Nineteenth century Italy was blessed with Joseph Cafasso (1811 - 1860) who taught and lived the mission of mercy with which Our Lord commissioned the disciples on the night after His resurrection.
Early Life and Priesthood
Joseph was born in Castelnuovo d'Asti, Italy on January 15, 1811 as the third of four children. (This same village would also see the birth of St. John Bosco upon whom Joseph would have an important influence.) His sister, Marianna, who was born after him, would be the mother of Bl. Joseph Allamano, Founder of the Consolata Missionary Fathers and the Consolata Missionary Sisters.
The Institute of St. Francis of Assisi
Mentor, Confessor, Servant to the Poor and Prisoners
However, although he had an important impact upon a generation of priests through his work as a teacher and rector at the Institute of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Joseph is better known for four other things. First, he was a teacher and friend of St. John Bosco and served as his mentor for twenty-five years. Fr. Joseph encouraged, supported, and gave counsel to Fr. John in his ministry to the young men of Turin. After Fr. Joseph's death, Fr. John would write a biography of his mentor.
The Most Important Prison Reform
Perhaps, in shock from the small priest's action, the huge man consented. Then, Fr. Joseph prepared the man to be cleansed of his sin and heard the man as he made a good confession. When the burly man expressed how free he felt after being unburdened from his sins, all the other prisoners followed suit and received the mercy of God through Fr. Joseph.
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Feast Day: June 23 (memorial)
Patron of captives
Patron of imprisoned people
Patron of prisoners
Patron of prisons
Patron of prison chaplains
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