Roscelli, Agostino, St.

views updated


Founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata;b. July 27, 1818, Bargone di Casarza, Liguria, Italy; d. May 7, 1902, Genoa, Italy.

Agostino's family was poor, but the deep faith and peace that filled his home produced an introspective, contemplative soul open to the workings of God. He first felt called to the priesthood during a parish mission in 1835, but poverty made schooling difficult. With financial assistance, prayer, and hard work, he completed his seminary studies in Genoa and was ordained to the priesthood in 1846.

He began his parish work at St. Martin d'Albaro, then in 1854 he was assigned to the Church of Consolation. In addition to spending countless hours hearing confessions and providing spiritual counsel, Roscelli established residential centers to provide moral and educational support for young women.

In 1876, he founded the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata to care for women at risk because of their poor circumstances. Beginning in 1874, he served 22 years as chaplain to the provincial orphanage, in addition to working with prisoners, especially those condemned to death.

Throughout his life Roscelli's contemplative spirit and mystical experiences spurred him to action for love of God. Pope John Paul II, who beatified Roscelli on May 7, 1995, cited Roscelli as a special model for pastors on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. A second miracle was approved on July 1, 2000, opening the way for his canonization, June 10, 2001.

Feast: May 7.

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1995): 564. L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 19 (1995).

[k. i. rabenstein]