of misery, so his risk was very real.  Still and all, lots of folks joined.  Perhaps he stands in for them, but it still leaves me scratching my head. 

He became a civil engineer, working for the reconstruction of post-war Italy while donating as much as he could to the neediest of refugees.  He even gave away his shoes, so he rode his bike barefoot as he brought food and supplies to the impoverished.  Okay, by this point he's looking way above the norm, right?  But no miracles, no visions, no deep persecution... what's the deal?

Paolo Bignardi, president of Catholic Action at the time of Alberto's beatification explained it simply.  "It is as if the Church were repeating to us that all lay Christians can live like saints by living normally in the family, in a profession, in politics."  

And that's good enough for me.  


  1. I believed that Alberto is a great mystic. Who are like St. Therese unknown to the world until her autobiography were published in various languages. If you read Alberto s diaries you can see and comprehend why this simple man become a great saint, and why I call him mystic. Unknown to these time, because he was recently proclaimed blessed, I know that in due time, he will be like St. Domenico Savio in the ranking of Salesian saints. If the Postulation office and publishers would only found competent translators of Albertos works, then I am sure that he will be known throughout the church

  2. br. ronald