Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso
Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso
Feast Day - April 11
Angelo was born of wealthy and very pious parents at Chiavasso in Piedmont in the year 1411. His pious mother beheld in each of her children a new pledge of God’s love, for which reason she endeavored above all to cultivate in their tender hearts the love of God through veneration of the sufferings of Christ. Angelo had been much impressed. It was frequently noticed how the little boy arose in the middle of the night, prayed before his crucifix, and kissed it tenderly. Devotion to the Passion of Christ and the ever Blessed Virgin protected him also through his student years, so that amid many dangers he preserved the purity of his heart unsullied.
At Bologna Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso was raised to the dignity of a Doctor of Theology and of Canon and Civil Law. These extraordinary mental gifts, as well as his outstanding position, induced the Duke of Montferrat to appoint him councilor and senator for the duchy. Quite remote was the possibility that the brilliant career open to the young man would dazzle him; all these things could not even satisfy him.
In his thirty-third year, when his mother died, Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso resigned all his preferments, went to Genoa, and begged the Friars Minor for admission into the order. Here he strove for perfection with such lively zeal that everyone admired him. Love of God, devotion to the Passion of Christ and to the Mother of God filled his heart. From these budded forth all the cloistral virtues: humility, obedience, chastity, and love of poverty. He burned with an extraordinary zeal for souls. When he was appointed to the task of preaching, he proved tirelessly active for the salvation of souls. In a special way were the poor the object of his care; he strove in every way to assist them, and to improve the material lot of the poorer classes.
But the influential also desired the services of Father Angelo. Duke Charles of Savoy chose him for his confessor, and Pope Sixtus IV commissioned him to preach a campaign against the Turks who had invaded the coasts of Italy. His successor, Innocent VIII, sent him to repress the heresy of the Waldensians. In his order, he was obliged to take over some of the most responsible positions. He was elected provincial of his province at Genoa, and then vicar general of the Observants for four terms.
In order to turn to profit his knowledge and rich experience, Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso wrote a book about conscience cases for the service of confessors and directors of souls, which was repeatedly reprinted at Venice.
When he was eighty-two years old, Blessed Angelo of Chiavasso asked to be relieved of his official duties. The request was granted. He then lived in the solitude of the friary at Cuneo, intent only on prayer and preparation for death. In his eighty-fourth year he died the death of a saint. Immediately the public began venerating him, and the devotion was approved by Pope Benedict XIII. His body has remained incorrupt even to this day, and it emits a pleasant odor.
from The Franciscan Book of Saints, edited by Marion Habig, OFM
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