Mazzarella, Modestino, Bl.

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Baptized Domenico, known in religion as Modestino of Jesus and Mary, Franciscan Alcantarine priest; b. Sept. 5, 1802, Frattamaggiore, Naples, Italy; died July 24, 1854, Naples.

Domenico was the fourth child in a pious, working-class family headed by Nicolà Mazzarella, a cordmaker, and his wife Teresa Espósito, a weaver. In his youth Domenico showed such devotion as an altar boy and as patron of Our Lady of Good Counsel that Bishop Agostino Tommasi sponsored his seminary studies at Aversa (182021). After Tommasi's death (1821), Domenico continued his education at home.

In 1822, he joined the Franciscans at Grumo Nevano and received the habit and name Modestino at Piedimonte Matese in Caserta (Nov. 3, 1822). Following his novitiate at Santa Lucia del Monte, Naples, he was professed (Nov. 27, 1824), completed his studies at the convents of Grumo Nevano, Portici, and Santa Lucia, and was ordained priest at Aversa cathedral (Dec. 22, 1827). Thereafter he served in various roles within the order, including guardian of the friaries of Mirabella Eclano (Avellino) and Pignataro Maggiore (Caserta). In 1839, he was transferred to Santa Maria della Sanità in a populous Neopolitan slum, where he distinguished himself through his defense of life. He worked among the poor until his death from cholera, contracted while ministering to other victims of the epidemic.

A miracle attributed to Modestino's intercession was approved Dec. 23, 1993. Modestino was beatified by Pope John Paul II, Jan. 29, 1995.

Feast: July 24.

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1995): 249.

[k. i. rabenstein]