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Saint of the Day: Bl. Giovanni Maria Boccardo

Parish priest known for his love of the poor



Priest and Founder (1848-1913)

His life

+ Giovanni was born in Ca’Bianca, Turin, Italy, and was the eldest of ten children. Three of his brothers became priests and one of them, Luigi Boccardo, has also been beatified.

+ Ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Turin in 1871, he desired to enter religious life, but was assigned to work in the diocesan seminary as an instructor and spiritual director.

+ Giovanni earned a doctorate in theology and became an honorary canon of the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Chieri. In these years, he became friends with Saint John Bosco, Saint Leonard Murialdo, and Blessed Joseph Allamano.

+ Giovanni was assigned to serve as parish priest in Pancalieri and was a beloved pastor, known for his care for the poor, children, and solicitude for prisoners. Recognizing the need for better medical care for the poor, he established a new congregation of sisters: the Poor Daughters of St. Cajetan.

+ Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo died on December 30, 1913, and was beatified in 1998.

For prayer and reflection

When a profound silence covered all things / and night was in the middle of its course,

your all-powerful Word, O Lord, / bounded from heaven’s royal throne.—Entrance Antiphon for December 30 (cf. Wisdom 18:14-15)

Spiritual bonus

On the 30th day of December, we also remember Pope Saint Felix I. Elected Bishop of Rome in 269, he is recorded as having approved the practice of celebrating the anniversaries of the “heavenly birthdays” of the martyrs and the celebration of the Eucharist at their graves (giving rise to the practice of “feast days”) and he combatted an early heresy that denied the divinity of Christ. He died in 274.


Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that the newness of the Nativity in the flesh
of your Only Begotten Son may set us free,
for ancient servitude holds us bound
beneath the yoke of sin.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for December 30)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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