Saint Gaspard del Bufalo
Prêtre, refusa de prêter le serment de fidélité à Napoleon (✝ 1836)
Ce jeune chanoine de Rome refusa de prêter serment de fidélité à Napoléon Ier qui l'exigeait des prêtres des Etats Pontificaux. Il dut se cacher pour ne pas être emprisonné. La tourmente napoléonienne passée, il revint et fut un prédicateur extraordinaire, prêchant dans toute l'Italie Centrale. Pour être aidé dans ce labeur apostolique, il fonda l'Institut des Prêtres du Précieux Sang, ce qui permit de faire reconnaître canoniquement la sainteté de sa vie.
À Rome, en 1837, saint Gaspar del Bufalo, prêtre, qui combattit avec vigueur pour la liberté de l’Église et fut mis cinq fois en prison, et même là il ne cessa de ramener les pécheurs sur le droit chemin, surtout par la dévotion au précieux Sang du Christ, en l’honneur duquel il institua deux Congrégations de Missionnaires et de Sœurs.
Saint Gaspard (Gaspare) del Bufalo
Prêtre et fondateur des « Missionnaires du Précieux Sang »
Gaspare del Bufalo naît à Rome le 6 janvier 1786 de Antonio et Annunziata Quartieroni.
Dès les premières années de sa vie, il est attiré par la prière et la pénitence, il tente de fuir de la maison familiale pour aller évangéliser les païens, rêvant de mourir martyr. Il est particulièrement intéressé par saint François Xavier et il se sent, pendant un certain temps, appelé par les jésuites ; il fréquente l'église du Gesù qui se situe près de chez lui.
Ayant terminé ses études au Collège romain, en 1798 il prit l'habitude de donner aux œuvres pour organiser l'aide spirituelle et assistance matérielle pour les nécessiteux. Il fut à l'origine de la renaissance de l'opéra de sainte Galla et en fut élu directeur en 1806.
Ordonné prêtre le 31 Juillet 1808, il intensifia l'apostolat parmi les classes populaires et fonda le premier oratoire de S. Maria in Pincis, pour l'évangélisation des charretiers et les paysans de la province romaine, qui ont leurs dépôts de foin dans le Forum Romain.
L'Église, à cette époque, vit des moments difficiles : dans la nuit du 5 au 6 juillet 1809, le pape Pie VII (Barnaba Chiaramonti, 1800-1823) est fait prisonnier et déporté.
Le 13 juin 1810, Gaspard refuse le serment de fidélité à Napoléon et est condamnée à l'exil, puis à la prison.
De retour à Rome en 1814, après la chute de Napoléon, il met sa force et sa vie à servir le pape. Pie VII lui donne l'ordre de se consacrer aux missions populaires pour la restauration de la religion et la morale. Comme moyen de promouvoir l'efficacité de la conversion des pécheurs, pour éliminer l'esprit d'impiété et irréligion, il choisi la dévotion au Très Précieux Sang de Jésus et en devient un ardent apôtre.
Le 15 août 1815, il fonde la Congrégation des « Missionnaires du Précieux Sang », qui auront des hommes de grande sainteté comme le serviteur de Dieu Jean Merlini, Jean Mastai Ferretti, le futur Pie IX.
En 1834, il aide à la fondation des « Sœurs Adoratrices du Sang du Christ », avec sainte Maria De Mattias. Il combattit les sociétés secrètes, en particulier la maçonnerie, en dépit des menaces et des attaques sur sa propre vie, il ne cessa de prêcher ouvertement contre ces sectes, terrain fertile pour la laïcité athée.
Mais un autre fléau se propageait sur les états pontificaux, comme aussi dans d'autres régions: le brigandage. Léon XII (Annibale Sermattei Della Genga, 1823-1829), sur les conseils du Card. Belisario Cristaldi, leur envoya Gaspard, avec pour seules armes le crucifix et la miséricorde évangélique, qui réussi à réduire le terrible fléau sur la périphérie de Rome et à rétablir la paix et la sécurité parmi la population.
Il meurt à Rome le 28 décembre 1837. St Vincent Pallotti vit son âme monter au ciel sous la forme d'une étoile et Jésus venir le chercher.
