Guanella, Luigi, Bl.

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Religious founder; b. Fraciscio di Campodolcino (Sondrio), Italy, Dec. 19, 1842; d. Como, Italy, Oct. 24, 1915. The son of poor parents, Guanella entered the seminary (1854) and was ordained (1866). During his pastoral labors in the village of Savogno, he showed so much concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of his parishioners that they erected a monument in his honor shortly after his death. While pastor in Pianello Lario, Guanella opened a hospice for orphaned and abandoned children (1878) and then transferred its headquarters to Como, where he opened the House of Divine Providence (1886). He started similar institutions in several other Italian cities. To perpetuate his work, Guanella founded the daughters of st. mary of providence and also a religious congregation for men, the Servants of Charity, originally (1904) known as the Sons of the Sacred Heart. The Servants of Charity (or Opera Don Guanella ), who received definitive papal approval in 1928, had 600 members in 1963. Both institutes have spread to Switzerland and the Western Hemisphere. Visits to these regions stimulated Guanella to aid Italian immigrants. Through his friendships with Davide albertario and Giuseppe toniolo, he also became a pioneer leader in solving the social question. Guanella promoted the apostolate of the press and wrote about 50 popular devotional, historical, and pedagogical works. He was beatified Oct. 25, 1964.

Feast: Oct. 24.

Bibliography: l. mazzucchi, La vita, lo spirito e le opere di don Luigi Guanella (Como 1920). a. tamborini, Don Luigi Guanella (Como 1943). l. carini alimandi, Luigi Guanella: per le vie del quarto mondo (Rome 1978). p. pellegrini, Don Guanella inedito: negli scritti di Piero Pellegrini, ed. a. di guez and n. minetti (Rome 1993).

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