Baccilieri, Ferdinando Maria, Bl.

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Diocesan priest, tertiary of the Servants of Mary, and founder of the Servants of Mary of Galeazza; b. Campodoso di Reno Finalese near Modena, Emilia Romagna, Italy, May 14, 1821; d. Galeazza, Bologna, Italy, July 13, 1893. Ferdinando Maria Baccilieri was temporarily assigned as administrator of Santa Maria de Galeazza parish in Bologna, but stayed for forty-one years. In his youth he had attended the Bolognese school of the barnabites and the Jesuit school at Ferrara, before joining the jesuits at Rome (1838). Poor health forced him to return home. Upon recovering, Baccilieri studied for the priesthood at Ferrara and was ordained (1844). He dedicated himself to missions and to preaching until he lost his voice (1867). He also taught Latin and Italian at the seminary in Finale Emilia, and gave spiritual direction. He began doctoral studies in canon and civil law at the Pontifical University of Bologna in 1848, and in 1851, Cardinal Archbishop Oppizzoni of Bologna asked him to administer the troubled Santa Maria parish, where he became pastor. He served with a deep affection for the poor, a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, and a commitment to sacramental ministry.

Father Baccilieri founded a women's religious order, the Servants of Mary, to provide education for poor girls of the parish. The order started as the Confraternity of the Sorrows of Mary, but became a more formal congregation as the members were clothed in the mantellate of the Servite Third Order (1856), began to live in community (1862), and adopted the constitution and rule of the Mantellate Servite Sisters in Rome (1866). The congregation, which was recognized by the archbishop of Bologna in 1899 and approved by the Vatican in 1919, now has members in Italy, Germany, Brazil, South Korea, and the Czech Republic. On April 6, 1995, Baccilieri was declared venerable. A miracle attributed to his intercession was approved by the Vatican, July 3, 1998, leading to his beatification by John Paul II on Oct. 3, 1999.

Feast: July 1 (Bologna).

Bibliography: m. g. lucchetta, Ferdinando Baccilieri (St. Ottilien 1993).

[k. i. rabenstein]