Franciscan Saints
  Tau
 
 27th October

Blessed Contardo Ferrini

Confessor, Third Order ,T.O.S.F.


Feast day either October 17th or 20th or 26th , Pope Pius XI conferred on him the title Venerable in 1931; and Pope Pius XII beatified him on  13th April 1947, referring to Contardo as " a model of Catholicism  in our times".



 

 The city of Milan was abounded in men of learning and virtue. Our present age has revealed a new star there, which is destined to show an amazed modern generation that profound learning and humble faith can well go hand in hand.

 

Contardo Ferrini was born of a distinguished family on April 4, 1859. When he was still a student in high school and college he encouraged his companions to lead good lives and exercised a kind of lay apostolate among them. After winning his doctorate in law, he obtained a government scholarship to study abroad. He went to Berlin, where he studied Roman-Byzantine law, a field in which he achieved international fame. In the capital of the German empire prejudices against Catholics did not keep Professor Ferrini from publicly professing his faith. On returning to Italy, he taught in various higher institutions of learning and eventually at the University of Paris.

 

It must be stressed here that Ferrini's life was practically an unbroken elevation of his soul to God. His keen intellectual ways penetrated to the Last Principle of all things. "Our life," he said, "must reach out towards the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity."

 

Every day he approached the Holy Table. He made a short meditation daily, and also read from Thomas a Kempis. His favorite books were those of the Bible. The better to savor the spirit of their contents, he read them in the original languages, of which he had a perfect command. Like another Joseph of Egypt, he preserved his purity unsullied amid the dangers of big city life. He practiced many and varied mortifications to arm himself against harm.

 

In 1886 he joined the Third Order of St. Francis, and for the rest of his life he faithfully observed its rule. He also enrolled himself in the St, Vincent de Paul Society. In his speeches and writings as well as in his conduct, he made it a point to show that faith and science are not only opposed to each other, but that faith is rather a shield to protect us from error and guide us to true heights.

 

In 1900 Contardo Ferrini was afflicted with a heart lesion in consequence of excessive labor. In the autumn of 1902, feeling the need of rest, he repaired to his country house at Suna. There, however, he was stricken with typhus. Due to his weakened condition, he was unable to resist the malignant fever, and died on October 17, 1902, at the age of 43. ( It was at the beginning of the academic year at the university and his students were waiting for him.)

 

The high esteem in which the deceased was held, now became evident. Letters of condolence from the professors of the university praised him as a saint. The people of Suna promptly expressed a desire to see him numbered among the saints. The demand for his beatification grew more insistent with time, and there was universal rejoicing when in 1909 Pope St. Pius X appointed Cardinal Ferrari to begin the process. Pope Pius XI conferred on him the title Venerable in 1931; and Pope Pius XII beatified him in 1947.



Prayer of the church

May the faithful, O Lord, be strengthened by Thy graces, that

 having received them, they may yearn for still more and through

 this yearning receive them anew in greater measure.

Through the same Christ Our Lord  Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee  and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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