Rossi, John Baptist, St.
ROSSI, JOHN BAPTIST, ST.
Patron of diocesan clergy; b. Voltaggio (Genoa), February 22, 1698; d. Rome, May 23, 1764. John Baptist came of an impoverished family and was educated with the assistance of benefactors; his cousin brought him to Rome to continue his education at the Jesuit college. Although stricken with epilepsy, probably from too rigorous mortification while a student of philosophy and theology with the Dominicans, he was ordained by special dispensation on March 8, 1721. He did not exercise the powers of confessor, however, until 1738, but from then until his death he was regarded as an outstanding and popular priest. Concern for both the temporal and spiritual welfare of the poorer classes marked his life. He preached to the people in marketplaces, hospitals, prisons, military barracks—any place where the poor and needy would congregate. By 1731 he had established a refuge for abandoned children and later a hospice for the homeless. After succeeding to the canonry of his cousin at St. Mary in Cosmedin in 1737, he spent the bulk of his benefices supporting his charities. On his death, he was buried at the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the church of Trinità de' Pellegrini. By 1781 his cause had been introduced. Pius IX beatified him in 1860 and leo xiii raised him to the ranks of the saints on December 8, 1881. In 1965 his relics were translated to his new titular church in Rome.
Feast: May 23.
Bibliography: f. baumann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 9:58. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:379–381.
[p. d. smith]