ST. GASPAR BERTONI
Gaspar Bertoni was born on October 9th 1777 and died on June 12th 1853.The father was a rich man but a very poor manager so in few years
Gaspar was poor and he could truly say “Our Father in heaven and in my family”.
Fortunately the mother, Brunora Ravelli, was a very intelligent and
lovable lady who taught him to grow well physically and spiritually
especially after the father went to live with another lady.
Metilde, Gaspar’s only sister, died on 11 November 1786 at the
age of three. After that Gaspar had to grow up with his mother and to
find good friends, for his life, in heaven, that is, Jesus the
Redeemer, Sacred Heart, Virgin Mary, St. Joseph .
Fortunately at that time in Verona, there were some holy priests
who introduced Gaspar to a very deep and genuine spiritual life.
The Bible, the Lection Divine (deep meditation of the Bible),
were the light that gave to him the wisdom of God and took him to the
contemplation of the Holy Trinity.
The very gifted Gaspar in 1788, at the age of 11, received the
first communion. At 12 he aggregated to the Marian Oratory and he
frequented the whole scholastic curriculum in a very fast way.
In September 1800, after the philosophy and theology he could be
ordained as a priest, with the dispensation at the age of 23 only.
But God was preparing Gaspar for a special ministry.
In June 1802 his parish priest invited him to be the missionary of
the children. Gaspar took that duty seriously and began the famous
Marian Oratory that gave to Verona many holy priests and good parents.
But Gaspar is remembered especially for his many gifts from God.
That is his wisdom, advices, preaching, catechesis, humility, spirit of
prayer, and holiness of life. Many Bishops, priests, sisters, emperors went to meet Fr.Bertoni in order to know how to resolve their problems
or what kind of vocation to follow.
At that time, the French revolution, the desire of freedom, the human
weakness, took many Christians and priests very far from God.
Gaspar, November 4th, 1816 started a new congregation with three
principal aims: preaching, formation of the priests, assistance of the
youths, that is, to be missionaries in Verona and in the world.
Bertoni asked to his disciples to be ready as a body to go
everywhere and to do any kind of ministry requested by the Bishops.
The congregation is still going on with this spirit, so in the five
continents where we are working, we have churches and schools.
Some Stigmatines are teaching in the universities and many are missionaries.
Gaspar was proclaimed Blessed by the Pope Paul the sixth on
November 1st, 1975 and Saint on November 1st,1989 by Pope John Paul the second. The Popes call Gaspar the greatest saint of 1800.
We Stigmatines (the name comes from the Five Wounds of Jesus) are
proud of our Holy Founder and we try to follow his examples and to
transmit his teachings to the people under our spiritual care.
St.Gaspar had the gift of preaching but because of an incurable
disease in his leg he was confined for 30 years into his room from
where he taught many persons. Because of his illness Gaspar had 300
operations on his leg. That cross took him to the perfection of the
During that time of suffering and contemplation he wrote our
constitutions and he gave us the Holy Spouses as patrons.
St.Gaspar was the blessing of God for many persons and for our
congregation. We hope that this blessing can go on forever for the
salvation of mankind.