Son corps repose à Rome en l'église de Santa Maria in Trivio, qui se trouve près de la fontaine de Trévi.
Gaspare del Bufalo a été béatifié, le 18 décembre 1904, par saint Pie X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, 1903-1914) et canonisé, le 12 juin 1954, par le vénérable Pie XII (Eugenio Pacelli, 1939-1958).
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Saint Gaspard del BUFALO
Prénom: Gaspard del
Naissance: 06.01.1786 à Rome
Etat: Prêtre - Fondateur
Note: Prêtre le 31.07.1807. Prédicateur de missions populaires (sur désir de Pie VII) pour lesquelles il fonde l'Institut des Prêtres du Précieux Sang (1814) et inspire la fondation des Sœurs de l'Adoration du Précieux Sang par Sainte Marie de Mattias 2 pour l'éducation des jeunes filles.
Béatification: 18.12.1904 à Rome par Pie X
Canonisation: 12.06.1954 à Rome par Pie XII
Fête: 28 décembre
Réf. dans l’Osservatore Romano:
Réf. dans la Documentation Catholique: 1954 col.847-855
Saint Gaspard Del Bufalo est le fondateur des Missionnaires du Précieux Sang, il fut toute sa vie un ardent apôtre de cette dévotion. C'est cette congrégation qui a propagé le Chapelet du Précieux Sang.
Né à Rome le 6 Janvier 1786, Ses parents se nomment Antonio et Annunziata Quartieroni. Dès les premières années de sa vie, il est attiré par la prière et la pénitence, il tente de fuir de la maison familiale pour aller évangéliser les païens, rêvant de mourir martyr. Il est particulièrement intéressé par saint François Xavier et il se sent pendant un certain temps appelé par les jésuites, il fréquente l'église du Gésu qui se situe près de chez lui. Ayant terminé ses études au Collège romain, en 1798 il prit l'habitude donner aux œuvres pour organiser l'aide spirituelle et assistance matérielle pour les nécessiteux. Il fut à l'origine de la renaissance de l'opéra de Saint Galla et en fut élu directeur en 1806.Ordonné prêtre le 31 Juillet 1808, il intensifia l'apostolat parmi les classes populaires et fonda le premier oratoire de S. Maria in Pincis, pour l'évangélisation des charretiers et les paysans de la province romaine, qui ont leurs dépôts de foin dans le Forum Romain. L'Eglise, à cette époque, vit des moments difficiles : dans la nuit du 5 au 6 Juillet 1809, Pie VII est fait prisonnier et déporté. Le 13 Juin 1810, Gaspard refuse le serment de fidélité à Napoléon et est condamnée à l'exil, puis à la prison. De retour à Rome en 1814, après la chute de Napoléon, il met sa force et sa vie à servir le pape. Pie VII lui donne l'ordre de se consacrer aux missions populaires pour la restauration de la religion et la morale. Comme moyen de promouvoir l'efficacité de la conversion des pécheurs, pour éliminer l'esprit d'impiété et irréligion, il choisi la dévotion au Très Précieux Sang de Jésus et en devient un ardent apôtre. Le 15 août 1815, il fonde la Congrégation des Missionnaires du Précieux Sang, qui auront des hommes de grande sainteté comme le Serviteur de Dieu Jean Merlini, Jean Mastai Ferretti, le futur Pie IX. En 1834, il aide à la fondation des Sœurs Adoratrices du Sang du Christ, avec sainte Maria De Mattias, Il combattit les sociétés secrètes, en particulier la maçonnerie, en dépit des menaces et des attaques sur sa propre vie, il ne cessa de prêcher ouvertement contre ces sectes, terrain fertile pour la laïcité athée. Mais un autre fléau se propageait sur les états pontificaux, comme d'ailleurs aussi d'autres régions: le brigandage. Léon XII, sur les conseils du Cardinal Belisario Cristaldi, leur envoya Gaspard, avec pour seules armes le crucifix et la miséricorde évangélique, il réussi à réduire le terrible fléau sur la périphérie de Rome et à rétablir la paix et la sécurité parmi la population. Il mourut à Rome le 28 Décembre 1837. Saint Vincent Pallotti vit son âme monté au ciel sous la forme d'une étoile et Jésus venir le chercher.
