Saturday, January 06, 2007

San Carlo da Sezze

One of the few positive results about Epiphany being moved to the Sunday following January 6th is that today I can celebrate the feast of a good friend of mine, San Carlo da Sezze (Saint Charles of Sezze).
He's not a well known Saint outside of Italy, and from what I can gather outside of Sezze and Rome either.

He is another Saint I pretty much stumbled upon in Rome when I was visiting San Francesco a Ripa where is body is in a side altar.

I was just visiting the church because of my devotion to Saint Francis and this was one of the churches he would stay at in Rome.

I hear you can also visit San Carlo's cell at San Francesco a Ripa, but unfortunately I have never had any of the friars there be helpful in this. The sacristan would send me to the office, the office would send me to the sacristan (this is a textbook example of Italian bureaucracy, LOL). Thankfully his body is in the main church, so the only thing you have to worry about is if the church is open (and as most small churches in Italy, they do take siestas).

Although San Carlo was an uneducated lay-brother of the Franciscans, God gave him quite a spiritual insight and apparently wrote several books. He had a great devotion to Saint Theresa of Avila who was his inspiration and intercessor for spiritual knowledge.

He lived a very austere life and had a great love for the Blessed Sacrament. He even received the stigmata in the form of the wound in Christ's side when he devoutly prayed at the door of a church where the Blessed Sacrament was being exposed for adoration. A ray of light came forth from the Host and pierced his side. I believe the church was San Giuseppe a Capole Case if my research is correct, which is in the area between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain in Rome.

San Carlo's writings are hard to find in English, but I did manage to obtain a copy of his autobiography. It is a fascinating book as it not only tells of his life, but also gives us a glimpse of Franciscan religious life back in the 1600's. Wow! Talk about penance and austerities.

I'm not sure why there are so many varying dates for his feast day. The current Roman Martyrology has his feast as today. I'm not sure why the patron saints index has his feast listed as tommorrow and I have even less understanding of why Butler's has him listed on January 10th. January 6th is the most reasonable since it is the day San Carlo died.

Anyway, I present another friend for you to get to know. As Pope John Paul II said, we must encourage a LIVED theology of the Saints. Go out and read some lives of the Saints, find one you like, and pray to them. They will help you out.

And if you can obtain a copy of San Carlo's autobiography, I highly encourage you to read it.


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