Saint Callistus Caravario

 Saint Callistus Caravario

Saint Callistus Caravario is a 20th-century martyr, having offered his life to spread the faith in China.

He was born near Turin, Italy, in 1903, and was quiet and reflective as a child. Even as a youth, he had a regular practice of prayer. He loved his mother very much and remained in close contact with her throughout his life by writing many letters.

He was educated at a school opened by St. John Bosco some 50 years earlier. Callistus served at morning Mass every day and was at the top of his class. He was encouraged to join the community of Salesian priests who staffed the school.

In 1922, Bishop Versiglia, who worked in the foreign missions, visited the school to share his experiences in China with the community there. “Bishop, you will see me in China,” Callistus told him.

When the rector of the school went to the mission territory in China, Callistus begged to follow him. Soon, he was writing back to his mother that he was teaching the catechism in Chinese.

He was sent to Macao and then to Timor, where his example of goodness and discipleship encouraged many people. “My good mother,” he wrote, “pray that your Callistus may not be just half a priest but completely the priest.”

In 1929, he was ordained by Bishop Versiglia and entrusted with the mission in Linchow. He promptly visited all of the families in the area and connected with the children there.

The political situation in China had been worsening since 1927 with civil war between the government and communist forces. Persecutions began and foreigners and Christians were targeted.

In 1930, Callistus was accompanying Bishop Versiglia as he traveled through the Linchow mission by boat on a pastoral visit. Some young boys and girls traveled with them. A group of communist rebel pirates stopped the ship, and demanded that the group hand over the girls. Bishop Versiglia and Callistus refused.

The two were overtaken and bound. They had time to hear one another’s confessions before being shot on this date. St. Callistus' image is used here with permission from

St. Callistus Caravario, the missionary to China who died defending the people he loved and served, pray for us!

Other Saints of the Day

St. Tarasius

St. Ananias II

St. Aventanus

St. Caesarius of Nazianzus

St. Callistus Caravario

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