Two Lay Saints of Naples Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 01 November 2007 08:53
Two lay saints who are not particularly well known in the US are St. Joseph Moscati (1880 - 1927) and Blessed Bartolo Longo.(1841 - 1926)

If you can imagine a devout and warm Gregory House, you will have a good picture of St. Joseph Moscati.

Joseph was a brilliant young physician in Naples who was well known for his heroic efforts to say his patients during the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. and the terrible cholera epidemic of 1911. Moscati was considered a master of using autopsies as a way to advancing medical knowledge.

The former Director of the Pathological Anatomy Institute had placed this sentence at the entrance of the room where autopsies were done in front of medical students as a teaching device: "Hic est locus ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae." ("This is the place where Death likes to help Life"). But in that Room, as Prof. Nicola Donadio writes, "there was no trace of religion, the place was severe but desolate."

Prof. Moscati thought to put on the top of a wall in that room, dominating the whole place, a Crucifix with this most happy sentence: "Ero mors tua, o mors" (= "Oh Death, I will be your death"), quotation of the Prophet Osea (Os 13, 14).

Joseph was convinced that the health of the body was dependent upon the health of the soul and he regularly encouraged his patients to draw nearer to God and to return to the sacraments. He gave free medical care to the poor, homeless, and to religious and had a gift for diagnosis that seemed to his colleagues to border on the miraculous. Moscati also served as Blessed Bartolo Longo's primary physician.

Bartolo Longo's incredible saga began when he was "ordained" a Satanic priest during his university days in Naples. Bartolo later wrote that on the night of his ordination by a satanic bishop, the walls of the "church" shook with thunder while blasphemous, disembodied shrieks knifed the air. Bartolo fainted with fright and for a while afterwards was deeply tormented and physically ill. Despite this depression and nervousness, he exercised his satanic priesthood by preaching, officiating at satanic rites, and publicly ridiculing Catholicism and everyone and everything connected with it.

Bartolo was brought back to the Christian faith by the prayers of his family and the witness of a friend who introduced him to the Dominican priest who was to become his friend, confessor, and spiritual director and who helped Longo withdraw from the Satanic cult. Fr. Radente said to him: "If you are looking for salvation, propagate the Rosary. It is the promise of Mary. He who propagates the Rosary shall be saved."

Bartolo became a professed Third Order Dominican and one of the greatest modern apostles of the Rosary. He build a magnificent church in Pompeii dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary. A respected lawyer, Bartolo and his wife spent much of their time and income caring for many orphans, especially the children of prison inmates, and paid for the training of forty five seminarians.

Oh - and just because you can't mention the city of Pompeii without thinking of its ancient history, here is a You tube bit from what looks like a very fascinating BBC recreation of the Last Day of Pompeii.