Canonisation et fête
Béatifié par Saint Pie X 18 décembre 1904.
Canonisé par le pape Pie XII le 12 juin 1954.
Son corps repose à Rome en l'église de Santa Maria in Trivio, qui se trouve près de la fontaine de Trévi.
Sa fête est fixée le 28 décembre.
Sanctuaire de Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, chapelle de l'Assomption,
St. Charles Seminary (St. Charles Senior Living Community)
St. Gaspare del Bufalo
Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood (C.P.P.S.); b. at Rome on the feast of the Epiphany, 1786; d. 28 December, 1837.
His parents were Antonio del Bufalo, chief cook of the princely family of Altieri, and his wife Annunziata Quartieroni. Because of his delicate health, his pious mother had him confirmed at the tender age of one and a half years (1787). As he was suffering from an incurable malady of the eyes, which threatened to leave him blind, prayers were offered to St. Francis Xavier for his recovery. In 1787, he was miraculously cured, wherefore he cherished in later life a special devotion to the great Apostle of India, and selected him as the special patron of the congregation which he founded. From his earliest years he had a great horror of even venial sins and showed deep piety, a spirit of mortification, remarkable control over his evil inclinations (especially his innate irascibility and strong self-will), and also heroic love for the poor and the miserable. Having entered the Collegium Romanum at the age of twelve he received in 1800 first tonsure, and one year later the four minor orders. As catechetical instructor at St. Mark's, his zeal won for him the name "The Little Apostle of Rome", and when but nineteen years old, he was appointed president of the newly instituted catechetical school of Santa Maria del Pianto.
After his ordination (31 July, 1808), he obtained a canonry at St. Mark's, and soon instituted with Gaetano Bonani a nocturnal oratory. He assisted Francesco Albertini in founding the Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood, and worked with great zeal in the poorer districts of Rome, preaching frequently in the market-places. In 1810 he was summoned before General Miollis to swear allegiance to Napoleon. But neither threats nor promises could induce him to do so, because Pius VII had forbidden it. The words with which he announced his final decision have become famous: "Non posso, non debbo, non voglio" (I cannot, I ought not; I will not). In consequence he suffered banishment, and later on imprisonment in the foul dungeons of Imola and Rocca (1810-1814). After Napoleon's fall he returned to Rome, intending to enter the re-established Jesuit Order. But obeying his spiritual adviser, Albertini, he founded a congregation of secular priests to give missions and spread devotion to the Most Precious Blood. Through Cardinal Cristaldi he obtained the pope's sanction and, as a mother-house, the former convent of San Felice in Giano. Of this he took solemn possession, 11 August, 1815. The Bull of beatification says, "Through Umbria, Aemilia, Picenum, Tuscany, Campania, Samnium, in short all the provinces ot Middle Italy he wandered, giving missions". The very titles accorded to him by his contemporaries speak volumes: "II Santo", "Apostle of Rome", "Il martello dei Carbonari" (Hammer of Italian Freemasonry).
How arduous some of his missions were may be gleaned from the fact that he frequently preached five times daily, sometimes even oftener. At Sanseverino fifty priests were not sufficient to hear confessions after his sermons. Though idolized by the people, he was not without enemies. His activity in converting the "briganti", who came in crowds and laid their guns at his feet after he had preached to them in their mountain hiding-places, excited the ire of the officials who profited from brigandage through bribes and in other ways. These enemies almost induced Leo XII to suspend del Bufalo. But after a personal conference, the pope dismissed him, remarking to his courtiers, "Del Bufalo is an angel". His enemies next tried to remove him from his post by procuring his promotion as "internuncio to Brazil". In vain, however, for his humility triumphed. A last attempt under Pius VIII (1830) met with temporary success. Del Bufalo was deprived of faculties for a short time, and his congregation threatened with extinction. But his wonderful humility again manifested itself, and, though himself misjudged and his life-work menaced by the very authority that should have supported him, he showed no signs of resentment, forgave his enenies, and excused his unmerited condemnation. The storm soon passed, Gaspare was restored to honour, and resumed his work with renewed zeal.
