Friday, June 24, 2005
A Saint for the Disabled  

June 23rd is the feast day of St. Joseph Cafasso. He was born in Italy in 1811. He was born with a curvature in his spine which resulted in his short stature. Despite his disability he was ordained a priest, and he became a successful teacher, preacher, confessor, and reformer.

He was well-known as a confessor who was loving, gentle, and able to apply the perfect salve to the penitent's wound. St. John Bosco met St. Joseph when he was a seminarian. He was a great influence on St. John Bosco encouraging him to work with the youth and to found the Salesians.

He is the patron of prisoners because of his life-long work with prisoners. He strove to bring reform to prisons, and he ministered to many prisoners including sixty men who he accompanied to their public execution. Through his love for the men, he was able to help bring them to repentance. Consequently, he referred to these men as his "hanged saints".

He died in Turin on June 23, 1860. His friend St. John Bosco gave the homily at his funeral mass. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1947.

St. Joseph Cafasso never let his disability hinder him from the work which God gave him as a priest. It would have been easy for him to feel sorry for himself or the accept the derision of people. Instead he accepted God's call to the priesthood, and he flourished in his vocation. He wrote about the priesthood:
Who is this man who in the world is called an ecclesiastic, a priest? Who is this personage whom some bless and others curse? Who is he whom the whole world talks about and criticizes, and who is the subject of discussion by all pens and all tongues? What is the significance of that name which resounds in every corner of the world? What is a priest? In order to define clearly what he is, I shall avail myself of the distinctions that St. Bernard made concerning ecclesiastics and shall consider him in his nature, in his person, in his habits. Quid in natura, quis in persona, qualis in moribus! In his nature he is a man like others. In his person, his dignity is above that of all other men in the world. In his conduct and habits, he should be a man totally different from all others as he is by his dignity and office. These are the three points which I propose for your consideration.
He is a testimony to us all that we should bear our crosses with love, and not let a disability prevent us from answering God's call upon our lives.

Posted by David at 2:45 AM  |  Comments (0)  | Link


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