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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 4 -- Feast of Saint Giovanni Calabria

 Giovanni was the son of a Angela Giovanni and Luigi Foschi.  Luigi and Angela had seven sons before Luigi died.  You would have thought Angela would have gone first from exhaustion, but the life of an impoverished Italian shoemaker is tough too.  Perhaps Angela was just tougher.

Giovanni was pulled from school around age nine in order to get working.  A local priest figured the kid was too smart for that, so he arranged things: local school, seminary, priesthood. Mandatory military service interrupted things a little, but Giovanni returned and was duly ordained.

Three things stand out about him.
1.  He was a street mission priest, setting up orphanages, convents, shelters, and missions.  The underclass of Italy was desperately poor, impelling young girls into prostitution and young men into theft and murder.  [In truth, we can be sure that young men were also impelled into prostitution, though no one would have written about it eighty years ago.]  Giovanni worked his whole life for the safety, comfort, dignity, and salvation of the least fortunate of his brothers and sisters.

2.  He was a longtime correspondent of C. S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia series.  One was an Oxford don, friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, and author.  The other was a saint.  You can see who gets top billing.

3.  A Jewish woman he sheltered during WWII wrote to Pope Paul VI, saying, "Every instant of his life was a personification of St. Paul's marvelous hymn on love."  Yeah, that's saint-worthy, right there.

End Note:  Google Translate makes research so much more fun.  Consider: " night in November he found an abandoned baby and welcomed him into his house, sharing the facilities. A few months after the bottom of the "Pious Union for assistance to the sick poor." The bottom?  Maybe fondo, which can mean bottom or background, can also mean founded, or perhaps it is a gerund (founding?).  

'On 26 November the same year he founded the "House good girl", many employees also been found among the laity.'  House Good Girl:  sounds like a Bangkok brothel in a bad novel.  

"He entertained many relationships with other Christian denominations."  Good for him, right?  At least he wasn't spending all his time and money at House Good Girl.  

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