In 1836 his strength began to fail. Although fatally ill, he hastened to Rome, where the cholera was raging, to administer to the spiritual wants of the plague-stricken. It proved too much for him, and he succumbed in the midst of his labours on 28 Dec., 1837. He was beatified by Pius X on 29 Aug., 1904. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
Müller, Ulrich. "St. Gaspare del Bufalo." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 28 Dec. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06390b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
- Apostle of Rome
- Caspar Bufalo
- Caspar del Bufalo
- Gaspare del Bufalo
- Hammer of Italian Freemasonry
- Kasper del Bufalo
- Martello dei Carbonari
Son of Antonio del Bufalo, a chef to Prince Altieri, and Annunziata Quartieroni. As an infant he suffered from an eye condition that threatened to blind him; he was cured in 1788 following prayers for the intervention of Saint Francis Xavier. Studied at the Collegium Romanum from age twelve, and considered becoming a Jesuit. President of the newly instituted catechetical school of Santa Maria del Pianto at age 19. Ordained on 31 July 1808. On 23 October 1808 he, with his friends Father Bonanni, Father Santelli and Father Gonnelli, founded the nocturnal Oratory of Saint Mary in Vinci, Italy. On 8 December 1808 he helped Father Albertini found the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in San Nicola Arcella, Italy.
Following Rome‘s fall to the French in 1809, the Papal States were suppressed on 17 May, Pope Pius VII was deported on 6 July, and priests were ordered to take an oath of loyalty to Napoleon. Gaspare refused, and on 13 June 1810 was exiled for five years with many other priests first to Piacenza, Italy, and then Bologna, Italy. On 13 September 1811 he refused a second time to take the oath; he was lodged in San Giovanni prison, then the prison of Imola, Italy and then the fortress in Imola. A third refusal led to his transfer to the fortress in Lugo, Italy on 16 May 1813. Following a fourth refusal, on 10 December 1813, he was sentenced to exile in Corsica. While waiting for transport in Florence, Italy he received an invitation to join the Evangelical Workers, a group of priests who preach home missions. Though it was questionable at the time that he could help them, Gaspare enthusiastically joined. Less than a month later, Murat restored liberty to all priests who had been arrested or exiled for refusing to take the oath. In February 1814, Gaspare returned to Rome, Italy after four years of captivity, and in December he began preaching missions.
In July of 1815, Gaspare renounced his position as canon of Saint Mark’s in order to concentrate on missions. He helped formally start the Missioners of the Precious Blood (C.P.P.S.) in 1815 at Giano dell’Umbria, Italy, a congregation devoted to preaching and to bring the sacraments back to war-torn Italy; it was under the patronage of Francis Xavier. Many houses were established in the next few years, and on 27 December 1817 Gaspare was elected First Promotor and Missionary of the Missioners. Many opposed his good work, and spoke against him to Pope Leo XII and Pope Pius VIII, but after they spoke to him personally, both approved of his work.
In 1821 Pope Pius VII assigned Gaspare to clean up provinces overrun with highway bandits, and to open six mission houses in the area; Gaspare spent the next five years in the pulpit, call for reform. In February 1826 he was chosen papal nuncio to Brazil. Gaspare begged to be released from the assignment so he could continue to preach, but was forced to spend eight months in the position. He then returned to his Congregation’s motherhouse of San Felice in October 1826, and resumed preaching and tending to the Missionaries‘s houses for his last ten years.
ST. GASPAR: Founder of the Society of the Precious Blood
St. Gaspar founded the Society of the Precious Blood in Giano, Italy, on August 15, 1815. Here, in the 10th century abbey of San Felice, our founder opened the gates of an ardent devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ.
The preamble of the C.P.P.S. constitution captures this new beginning:
Impelled by the love of Christ, manifested especially in the shedding of his Blood, and sensitive to the needs of the Church, St. Gaspar del Bufalo founded a priestly institute. He attracted from the diocesan clergy a group of like-minded priests and unity them by a bond of charity only, instead of vows. Living together in mission houses, they were a source of continual renewal for the priests and the people, mainly by preaching missions and retreats.
