Above: Map of Italy in 1494
SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA (1502-1539)
Founder of the Barnabites and the Angelica Sisters of Saint Paul
That which God commands seems difficult and a burden. The way is rough; you draw back; you have not desire to follow it. Yet do so and attain glory.
–Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria
Born at Cremona, Lombardy, Italy, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria‘s father died when the saint was two years old. Yet his mother was devoted to him, and he to her. So he had a good upbringing. The saint studied medicine at the University of Padua, graduating in 1524. He practiced medicine in Cremona yet felt drawn to the priesthood. So the saint studied for that vocation. Ordained in 1528, he moved to Metan.
One of the defining characteristics of the saint’s life was the founding of religious orders. In 1533, with Bartholomew Ferrari and James Morigia, Milanese noblemen (and Venerables in the Roman Catholic Church), he founded the Clerks Regular of Saint Paul, a.k.a. the Barnabites, after the order’s eventual headquarters church, St. Barnabas, Milan. The goal of the order was to revive spirituality in the Church. The saint encouraged frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist. He also introduced the Forty Hours’ Devotion, defined for that length of time because of the tradition that Christ had been dead forty hours. (The Forty Hours’ Devotion, of course, has a Eucharistic center.) The saint, critical of decadence among the clergy and other abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, faced heresy charges twice. And twice the authorities dismissed the charges. Pope Clement VI approved the order in 1533. The saint served as the first provost general, resigning in 1536. He continued to help build the order.
The saint also helped Louisa Torelli, Countess of Guastalla, found the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul in 1534. The order of uncloistered nuns devoted itself to protecting and rescuing girls who had fallen into prostitution.
While preparing this post I found websites for both orders. Members of them continue to perform good works for Jesus, fortunately.
The saint died of fever at his mother’s house at Cremona on July 15, 1539. He was thirty-seven years old. Pope Leo XIII canonized him in 1897.
Our time on this planet is valuable; what we do with the time we have matters, especially to others. What is God calling you, O reader, to do with the rest of your life? May you seek to do that. And may others help you succeed. Likewise, may you help others succeed.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 4, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS CARACCIOLO, COFOUNDER OF THE ADORNO FATHERS
THE FEAST OF JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME
Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria,
through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.
Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,
whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:11-23
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60