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Nicolantonio, Mariano da Roccacasale, Bl.

NICOLANTONIO, MARIANO DA ROCCACASALE, BL.

Baptized Domenico, Franciscan lay brother; b. Jan. 14, 1778, Roccacasale (Aquila), Abruzzi, Italy; d. May 31 (Feast of Corpus Christi), 1866, Bellegra, Italy.

Mariano's life was characterized by simplicity and poverty. He was one of six children of Gabriel de Nicolantonio and Santa de Arcángelo. In tending the family flocks in the Morrone mountains as a young boy, he grew to love silence and reflection.

He entered Saint Nicholas Friary at Arischia, Abruzzi, took the name Mariano (Sept. 2, 1802) and pronounced his solemn vows the following year. For 12 years he engaged in prayer and work, as a carpenter, gardener, cook, and porter, at Arischia. In 1814, Mariano asked and received permission to transfer to the more austere Saint Francis Friary at Bellegra, where he served as porter for forty years, welcoming pilgrims, other traveleres, and the poor. Among those he greeted and inspired was Diego oddi, who later became a Franciscan in the same friary.

A miracle attributed to Blessed Mariano's intercession was approved by Pope John Paul II, April 6, 1998, opening the way for his beatification Oct. 3, 1999.

Feast: May 30 (Franciscans).

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 19 (1999): 965. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed. 40 (1999): 13; 41 (1999): 2.

[k. i. rabenstein]

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