In this nucleus the Society of the Precious Blood had its origin and from it derives its spirit.
Gaspar was born in Rome on January 6, 1786. His father, Antonio, was a servant in the family of a prince. He was a pious man of firm faith who was a staunch defender of the Holy Father. Gaspar's mother, Annunziata, was one of those quiet and saintly women who seem to model her life and faith after the holy women of the Scriptures. She realized early in Gaspar's life that God had great things in store for him. She raised her son in virtue and holiness, readying the soil for God to plant within Gaspar a deep and abiding devotion to the Blood of Christ.
Early in his life, Gaspar showed a great concern for the poor and sick. Perhaps because he came from family of meager means and because he himself had been a sickly child (almost dying at the age of two, only to be cured through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier), Gaspar's compassion for the poor and outcasts consumed him. He spent his summer vacations as a youth visiting hospitals and bringing meals to the hungry.
When he was eighteen, Gaspar exhibited one of his greatest gifts: organizing for action on behalf of the `people on the fringe'. Together with some of his classmates, Gaspar ministered to the marginalized: offering religious instruction to the peasants from rural areas who came to Rome to sell their hay; providing catechism for orphans and children of the poor; and setting up a night shelter for the homeless.
Gaspar was ordained July 31, 1808. Less than a year later, on May 17, 1809, Napoleon suppressed the papal states. Pope Pius VII was arrested and transported to Savona. On June 13, 1810, Gaspar was brought before the magistrate to take the oath of allegiance to the emperor. In words that echo the Gospel of John when Jesus said "the truth will set you free", Gaspar told the magistrate: "I would rather die or suffer evil than to take such an oath. I cannot. I must not. I will not."
For the courage of his conviction, Gaspar was sentenced to prison. But even though his body was incarcerated, the truth had set his spirit free. Although the conditions of the prison caused his health to deteriorate, his mind and heart continued to expand. A dream was about to be born.
During his exile, Gaspar's compassion deepened. Though he had been about works of mercy for most of his life, in the silence of his cell this work was clearly defined by the Precious Blood of Christ. In the solitude of exile, the vision became clear: to continue the works of mercy and the evangelization in the context of community. He would join forces with other men and women united in the bond of charity to touch others with the redeeming grace of the blood of Jesus.
Napoleon was defeated in January 1814 and Gaspar was free to return to Rome to begin his mission as apostle of the Precious Blood. He had spent four years in exile and imprisonment, but his enthusiasm had not waned. He came back to a city, however, that was in chaos. In the aftermath of Napoleons occupation, the Church in Rome was experiencing great trial. So the pope appointed Gaspar to preach missions throughout the city and the surrounding countryside for the spiritual renewal of the people. In response to the Holy Father's request, Gaspar drew upon the rich resources of two of his mentors, Frs. Albertini and Bonnani, to begin the society of apostolic life.
It was Gaspar's vision to wed the spirituality of the Precious Blood with the concept of a community for the apostolic works of mercy. This sacred union gave birth to the Society of the Precious Blood that would "proclaim peace through the blood of the cross."
St. Gaspar brought devotion to the Blood of Christ out of the sanctuary and into the streets. His preaching was rooted in the saving act of Christ on the cross and so he carried the crucifix close to his heart. Indeed, the mission cross became the symbol of the newly formed community.
Gaspar's words and witness became the wings to lift the burden of sin from the hearts of his listeners. He called people to reconciliation; to restore the right relationship with God and others. The power of Gaspar's presence and preaching was found most dramatically in his work with the bandits.
The year was 1821 and at that time there was a severe problem in the papal states. The bandits had control over many of the towns in the coastal provinces. It was a time of great lawlessness and many towns were out of the control of the civil authorities. One town, Sonnino, was so bad that the government had given up completely and had become so desperate that they decided to destroy the whole town. The people were suppose to move out, although they were to be compensated for their loss of property, and the plan was to level the town. A number of houses were demolished before the people's outcry forced the authorities to stop. Sonnino was just one of many problem places.
