Bl. Angelo of Furci

February 6th

Blessed Angelo was born in the village of Furci, in the Province of Chieti, Italy. His parents, Adalitto and Abalzia, were deeply religious, and being advanced in years, longed to have a child of their own to comfort them in the old age.

This singular blessing they sought from Our Lord by passing their days in prayer, fasting and mortification. As a Christian couple there were committed to pleading to the divine Majesty and the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel to whom they were very devoted. They even made a pilgrimage to the ancient sanctuary of “the unconquered archangel” at Gargano. There they prayed with confidence and in 1246 the desire of such a Christian couple was crowned by the birth of a child whom they named Angelo.

As a little child, Angelo was given over to the care of his mother’s brother, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Cornaclano. Under the guidance of such a wise and holy abbot, Angelo developed the dispositions already present in his noble and sensitive soul. He studied literature and philosophy proving to be of alert mind and promise. At the age of eighteen Blessed Angelo returned to his home where he quickly became known and esteemed as a young man of excellent gifts.

Not long after his return home, Blessed Angelo’s father fell fatally ill, and calling his son to him he told Angelo about his birth and God’s intervention. His father also suggested that Angelo consider entering an Augustinian Monastery. After his father’s death Blessed Angelo, being of strong character, mourned his father in a manly way and, as a good son, supported his elderly mother, Albazia in her sorrow.

One year later, the time of mourning completed, Blessed Angelo gave dispersed his possessions to the poor and went to Vasto, to enter the Augustinian monastery there. Without knowing what his future might hold, but trusting in the intercession and aid of St. Michael the Archangel and of our Holy Father, Saint Augustine, his fixed his heart on embracing the Augustinian life. It is said that after hours of walking, the very first building he came upon was the monastery of Saint Augustine. This he took, as a sign, that he was fulfilling his divine vocation.

Blessed Angelo was admitted as a novice in 1266, at twenty years of age. After his profession of religious vows he spent fours years studying theology and was ordained to the holy priesthood. He was immediately sent to Paris where, at that time, the most promising students of the Augustinian Order were sent. Blessed Angelo arrived in Paris in 1271 where he met Blessed Giles of Rome (Aegidius Romanus), a renowned Augustinian theologian. It was under the tutelage of this wise and holy Augustinian theologian that Blessed Angelo completed his advanced studies. Blessed Angelo remained for five years in Paris, completing his degree in 1276, thereupon returning to Abruzzi to teach theology.

He remained in that Province for eight years and, when Blessed Clement of Osimo was elected prior general of the Augustinian Order in 1284, Blessed Angelo was sent to Naples to preside at the provincial chapter in the monastery of St. Augustine. While at this Chapter, the saintly prior general, Clement, recognizing both the zeal and acumen of Blessed Clement, immediately chose him to be first lector in the chair of theology at Saint Augustine’s in Naples.

At the next General Chapter (1288 and 1291 ) the capitular fathers unanimously elected Blessed Angelo as prior general. In great humility he refused this office thinking himself unworthy. But when Blessed Clement required him to accept, Blessed Angelo obeyed the outgoing Prior General and showed by his deeds that he was no less capable of successfully governing than of successfully teaching.

Known for his holiness, zeal for uprightness, gentleness of spirit, and fervent charity, Blessed Angelo labored tirelessly for the good of the Gospel and the Augustinian Order. At age eighty one years, in 1327 he fell ill and died in the Lord on 6 February 1327 at the monastery of Saint Augustine in Naples. Blessed Angelo was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 and his feast is celebrated by the Augustinian community on the 6th of February.

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