Saint of the Day|
Reconciliation can just mean a new way of looking at a problem
St. John Joseph had two sides look beyond dispute to a new beginning
By Tony Staley
As this Jubilee Year continues and we prepare to start both Lent
and the fourth season of Renew 2000, we are invited to engage in
St. John Joseph of the Cross Calosirto gives us a wonderful
example, because he was not only a skilled confessor, he also
showed great skills at reconciling differences between peoples.
St. John Joseph was born on Aug. 15, 1654, on Ischia, an island
near Naples, Italy. He was baptized as Carlo Gaetano Calosirto
and was a devout child.
When he turned 16, he joined Santa Lucia del Monte Convent at
Naples, a foundation of the Alcantarine Franciscans. This order
was founded in 1555 by St. Peter Alcántara and was devoted to a
life of penance and austerity.
Carlo was one of five - out of seven - boys in his family who
entered religious life. He took the religious name John Joseph of
the Cross and at age 20 was put in charge of starting a monastery
at Piedimonte di Alife, where he had separate hermitages built so
its members could have ample opportunities for quiet prayer.
Following his ordination in 1677 - he had wanted to follow St.
Francis' example and remain a brother, but bowed to his
superiors' wishes - he became a popular confessor because of his
ability to understand people's problems.
Next, he was called back to the motherhouse to serve as novice
master. One practice he insisted on for the novices was a regular
schedule of recreation.
Later, he returned to Piedemonte di Alife, where he served three
terms as superior and became well-known for his holy, austere
life and for performing miracles, including multiplying the
order's food supply. He also was said to have visions and
ecstasies, the gift of prophecy, and the ability to levitate.
He showed his skills as a reconciler during a dispute between the
Italian and Spanish Alcantarines over a papal ruling that the
order could have only a Spanish minister provincial. He resolved
the issue by convincing the two sides to form a separate Italian
province. They were so impressed by his abilities that he was
elected minister provincial.
St. John Joseph died on March 1, 1734, at Naples and was buried
at Santa Lucie del Monte. Almost immediately, his tomb became a
popular pilgrimage site. He was canonized in 1839. We celebrate
his feast on March 5.
Throughout this Jubilee Year, but especially during Lent,
consider what disputes you might be able to resolve. Also be open
to the attempts of others to resolve disputes in which you might
Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dictionary of Saints and 365 Saints.