At that time there was a Cardinal Cristaldi who was a great admirer of St. Gaspar. He was also the papal treasurer and advisor to Pope Pius VII. He had a plan which he presented to the pope to deal with the bandits. His plan was to fight the immorality and savagery of the bandits, not with weapons, because that had been tried and failed, but with spiritual forces. He suggested that St. Gaspar and his new band of missionaries go into the towns and provinces where the bandits lived and establish mission houses. There they were to preach the Word, establish churches and chapels, and see to the continued instruction of the people.
And that is what the young missionary society did. Between 1821 and 1823 six new mission houses were opened. Each house was to have five missionaries and each team was to conduct 12 missions a year. In that way every town would hear the message of redemption and reconciliation during a two year cycle. From these houses St. Gaspar and his companions went out and preach the merits of the Precious Blood. They called the people to repentance and to return to faithfulness. They would preach on the street corners at night. They instructed the children. Armed with only the crucifix, they went into the hills to seek out the bandits to win them over. Crazy—but it worked. In two years the bandit problem was under control.
Gaspar was well loved by those who had encountered his ministry and was very popular in his native city. To this day he remains a popular hero in Rome and devotions to the saint are very popular. However, Gaspar and his young society encountered substantial opposition within the political workings of the Church. One major objection to the new society was that its name, The Society of the Precious Blood, was considered unecclesiastical. Gaspar was accused of disregarding Canon Law and the mission cross and chain that the members wore was completely untraditional. This opposition began under the reign of Pope Pius VII (around 1820) who had been a strong support of the society at its founding in 1815.
This opposition became so strong that the successor to Pius VII, Leo XII was positively adverse to the community. It is noted that this was at a time when Gaspar was being more and more open in his criticism of abuses in the Church and the government of the Papal States. St. Gaspar felt that this opposition was more of a personal attack on himself and so he offered to step down as moderator of the community so that things could be smoothed over. Fortunately, this was not needed as the situation with Leo XII was resolved after a meeting between the two of them.
This was not the end of Gaspar's difficulties. The enemies of Gaspar merely changed their tactics to trying to have him removed from Rome. First they tried to have him made a bishop. This Gaspar begged to be excused from. Then they tried to have him removed from Rome by having him named Inter Nuntius to Brazil. It was a very difficult time for Gaspar until his refusal was accepted. Finally Leo XII appointed Gaspar to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which required his residence in Rome.
After Leo XII died in 1828 the enemies of the community went to work on his successor, Pius VIII. Pius VIII believed all the old accusations and treated Gaspar very severely in a private audience. He removed all the privileges for the community from him, including all the financial help that had been assigned for mission work. It is a testament to Gaspar's conviction that the community was inspired by divine will, that this was not the end of the community. Instead, Gaspar withdrew to one of the houses and drew up a document giving legal proof of the legitimate existence granted to the community by Pius VII. The opposition continued throughout the life of Gaspar and the Rule was not approved until after his death.
Gaspar died on December 28, 1837. The medical report called him a "victim of charity" because even though he was in ill health himself, he ministered to the victims of the cholera epidemic that broke out in Rome. Gaspar was beatified in 1904 and canonized a saint on June 12, 1954.
"St. Gaspar—the Man, the Mission, the Dream". Joe Nassal, CPPS; Pathfinder, Vol. 2, No. 2, November, 1989.
"Society Celebrates 175 Years of Service". Tom Conway, CPPS; CPPS Tomorrow, Vol. 6, No. 1, September, 1990.
History of the Society of the Precious Blood. Isidore Oberhauser, CPPS; 1929.
Blessed Gaspar del Bufalo. Anonymous; Messenger Press, Carthegena, OH, 1933.
Scriptures for Reflection—
Matthew 25: 31-46
Luke 10: 1-20
Questions for Reflection—
Gaspar was a man with a heart that brimmed with love for the poor and sick. He saw Christ in those with needs. How does my life of discipleship respond to those in need? Who are the needy in my parish or community and what is my response to them?
Gaspar was a Missionary and formed a missionary society that wed the devotion to the Precious Blood to the apostolic life. How am I called to be missionary? What mission has God given to me?
