St. Artémides Zatti: Known as the "nurse of the poor," this Salesian brother promised Our Lady that if he was healed of tuberculosis, he would give his life for others.
The Italian-Argentinean St. Artémides Zatti, Salesian coadjutor brother and nurse, was canonized by Pope Francis in a celebration that took place in Rome this past October 9.
There were also celebrations in Argentina: in Viedma, where he served at the hospital, as well as in Bahía Blanca, where he discovered his vocation. Other cities also participated with various activities, such as a bicycle caravan that honored the means by which the saint used to visit the sick.
In recent days much has been said about the life of Zatti, who was born in Boretto, Italy, in 1880, (a year remembered also for the beginning of the Salesian mission in the Argentinean Patagonia) and who emigrated with his family in 1897 to Argentina.
According to various reports, Zatti wanted to become a priest, but after catching tuberculosis while caring for the sick, he promised the Virgin that if he was cured he would dedicate his life to caring for the health of others. And so it happened.
Zatti, also known as “the nurse of the poor,” died on March 15, 1951, of a self-diagnosed tumor. He was declared venerable on July 7, 1997, and beatified by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on April 14, 2002.
Below are five photos published by the Salesian Historical Archives. In a way these images represent a summary of Zatti’s testimony in Argentina, a country that is now filled with joy on account of its third saint.
Undoubtedly it was a great event that was also special because it was the first canonization of a Salesian who was neither the founder of one of the branches of the family nor a direct collaborator of St. John Bosco.
1. ZATTI WITH HIS FAMILY
Zatti’s family emigrated to Argentina, a country that became a mission territory for the new saint. In some way, the photo also represents the origin of everything that he would become, together with the people who helped to nurture his love for God. “The photograph dates from 1899, before Artemides traveled to the aspirantate in Bernal. He was 19 years old. From left, front row: Herminio, Florinella, Mrs. Albina Vecchi (mother), Delfina, Mr. Luis Zatti (father) and Teresa. In the back: Ildegarda, Artémides, Pompeo and Eliseo,” according to the Salesian Historical Archive.
2. AT THE PHARMACY
It’s impossible to think of Zatti’s life without it being associated with the hospital in Viedma. Indeed, this photo released by the Salesians shows him in the pharmacy. “Zatti made his perpetual profession on February 18, 1911, and was, from then on, partially in charge of the Hospital. From 1913 onwards he assumed full responsibility for the health center,” describes the Salesian Historical Archive.
3. ST. ZATTI WITH ONE OF HIS YOUNG PATIENTS
For Zatti, his patients were Jesus. It’s said that when he was looking for clothes for a child, he said to a nun: “Sister, do you have clothes for a 12-year-old Jesus?” It’s also impossible to conceive of Zatti and his mission except alongside the sick (as the feature image above also depicts him in full action in a ward). And this striking image from 1940 proves it. “Artémides with a macrocephalic child, whom he cared for until the day he died, and boarding school children from the San Francisco de Sales School,” adds the description from the Salesian Historical Archive.
4. IN THE PROCESSION CARRYING THE STATUE OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
Is it possible to conceive of a Salesian without Mary Help of Christians, to whom Don Bosco had a special devotion? The answer is “no.” The photo shows “Zatti, honored to carry the statue of Mary Help of Christians on one of his pilgrimages to the sanctuary of Fortín Mercedes,” according to the description from the Salesian Historical Archives.
5. WITH FRIENDS ON BICYCLES
But it is also impossible to imagine Zatti without his bicycle, a means he used to visit the sick. Zatti and his bicycle (in the image of the Salesian Historical Archive, he is seen with two friends on the grounds of the “new hospital”), another emblematic postcard that summarizes his testimony of love and service.