Oddi, Diego, Bl.

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Baptized Giuseppe; Franciscan lay brother; b. June 6, 1839, Vallinfreda near Rome; d. June 3, 1919, Bellegra, Italy. Born into a poor family, Giuseppe Oddi labored in the fields rather than attend school. At age twenty, he felt a mysterious spiritual calling and responded by praying each evening before the Blessed Sacrament. Shortly thereafter (1860) he made a pilgrimage to the Bellegra (Rome) hermitage of St. Francis of Assisi, where he was deeply impressed by the prayer life of the brothers. He returned in 1864 and was met by Mariano da roccacasale (17781866; beatified with Oddi), who helped Oddi discern his vocation. Overcoming his parents' objections, Oddi entered the friary at Bellegra as a tertiary oblate (1871), but later professed solemn vows (1889). During his forty years as a brother, he begged alms throughout the Subiaco region. A miracle attributed to Brother Diego's intercession was approved April 6, 1998, leading to his beatification by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 3, 1999.

Feast: June 6 (Franciscans).

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

[k. i. rabenstein]