Friday, 26 February 2010

The Servant of God Rev. Fr Xavier Rossi, C.SS.R. (1706-1758)

Born in 1706, Father Rossi was one of St. Alphonsus' first companions. He entered the Redemptorist Congregation a year after its foundation. Despite his ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, he was forced, almost as soon as he entered religion, to renounce apostolic work due to a violent cough, which caused frequent spitting of blood.

Instead he consecrated himself entirely to the Monastery of Ciorani, of which he became the architect, the business manager and the support. St. Alphonsus taught him to consider God as his treasurer. This "Treasurer" sent him sums sufficient to build both a church and a monastery which could house 50 religious and 100 retreatants. His "secret" for procuring resources was to give much to the poor and to count on Divine Providence with an entire confidence. "For alms to enter a monastery" he said, "they must also leave it." Father Rossi joined himself with rare tenacity to imitating the virtues of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He had to constantly wage war on a bad temper, which strongly worked on his character and required his continual efforts to be vanquished. But his virtue always gained the upper hand and he was always master of himself – in such a way that his temperament contributed to perfect his virtues.

Father died at Ciorani on 18 January, 1758. He had also been the superior of Saint Gerard Majella. †


Monday, 22 February 2010

Archbishop Celestine Coclé, C.SS.R. (1783-1857)

Born in 1783 at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, Father Coclé, after brilliant theological studies, distinguished himself as a Missioner by preaching the Gospel in numerous towns and villages of the Kingdom of Naples. He exercised successively the charges of professor, Rector of the Monastery at Pagani and Consultor General. Finally he was elected as Redemptorist Rector Major at the Chapter of 1824, taking the place of the Most Reverend Father Nicolas Mansione (4 June, 1824).

His discourses, circulars and acts all tended to promote efficaciously the spirit and works of St. Alphonsus in the heart of the Institute. He was particularly zealous in regular observance, the promotion of the studies and the attention he gave to preserving the proper character of Missions.

In 1831, at the request of King Ferdinand II and under the formal obedience of Pope Gregory XVI, Most Reverend Fr. Coclé was named confessor to the Neapolitan Court, consecrated as titular Archbishop of Patras and had to give up his post as Rector Major.

As personal advisor to the King he had the honour of incurring the wrath of the sectarians, who pursued him and obliged him, in 1847, to leave the Kingdom of Naples and take refuge in Malta.

Archbishop Coclé died at the Redemptorist Monastery at Naples on 1 March, 1857, in the 56th year of his Redemptorist Vows having made his profession on 21 November, 1800 at the age of 17.

Before his death he, who had worked so hard for the canonization of St. Alphonsus, had the honour of placing the Saint amongst the patrons of the City of Naples. †


Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Servant of God Br George Passy, C.SS.R. (1784-1836)

Brother George Passy was born on 5 April, 1784, in Vienna, Austria. By the grace of God he passed his childhood and youth in innocence. Very well versed in the study of literature, George dreamt of leaving this to enter into commerce. Meanwhile he had the grace to meet St. Clement Mary Hofbauer and to take him as spiritual father. Under his direction, George began to edit a very successful monthly magazine entitled "Olive Branches." But fearing that he would not know how to combine his piety with his preoccupation with study, he decided to become a Redemptorist.

It is remarkable that this man, with such a vast erudition, asked to be admitted to the Congregation as a Brother with the desire of making himself – for the rest of his life – the servant of the Congregation in Vienna. He made his profession on 14 August, 1825.

Everything in him denoted composure; grave in his conduct, of an ardent piety, bringing forth an intensive union with God. Charitable towards his neighbour, calm in times of joy, patient in sorrow.

With his knowledge of numerous languages he was appointed secretary to St Clement. One never saw him engaged in any useless occupation and still less affecting any gravity in his conduct; humble and simple – he was the enemy of idle conversations and very attentive to his duties towards God and those things placed in his charge. Such was his respect for the Priesthood that he never heard one of God's ministers without bowing his head. His love and care for his fellow Brothers went far beyond what was ordinary, for while rendering to them with great charity all the services he could, he would never allow himself to be served by them. Thus it is easy to understand how he won the esteem of his confreres.

An illness which he had contracted in his youth continued to undermine him year after year and his health declined rapidly – having reached the age of 50 his body was reduced to such a state that no remedy was able to give any hope of recovery. It was thus that on 31 December, 1836, he breathed forth his soul at Vienna, in the arms of his confreres. †


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Br Anthony Habermaier, C.SS.R. (1819-1895)

Br Anthony was born on October 6, 1819 and baptised with the name of James. Brother had been married, and in that state was a staunch Catholic, a prominent member of St Joseph's parish of Rochester, United States. He served for many years as usher in the church. After the death of his wife, he carried out his long-cherished desire of embracing the life of a Redemptorist brother. He was professed on April 15, 1869.

Being a first-rate tailor by trade, he rendered most valuable services to the community. For many years, he was connected with the novitiate, and had to attend to the various temporal wants of the young men. Brother Anthony was admirably suited for that position. It was in that quality that his name became, as it were, a house-hold word among the members of the Province, particularly among the younger ones, who had the benefit of his services during their novitiate.

He was, indeed, a faithful servant of the Lord, a genuine Redemptorist brother, humble and industrious, pious and cheerful. His memory will, therefore, ever be held in benediction. He died on September 2, 1895. †


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Venerable Fr Vitus-Michael Di Netta, C.SS.R. (1788-1849)

Father Di Netta was born on 26 February, 1788 at Vallata, in the Kingdom of Naples and was received into the Redemptorist Congregation while a seminarian in 1804 by the Servant of God Father Tannoia. He was professed on 25 April, 1808, and ordained a priest on 11 March, 1811. He was to become a holy and ardent Missioner.

Calabria was the principal scene of his activities and there he preached numerous Missions. (He is called the Apostle of the Calabrians.) His compelling words attracted all hearts and nobody could resist the power of his zeal.

To this ardent Missioner, this vigilant observer of the Rule, to this so mortified religious, so penitent, so humble, God gave the gift of reading the secrets of hearts far into the future. He had also the gift of miracles.

Father died on the day he himself had predicted – the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, 3 December, 1849 at Tropea.

On 22 June, 1910, Pope St. Pius X signed the decree of the introduction of his cause and conceded to him the title of Venerable. †


Monday, 1 February 2010

The Servant of God Rev. Fr Alphonsus Falcone, C.SS.R. (1791-1816)

This young Father was born on 30 November, 1791. He owed his birth to the prayers of his parents. His life was a continued ecstasy towards the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Most Blessed Virgin. He was professed on 24 October, 1807, and ordained a priest on Christmas Day, 25 December, 1815. But he was never to preach even a single Mission and died two months later at the age of 25 on 24 February, 1816 at Vietride Potenza. His holy tomb has been glorified by numerous miracles. †


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