When we hear about a very young person who has been canonized—such as St. Dominic Savio or Blessed Imelda Lambertini—it’s tempting to think that such exceptional and radiant holiness must be a thing of the distant past. Yet there is no reason that a young person today cannot follow in the footsteps of Christ just as closely, even while fully embracing the modern technology that it’s often so tempting to condemn. Watch this video to learn about Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who died in 2006, who was known as a “computer geek,” and whom the Church already has declared Venerable.
Carlo was born in London on May 3, 1991, to Italian parents who moved the family to Milan when he was 3 months old. It was there that Carlo grew up, attending local schools and then a Jesuit high school. Devoted to Our Lady from a young age, Carlo made the effort to recite the Rosary daily and, after his first Communion at age 7, also strove to receive the Eucharist daily and to attend confession weekly.
Carlo was exceptionally compassionate and mature even as a child. When bullies at school picked on classmates with disabilities, it was Carlo who stepped up to defend them. He also worried for friends who were suffering through their parents’ divorces, and made a point of inviting them to his home and offering his support.
“He showed extraordinary care for others; he was sensitive to the problems and situations of his friends and those who lived close to him and were with him day to day,” said Francesca Consolini, postulator for the causes of the saints at the Archdiocese of Milan, in this article.
His warm and gentle heart calls to mind the holiness of many earlier saints, but in one way, Carlo was an original: living in the 21st century, he had access to computers and the internet—and he found them fascinating. He saw media as an awesome opportunity for Christians to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel.
This article reports his passion for computers, and how he used this knowledge in service to God and the Church:
According to the website for his canonization process, “Carlo was gifted at anything related to computers so that his friends, and the adults with computer engineering degrees, considered him a genius. Everyone was amazed by his ability to understand the computer secrets that are normally accessible only to those who have completed university.” One of his most significant computer ventures was cataloguing all the Eucharistic miracles of the world. He started the project when he was 11 years old and wrote at the time, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.” He then asked his parents to start taking him to all the places of the Eucharistic miracles, and two and half years later the project was completed. Acutis researched over “136 Eucharistic miracles that occurred over the centuries in different countries around the world, and have been acknowledged by the Church” and collected them into a virtual museum. Besides creating a website to house this virtual museum, he helped create panel presentations that have traveled around the world.
With his friendly and social nature and love for technology—he was passionate about film and comic editing as well as computers—Carlo was like so many teenagers today. His deep love for Christ, however, set him apart, and it was this friendship with God that sustained him through the great trial of his life: his battle with leukemia. From his initial diagnosis, Carlo made a point of offering everything he suffered for the Church and the pope. He continuously thought of others even through agonizing treatments; toward the end of his life, a doctor asked if he was suffering much pain, and Carlo replied, “There are people who suffer much more than me.” Carlo Acutis, pray for us!