Egidio Maria of St. Joseph, Bl.

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Franciscan lay brother; b. near Taranto (Apulia), Italy, Nov. 16, 1729; d. Naples, Feb. 7, 1812. He practiced his father's trade of ropemaking and supported the family after his father's death (1747). Before entering the Alcantarine Franciscans at Taranto (1754) under the impetus of an extraordinary spiritual experience, he led a very devout life and participated zealously in the activities of the Sodality of Our Lady of the Rosary. From 1759 to 1812 Egidio (whose name outside religion was Francesco Pontello) lived at the friary of San Paolo a Chiaia in Naples, where he labored as cook, porter, and alms gatherer (quaestor). His simplicity and serenity won him the affection of the Neapolitan sick and poor, among whom he propagated devotion to Mary and Joseph. He was beatified Feb. 5, 1888.

Feast: Feb. 7.

Bibliography: p. coco, Cenni della vita del beato Egidio Maria di S. Giuseppe, taumaturgo di Taranto (Taranto 1931). m.a. habig, The Franciscan Book of Saints (Chicago 1959) 8992. Acta ordinis minorum 7 (1888) 1820.

[c. j. lynch]