View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SFO's Blessed Contardo Ferrini

I neglected to post this October 20.

Blessed Contardo Ferrini was born in Milan, Italy, on April 4, 1859, the son of a teacher. A scholar himself, Ferrini earned a doctor in law degree and was given a government scholarship to study abroad. In Berlin, he studied Roman-Byzantine law, achieving international fame.

After returning to Italy, he taught in various higher institutions of learning and eventually at the University of Pavia.

Even as he was achieving academic success, he was noted for his faith, publicly living out his faith and defending the church, and attending daily Mass at a time when that was not a common practice. Ferrini insisted that "Learning is not the road to God."

He took a private vow of celibacy, and was known to comment, "Law is my wife." Having mastered a number of languages, he read the books of the Bible in their original languages.

He did not cling to worldly or academic success, He observed, "Our life must reach out towards the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity."

In 1886 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order, remaining with the order until his death. Like Francis, he loved the beauties of nature. He often climbed the Alps, writing of his experiences, "God also speaks to man in the clouds on the mountain tops, in the roaring of the torrents, in the stark awfulness of the cliffs, in the dazzling splendor of the unmelting snow, in the sun that splashes the west with blood, in the wind that strips the trees bare."

He was also active with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

In 1900 he developed heart problems. In the the fall of 1902, he went to his country house at Suna to rest, but contracted typhus. He died on October 17, 1902. He was just 43.

Pope Pius XI conferred on him the title Venerable in 1931, and Pope Pius XII beatified him in 1947.


Post a Comment

<< Home