Gaspar was a man of firm convictions who suffered imprisonment and exile for his loyalty to the papacy. He was attacked personally because of his persistence in believing in his mission to found a religious community dedicated to the Precious Blood. What would I be willing to sacrifice for my faith and beliefs?
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St. Gaspar del Bufalo, Apostle of the Precious Blood. Volume I.
By: Beniamino Conti, C.PP.S.
Volume One focuses on devotion to the Blood of Christ in the Life and Apostolate of Saint Gaspar. This book traces the spiritual journey of St Gaspar as he allowed the fire of Christ’s love, expressed so profoundly in the mystery of the Precious Blood, to transform him into a living fire of love, the preeminent apostle of the Blood of Christ.
This book traces the spiritual journey of St. Gaspar as he allowed the fire of Christ’s love, expressed so profoundly in the mystery of the Precious Blood, to transform him into a living fire of love, the preeminent apostle of the Blood of Christ.
In his letters St. Gaspar sometimes uses the metaphor of to describe the divine love and in several places he quotes the words of Jesus: ‘I have come to cast fire on the earth’ (Lk 12: 49). The fire Jesus has come to cast on the earth is, in Gaspar’s understanding, the fire of his love for us. Gaspar came to see the spirituality of the Blood of Christ as being a particularly suitable means for describing this burning love of Jesus. The Precious Blood was the great symbol that he used to draw people to a greater awareness of that love. Gaspar himself was aflame with that love throughout his ministry. In the words of Don Beniamino, St. Gaspar . . . appeared as a fire of love for the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, completely intent on kindling a great blaze of that love in the Church for the benefit of souls and for the praise, honor, glory, and power of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb that was slain (Rv 5: 13). (Cf. page 79 of this volume.)
This volume contains the first and larger of the two parts of Fr. Conti’s original, published in 1970 and reissued in 1978 and 2002. (The second part, dealing with Gaspar’s preaching on the Precious Blood, will be published as a future volume of this series.) As Don Beniamino notes in his own introduction, in the first section of the book we follow the development of the devotion to the Precious Blood in Gaspar’s life as well as the ways in which he sought to spread the devotion in his apostolic life.
Throughout the book Don Beniamino provides us with a rich selection of citations from the writings of Gaspar as well as the first-person witness of those who knew him well, like his protégé John Merlini, his spiritual director Biagio Valentini, and his friends Saints Vincenzo Strambi and Vincenzo Pallotti. (Unfortunately we have little written witness to the spiritual friendship between Gaspar and his mentor Don Francesco Albertini, who introduced the devotion to the Precious Blood to the young Canon del Bufalo.) All of these and other references are amply documented in the endnotes and provide us with primary sources for understanding Gaspar’s spiritual development and apostolic zeal.
Fr. Conti, a member of the Italian Province, has had a lifelong dedication to research on the life of St. Gaspar and has been prolific in his publications. Among the many works to his credit, is the editing of the latest edition of the letters of St. Gaspar as well as four volumes of the early regulations of the Congregation and four volumes of the miscellaneous spiritual writings of Gaspar.
It would be appropriate to make a few remarks on the translation. First, where necessary I have inserted English translations of Italian and Latin words and phrases, using the model of the Modern Language Association and enclosing the English translation within single quotes following the foreign language. In translating the quotations from the Scriptures I have generally followed the Douay-Rheims version, since most quotations are from the Latin Vulgate and the Douay is a translation of the Vulgate. I have also supplied chapter and verse references for the quotations; these are generally not found in the original texts.
For translations of the letters of Gaspar as well as several other Italian sources I have relied on the invaluable work of the late Fr. Raymond Cera, C.PP.S., who translated nearly all of the close to four thousand extant letters into English. English translations of the letters as well as of the depositions of Merlini, Valentini, and Pallotti (also the work of Fr. Cera) are currently available only in digital form and and have only been published in a looseleaf, photocopied edition.
Where English translations of source material exist I have given those references in addition to the references to the original Italian or Latin documents. Many of the citations come from sources that have not been translated. I have not provided English translations for these citations, believing that anyone wishing to pursue such a reference in an endnote would have some knowledge of the language in question.
