Sportelli, Caesar, ven.

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Redemptorist preacher of missions, companion and counselor of St. Alphonsus liguori; b. Mola di Bari, Italy, June 19, 1701; d. Pagani, April 19, 1750. As the son of distinguished parents, he studied law and practiced with success in Naples. Deeply religious, he sought spiritual

direction from Thomas Falcoja, who later became bishop of Castellamare di Stabia. Through Falcoja, Sportelli came to know (St.) Alphonsus, whom he joined in April 1733. Because of difficulties concerning a title for ordination, he was not a priest until May 5, 1737. Mean while he taught in the schools of the Redemptorist foundations at Scala and Villa Liberi. As a missionary his fame was widespread. Besides natural eloquence, he possessed a frankness, optimism, discretion, and piety that touched the most hardened sinner. The Redemptorist houses at Pagani and Caposele were stabilized during his regime as superior. Stricken with apoplexy, he increased his renown for sanctity by his resignation to a long illness. Alphonsus wished to see the process of Sportelli's beatification begun during his own lifetime, but the cause was not introduced until 1899.

Bibliography: c. sportelli, Epistolae Ven. Servi Dei Caesaris Sportelli, ed. c. henze (Isola del Liri, Italy 1935). g. landi, The Life of C. Sportelli (The Saints and Servants of God; London 1849).

[m. j. curley]