Saint Gasper Bertoni

Saint Gasper Bertoni

In 1777, St. Gasper was born in Verona, Italy. The following day after his birth, he was baptized. It is known that he came from a wealthy family with a very distinguished religious life.

Gasper was an only child after his baby sister died. Both at home and in the Jesuit-run St. Sebastian's school, he had an outstanding education.

When Gasper Bertoni received his first Holy Communion at eleven, he was called to a life of spiritual unity. As his call to the priesthood developed, he enrolled in the seminary at 18. As an external student who frequently attended the theological course, he discovered that Fr. Nicholas Galvani, his moral theology professor, was a fantastic spiritual mentor.

He is reported to have provided medical care to the ill and injured during the French army invasion in 1796, which marked the start of a turbulent 20 years in which he helped those in need. In May 1808, he assumed the role of spiritual leader for a community that St. Magdalena of Canossa had formed at St. Joseph's Convent.

On November 4, 1816, he moved into a small house next to a suppressed church known as "the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis" (from which the name of his community was eventually derived; in this small church, he also worked to spread devotion to Christ's Passion and wounds).

Understatedly, the new community provided these and other unpaid services to the Church and society by opening a tuition-free school. Together, the men led a life of severe observance and penance. With a wide apostolate that included missionary preaching, forming clergy, and educating youth in the Christian faith, an intense life of contemplation was coupled with complete availability to the bishop's requests.

On May 30, 1812, shortly after experiencing ecstasy while praying before a Crucifix, he had his first bout of "miliary fever," which nearly killed him. He did, almost miraculously, recover, but he remained ill for the remainder of his 41 years of life, all the while providing an amazing example of brave, self-assured abandonment to God and patience. Despite being in excruciating pain and lying in bed, he served as an "angel of counsel" to many people who came to him for advice.

After enduring numerous hardships, the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ grew from Verona to other Italian cities, the United States, Brazil, Chile, the Philippines, and mission territories like South Africa, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Thailand.

He died in the year 1853 and was later canonized by Pope John Paul II. His feast day is celebrated on June 12.

Other Saints of the Day
Saint Eskill
Saint Ampliatus
Saint Cominus
Saint John of Sahagun
Saint Peter of Mount Athos

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