BISHOP (DECEMBER 20, 2004)
“I AM BY GOD’S GRACE, A CHRISTIAN, PRIEST, SALESIAN AND BISHOP; I MUST MAKE MYSELF A SAINT!”
Aloysius was born at Corbetta (Milan) on October 18, 1873, as the fourth of 15 children. One of his brothers became a missionary and a sister, a Canossian nun. After his studies he was ordained a priest in Milan. He would have liked to join the Salesians immediately, but his bishop, Cardinal Ferrari, sent him, a young priest of 22, as the vice-Rector of the Archdiocesan school at Saronno.
After eight years he got permission to join the Salesians. A doctor in theology, he taught moral theology and Sociology in the formation community of Foglizzo from 1906 to 1910. Then he was sent as Pastor of the incipient parish of Mary Liberatrice at Testaccio, Rome. The notorious area was totally transformed, thanks to the goodness of the new pastor. Once a ruffian on the road slapped him, but Fr. Aloysius said to him, “Thank you,” and showed his other cheek. “His confessional,” said a witness, “was frequented from morning till evening.” In 1916 he was appointed Bishop of Sutri and Nepi by Pope Benedict XV.
As bishop he adopted a rule of life for himself in five points:
“I will love my diocese as my own spouse. During my prayer I shall entrust my work for souls to Jesus and I shall not take any important decision before consulting with Him. I shall avoid all luxuries and superfluities; I shall draw up a timetable and be faithful to it. The central point of my episcopate shall be charity which is ready for any sacrifice.”
This he lived for 26 years, as a good Salesian. Bishop Aloysius said, “I am by God’s grace, a Christian, priest, Salesian and bishop; I must make myself a saint!”
He died outside his diocese on May 19, 1943, while giving a retreat to the students of the Lyceum at Pordenone. He was 70 years old. His mortal remains rest in the Cathedral of Nepi.