Blessed Giuseppe Antonio Tovini
Giuseppe was born on March 14, 1841, in Italy. His parents were loving and devout Catholics, who made sure their children received a good education and Christian upbringing. Giuseppe’s father died when he was eighteen, so he helped his mother financially in raising his younger brothers and sisters. In the meantime, he continued his education. He received a law degree at about the same time that his mother died.
Soon after he began practicing law, he took a position as assistant principal and teacher in a technical school. He was well known for bringing out the best in each of his students and in helping them realize and use their own special talents.
In 1867, he met a young woman named Emilia Corbolani. They soon fell in love and after a while they got married. In the meantime, Giuseppe had become the mayor of his hometown, devoting his political career to helping improve the living conditions of the people he was sworn to serve. As a Third Order Franciscan, he especially felt the need to give his attention to helping the poor and needy. He constructed railroads to link rural areas with the city, and improved people’s financial lives by founding banks and credit unions, which focused on people instead of money. He opened schools and supported the publication of several newspapers.
Giuseppe and Emilia started a family, which in time grew to include ten children. They were good parents and set an example of faith and mutual love and respect. Three of their children devoted themselves to the religious life when they grew up.
Giuseppe was unstoppable in his activities for social justice and service to the needy. But he received the strength for this demanding activity in prayer. He read the Bible every day, and drew inspiration for his life from the Word of God. He attended Mass each day and received Holy Communion with reverence and love. He was very devoted to the Eucharist and started the practice of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the parish church where he was later to be buried.
On January 16, 1897, worn out from his unceasing activity, Giuseppe Tovini died at the age of fifty-six. He was beatified on September 20, 1998, by Pope John Paul II.
Blessed Giuseppe Antonio Tovini had a talent for seeing the needs of others around him and thinking up practical solutions to help. Let’s pray to him and ask him to show us one small thing we can do today to make someone’s life a little better.
-Daughters of St. Paul