Above: St. Ludovico Pavoni
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT LUDOVICO PAVONI (SEPTEMBER 11, 1784-APRIL 1, 1849)
Roman Catholic Priest and Educator
Also known as Saint Lodovico Pavoni
Rigorism keeps Heaven empty.
–St. Ludovico Pavoni
St. Ludovico Pavoni mentored thousands of boys and young men over a period of time measured in decades. The native of Brescia, in the Duchy of Milan, entered the world on September 11, 1784. During the Napoleonic period in Italy (1799-1814) the seminaries in at least part of the peninsula were closed, so our saint studied for the priesthood under the tutelage of Father Carlo Domenico Ferrari, who went on to serve as the Bishop of Brescia from 1834 to 1846. Pavoni, ordained to the priesthood in 1807, opened an oratory for street boys the same year. The purpose of this work was to help them make good decisions. In 1812 our saint became the secretary to Bishop Gabrio Nava. Six years later Pavoni became the pastor of the Church of St. Barnabas, and oratory transformed into a greater project.
In 1818 Pavoni founded an orphanage and an associated vocational school. Three years later the school became the Institute of St. Barnabas. He expanded the number of trades taught at the Institute over the years. These trades included typography and book binding (via the publishing house), carpentry, blacksmithing, silversmithing, shoe making, dye making, and tool making. He also added agricultural skills (via the farm attached to the Institute). In 1823 Pavoni expanded the student body to include deaf mutes. Two years later he founded a religious institute of priests and brothers and brothers to continue the work of the Institute of St. Barnabas in Brescia. Pope Gregory XVI granted papal approval for this religious institute in 1843. Four years later Pavoni became one of the first members of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate (the Pavoniani), dedicated to working in Brescia and beyond.
Pavoni died in 1849. He had already ministered to residents of Brescia during an outbreak of cholera. His final selfless deed was to lead his boys to safety away from Brescia, which was burning during a rebellion against Austria, on March 24. They found shelter at the novitiate on the hill of Saviano, about 12 kilometers outside of town. He died at Saviano on Palm Sunday, April 1, 1849. Pavoni was 64 years old.
Pavoni is the patron saint of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, members of which work in six countries.
Pope Pius XII declared Pavoni a Venerable in 1947. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 2002. Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2016.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
FEBRUARY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM
O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.
Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.
Through us give hope to the hopeless,
love to the unloved,
peace to the troubled,
and rest to the weary,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60