Vatican - Cause of the Servant of God Francesco Convertini

11 January 2017

(ANS - Vatican City) - On 10 January 2017, the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops members of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, a positive opinion was expressed, with all affirmative votes, concerning the fame of holiness and the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Francesco Convertini, Salesian missionary in Bengal.  He was born in Locorotondo (Bari) on 29 August 1898 and died in Krishnagar, India, on 11 February 1976, 

Francesco was born in the Papariello district of Locorotondo (Bari) on 29 August 1898. He was called up for military service during World War I. He was wounded, taken prisoner and taken to Poland. When he returned home he said "yes" to the Lord's call that he had discerned through the mediation of Fr Angelo Amadei and the Cagliero community in Ivrea.

He set out from Genoa to India after receiving the Missionary Crucifix from the hands of Blessed Fr Philip Rinaldi. He was a novice of Venerable Stephen Ferrando and a disciple of Archbishop Louis Mathias and the Servant of God Fr Constantine Vendrame, and was distinguished for his exceptional apostolic zeal. His mission field was Bengal where he had a huge number of friends and spiritual children, both ignorant and learned, both rich and poor. He was the only missionary who could enter a house of Hindus or Muslims. He went continually from village to village, on horseback, by bicycle or better on foot with nothing but his backpack. In this way, he could meet many people and talk to them about Christ.

It gave of himself equally to all: Muslims, Hindus and Christians. He was loved by all and revered as a master of interior life with the wisdom of heart that he possessed in abundance. He was devoted to the Blessed Virgin and died on 11 February 1976 murmuring: "My Mother, I have never displeased you in all my life. Help me now!"

All during life he was able to accept others and to meet people with his heart, his goodness and his humanity. This is the legacy he has handed on to us and especially to the new generations.

Fr Convertini was not a man for theory.  He was very practical and was able to branch out in many directions with the values and ideals of the Gospel. He understood mercy not as a vague sentimental emotion but in the concrete practice of all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.


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