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updated 2:39 PM UTC, Jul 16, 2024

New Venerable, Br. Guglielmo Gattiani

The Holy Father Francis in the audience of May 23, 2024, authorized Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the Decreto super virtutibus et fama sanctitatis of Fr. Guglielmo Gattiani, professed priest of the Province of Emilia Romagna.

The word “radicality” (never far from poverty) adopted as the center of one’s life characterized the essence of Fr. Guglielmo Gattiani’s experience, where the typically Franciscan expression “My God and My All” summarized his search for the Absolute in continuously stripping away oneself and embracing the One, Supreme Good. A friar concerned only with the essentials, the Servant of God did not seek the hermitage to be alone with God, but lived an “austere poverty,” the one doorway he could enter to access God intimately and from there go out to meet others and speak of “the things above.” The exercise of his ministry, in the encounter with the many faithful who visited him daily, was characterized by a sincere welcome and intense consolation; he was never given to distraction but lived intimately in the moment and always carried it in his prayers. The Servant of God, with his sought-after radical living of absolute poverty, inspiring obedience and faithful chastity, was able to pronounce to the men of his time, and he does today, that the primacy of God is essential for an authentic life lived to the fullest.

Father Guglielmo Gattiani was born in Badi (Province of Bologna), on November 11, 1914, and baptized with the name Oscar in the parish church of St. Prospero on November 15, 1914. In Badi, he spent his boyhood helping his parents in the small village bakery. Don Pio Mazzetti, who saw in him a vocation, directed him to the Capuchins. On Nov. 9, 1924, Oscar entered the Seraphic seminary in Faenza, where he completed elementary school before moving on Sept. 10, 1925, to Imola for high school. On Nov. 15, 1929, he began his novitiate, receiving the new name of Br. Guglielmo da Badi, at the end of which, on Nov. 17, 1930, he made his religious profession. He then moved on to Lugo to complete his high school studies and later to Forli and Bologna to study philosophy and theology. On May 22, 1938, he was ordained a priest and was sent, in succession, as a teacher in the seraphic seminaries of Faenza, Lugo and Ravenna. In 1944 he was in Cesena as a teacher for the high school friars, while in May 1946 he was appointed Novice Master, a service he would perform until August 1964, when he was asked to be a spiritual mentor to the novices. Freed from the obligation of being continually present, the Servant of God, with the consent of his superiors began to lead a life of poverty paired with service to the Capuchin Poor Clares in Cesena.

In 1969 the superiors consented to a desire he had always harbored: to reside in Lagrimone, where the Capuchin Poor Clares, after arriving from Ferrara, had built a new monastery; there, he was able to observe a life of “absolute poverty” in close union with God while serving as chaplain for the nuns. It was during this time that he met Fr. Natale Montalti, eager to share the same experience of poverty and also the project for the foundation of “The Father's House,” as a venue for youth gatherings, and also served families and others in order to bring to bear a “Fraternity of Universal Love.” The Servant of God found the “little place” he longed for where he could live in fraternity, conduct apostolic itinerancy, cultivate prayer and contemplation and practice hospitality toward those who came there.

In April 1980, he accompanied a group from Cesena to the Holy Land where he received permission from his superiors to spend a sabbatical year with Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti's community and live out his ideal of “absolute poverty.” From the Holy Land, the Servant of God would have to return after only six months because he was called to replace the person in charge of the shrine of the Most Holy Crucifix in Faenza.

In this new service, the Servant of God will be led to detach himself completely from his previous initiatives, but without ever abandoning living “absolute poverty.” His daily presence at the shrine, combined with his austerity and very cordial and outgoing manner attracted large numbers of the faithful to meet him daily.

In 1985, prompted by the ease with which St. John Paul II used the media, he felt the importance of starting a Catholic world television by entering into a partnership with Telepace. On December 15, 1999, the Servant of God, as was his daily routine, went to church to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Upon hearing his last confession, he was stricken with a heart attack. The priest, who had recently confessed, recorded his last words in which he offered his life for the Church, for the pope, and for all people. The Decreto super virtutitus et fama sanctitatis is the recognition of a virtuous life of the Servant of God. Now, a miracle, investigated and approved by the competent authorities, would lead to his beatification.

Last modified on Thursday, 30 May 2024 07:55