Nicola da Gesturi, Bl.

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Baptized Giovanni Angelo Salvatore, called "Giovanni Medda," Capuchin; b. Aug. 5, 1882; Gesturi, Cagliari (archdiocese of Oristano, Sardegna), Italy; d. June 8, 1958, Cagliari. Giovanni Medda, the sixth child of a poor family, felt called to religious life but lacked the means to pursue it. He was raised by his eldest sister following the death of his parents, Giovanni Messa Serra and Priama Cogoni Zedda. After completing his primary education he worked on the farm. With the help of his parish priest, he entered the Capuchin convent of San Antonio Gesturi as a tertiary oblate (1911) and took the habit and name Fra Nicola (Oct. 30, 1913). He pronounced his first vows the following year on November 1 and his solemn vows on Feb. 16, 1919. During his first ten years of religious life, he served as cook in several Sardinian monasteries (Sassari, Oristano, and Sanluri). For the next 34 years (from 1924) Nicola was entrusted with collecting alms for the monastery in Cagliari and nearby Campidano. He developed an attitude of constant prayer, which animated all his actions. His spirituality and wisdom attracted others to him for counsel and comfort; however, he became most renowned as a miracle worker, especially for the sick. His body was buried in the cemetery of Bonaria. The ordinary process for his beatification was conducted from 1966 to 1971 and introduced in Rome in 1977. The declaration of Fra Nicola's heroic virtues came 18 years after his death (June 25, 1996). Pope John Paul II beatified him, Oct. 3, 1999.

Feast: June 8.

Bibliography: filippo da cagliari, Fra Nicola nel decennale della morte (Sardinia 1968).

[k. i. rabenstein]