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St. Giuseppe Moscati and the Vocation of the Laity

The life of the 20th-century Italian doctor and saint was, as Antonio Tripodoro’s biography demonstrates, a fusion of the secular and the spiritual, of the earthly and of that which belongs to another realm.

On April 14, 1927, the following passage appeared in the newspaper Il Mattino:

On few occasions has Naples witnessed a spectacle so impressive in its boundless sorrow, which goes to show how much affection, esteem and admiration had been won by the man who was able to turn his profession into a very noble apostolate…with the aid of his teaching, to lavish his unparalleled goodness on all who were suffering, and who was able to demonstrate how, marvellously, religion and science can be reconciled.

Those were the words of a secular newspaper about a man who belonged very much to this world by virtue of how he lived and the profession he practiced, but whose life also spoke of a very different world. The life of Giuseppe Moscati was, in many ways, a fusion of the secular and the spiritual, of the professional scientist and the believer, of the earthly and of that which belongs to another realm. In his life, however, there was no dichotomy to be found; it was of a whole that, eventually, grew into holiness. The crowds that bid Giuseppe Moscati farewell that April day in 1927 recognised this quality; soon the wider world would come to recognize it too.

Many in the English-speaking world, I suspect, will not have heard of Moscati. The publication by Ignatius Press of Saint Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor of the Poor by Antonio Tripodoro will help introduce him to a wider, English-speaking audience. The book is an English translation of the original Italian text published in 2004. It is a relatively short book (under 200 pages), but it tells its story well, in an understated and yet inspiring fashion, with just the right amount of fact, detail, and anecdote to allow for the saint to emerge from its pages.

In many respects, the life of the man who was to become a saint is unremarkable. It could be summed up in a few lines: he was devoted to his family and his friends, he was an excellent practitioner of his chosen profession of medicine, and he lived and died devoutly. One feels that that is where the subject of the biography would have preferred matters to rest. All his life, no matter how influential or important in the eyes of the world he became, he was nothing if not self-effacing—one of the qualities that one notices in the biographies of saints. They shun the limelight; their eyes are upon another light, one the world has difficulty seeing. So it was with Moscati.

Read more at Catholic  World Report – http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/11/16/st-giuseppe-moscati-and-the-vocation-of-the-laity/

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