+ John Baptist Rossi was born near Genoa, Italy. He began seminary studies in Rome at the age of 13 but suffered a breakdown because of exhaustion and poor self-care. He eventually recovered and was ordained in 1721.
+ He loved to visit hospitals and worked in a shelter for the poor for nearly 40 years, offering comfort to the guests. He founded a “refuge” dedicated to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (to whom he had a strong devotion) to shelter homeless women and girls, beggars, and prostitutes.
+ In 1731, he was assigned as an assistant priest in the church of St. Mary in Cosmedin and was a beloved confessor and preacher.
+ Saint John Baptist Rossi suffered a stroke in 1763 and died the following year. He left so little money that a local parish had to pay for his funeral. He was canonized in 1881.
As a sign of how loved he was within the city of Rome, Saint John Baptist Rossi became known as a “second Saint Philip Neri,” the 16th century priest and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory who is also honored as the patron of the city of Rome.
“This is the steward, faithful and prudent, whom the Lord set over his household, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time.”—Luke 12:42
O God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set blessed John Baptist Rossi in the Church
to feed your sheep by his words and form them by his example,
grant that through his intercession
we may keep the faith he taught by his words
and follow the way he showed by his example.
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: Common of Pastors—For One Pastor)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.