Spinelli, Francesco, Bl.

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Priest, founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; b. Apr. 14, 1853, Milan, Italy;d. Feb. 6, 1913, Rivolta d'Adda (near Cremona), Italy. While he was still very young, Francesco moved with his family from Milan, where he was baptized (Apr. 15, 1853), to Cremona. The family spent summers at Vergo (near Bergamo), where Francesco was cured of a severe spinal problem in 1871. His priestly vocation was fostered by the charity and devotion of his mother, his uncle, Peter Cagliaroli, and a friend, Luigi Palazzolo. Soon after his ordination (Aug. 14, 1875) at Bergamo, Spinelli made a pilgrimage to Rome, where he was inspired to create an order of nuns dedicated to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for atonement and reconciliation. Upon returning to Bergamo, he met Gertrude Caterina comen soli, who was pursuing the same calling. With Comensoli he founded the Sacramentine Sisters (1882). When the new congregation met with financial difficulties, the bishop of Bergamo severed Spinelli's connection with the sisters in the diocese. Spinelli was welcomed by Bishop Geremia Bonomelli of Cremona. At Rivolta d'Adda Spinelli founded (1889) the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which is independent of the Sacramentine Sisters but uses the same Rule. Personally Spinelli was compelled by his love of the Eucharist to meet the needs of the suffering and marginalized, even while he himself was sick or troubled. Spinelli's process for beatification, opened Jan. 25, 1952, concluded with his beatification at Caravaggio, Italy, by John Paul II, June 21, 1992.

Bibliography: p. g. borgonovo, Il prête Francisco Spinelli, (Milan 1939). e. lingiardi, "A quarantanni dalla santa morte. Il venerabile. Francesco Spinelli verso la gloria degli altari," La vita cattolica (Cremona, 5 February 1955): 4. Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1952): 63840; (1992): 764.

[k. i. rabenstein]