Ravaschieri, Balthasar, Bl.

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Franciscan; b. Chiavari, 1419; d. Binasco, Oct. 17, 1492. Ravaschieri was born into a noble family whose ancestors were the counts of Lavagna. His father, Count Cattaneo, died in 1421 shortly after Balthasar's birth. His aunts Ginevra and Tobia, both Franciscan tertiaries, were responsible for instilling in him a sense of piety and morality. He entered a friary of Franciscan Observants, located near his home. He was a model religious, a good theologian, and a zealous confessor. In addition he practiced extraordinary mortifications. He was appointed superior and later vicar provincial. But he spent the best years of his life at Santa Maria del Campo Seminary in Binasco. As early as 1456 he had made a visitation of the Third Order there; he returned there at the conclusion of his duties as provincial because he was attracted to a life of prayer and to the apostolate. At this time he is said to have made some conversions and performed some miracles.

At the general congregation in Pavia in 1478 he came to know bernardine of feltre. Ravaschieri was inflicted with a crippling case of gout, which he accepted as a means to draw him closer to God. In spite of this affliction he preached and heard confessions whenever he could. One winter day someone left the crippled Ravaschieri in the garden during a storm, but the snow fell around him leaving him dry. His cult began immediately after his death, and he is still venerated today. In 1805 his relics were transferred to Pavia and in 1812 to Basilica. His cult was confirmed Jan. 7, 1930, for the Franciscans and for the Dioceses of Pavia and Genoa.

Feast: Oct. 25.

Bibliography: b. da carasco, Il Beato Baldassare Ravaschieri dei Frati Minori (2d ed. Chiavari 1930). j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, 12 v. (Paris 193556) 10:562563. j. goyens, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912) 6:428.

[j. cambell]