St Giuseppe Moscati

Feast Day November 16th

Giuseppe Moscati (1880-1927) was canonized in 1987.

Giuseppe Moscati was the seventh of nine children born to aristocratic parents. His father's career as a magistrate meant that the family settled in Naples. It was expected that Giuseppe would study law like his father but instead chose medicine. This decision was linked to an incident that happened in 1893, when his older brother Alberto who was a lieutenant fell from a horse and sustained head trauma. For years Giuseppe helped care for his injured brother. This led Giuseppe to reflect on the sometimes limited effectiveness of human remedies and the consoling power of faith.

He graduated from the University of Naples in 1903 and began working in Naples. During his career he demonstrated extraordinary skill in diagnosing his patients' ailments. Giuseppe regarded his medical practice as a lay apostolate, a ministry to his suffering fellowmen. He encouraged his patients, especially those who were about to undergo surgery, to receive the sacraments. He treated poor patients free of charge, and would often send someone home with an envelope containing a prescription and some money.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in April 1906, Giuseppe voluntarily helped to evacuate a nursing home in the endangered area. He treated many during the 1911 cholera epidemic and treated approximately 3,000 soldiers during World War I.

"The holy physician of Naples," as he was called, also made efforts to improve the medical profession. He was outspoken in his opposition to the unfair practices of nepotism and bribery that often influenced appointments at that time.

On a Tuesday in 1927, Giuseppe Moscati went to Mass and received Holy Communion (as he did every day) and then made his rounds at the hospital. After a midday meal he felt weary, lay down, and died peacefully. He was 46 years old.

The miracle for his canonization was the inexplicable cure of a young man who was dying of leukemia. His mother dreamed of a doctor in a white coat, whom she identified when her priest showed her a photo of Blessed Giuseppe. Through his intercession, her son was cured and returned to his job as an ironworker. The young man, Giuseppe Fusco, attended the canonization ceremony and presented to the Pope a wrought-iron face of Christ which he had made.

Giuseppe Moscati was beatified in 1975 and declared a saint by Pope John Paul II on October 25, 1987.

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