In matters of capitalization and punctuation of quoted documents, I have adhered to the original text even if this does not conform to current form and style in English. For example, in many original texts we find words capitalized that would not be capitalized in modern English. Speaking of capitalization, modern Italian would usually capitalize the “Del” in Del Bufalo, although Gaspar himself used the lowercase form, “del.” This is the reason why both forms are found in contemporary Italian texts.
I would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Pauline Vokits, who formatted the text for printing, proofread the text with great diligence, and offered many helpful suggestions. Jean Giesige also read the translation and offered useful comments and is responsible for the new cover design for C.PP.S. Resources which debuts with this volume. The image of St. Gaspar on the cover is used with permission of Fr. Jeffrey Finley, C.PP.S., who commissioned the painting of the icon.
Translating this book has been a rewarding task and has given me the opportunity to become much better acquainted with Gaspar through the words of Fr. Conti who knows him so well. I hope that this work will be read by many, especially by members and Companions of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, so that all of us might come to know better this great Apostle of the Precious Blood. May we, too, be transformed by the fire of that divine love that Jesus came to bring to our world.
Jerome Stack, C.PP.S.
July 1, 2008
Feast of the Most Precious Blood
SOURCE : http://preciousbloodspirituality.org/spirituality-and-theology/st-gaspar-del-bufalo-apostle-precious-blood-volume-i
Today, October 21, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo (1786-1837), apostle of the devotion to the Precious Blood, and founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
Saint Gaspar was born in Rome on January 6, 1786. His father and mother, who served royalty, were both firmly rooted in the faith, pious, and instructed their son with diligence. His mother, for her part, recognized Gaspar’s call to the Lord, and prepared him through instruction and witness for his service to the world, raising him with virtue and faith.
Early in his life, Gaspar showed a great concern for the poor and sick. He had been quite ill as a child, nearly dying at the age of two and only cured through the intercession of Saint Francis Xavier. Because of this, and the deep respect he had for all human live, Gaspar spent his summers and breaks from education serving the poor, finding and bringing them food, and ministering to those in the hospital. At age 18, together with some of his classmates, Gaspar organized a program to minister to the marginalized of society, offering religious instruction to the peasants from rural areas who came to Rome to sell their hay. Through this program, he provided catechism for orphans and the children of the poor, and established night shelters for those with no place to call home.
Gaspar was ordained a priest at age 22. Shortly thereafter, he was exiled and imprisoned for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to Napoleon. The emperor had taken control of the Papal States and was forcing all the clergy of Rome to take the oath. Gaspar famously responded: "I would rather die or suffer evil than to take such an oath. I cannot, I must not, I will not."
His adamant proclamation led to imprisonment, and during his five years in jail, he began to envision a new religious community that would be dedicated to the precious blood of Christ. Despite his failing health, his spirit expanded and upon release, he founded the Congregation of Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood in Giano. He wanted his missionaries to be people who were dedicated to preaching God's word through missions and retreats. Further, his community would rely on and emphasize devotion to the Precious Blood, in order to be a source of on-going renewal for the people of God and for the world.
Prior to Gaspar's time, devotion to the Precious Blood had been restricted to a select few. Many Church leaders took offense to his preaching of this devotion, preferring it should receive the extreme reverence reserved for the name of God in the Old Testament. Gaspar, however, longed to make the devotion "one that was broad and social enough to challenge all mankind."
He wrote: "In every era the Lord has inspired certain devotions to stem the tide of iniquity. We also see that in times past the Church was attacked in this or that doctrine. Today the war is being waged against religion as such and against Christ Crucified. We need, therefore, to reemphasize the glories of the Cross and of our Crucified Redeemer, to reopen the fountains of mercy just when the devil would make us the victim of wrath. Now, more than ever, it is opportune to tell people at what price our souls were redeemed. We must let it be known how the Blood of Christ cleanses the souls and sanctifies them, particularly by means of the sacraments. We must arouse them from their insensibility by reminding them that His Blood is offered up every morning upon the altars and that instead of blasphemy and insult, we should give it adoration and praise."
For the remainder of his life—a life beset by controversy in that he was accused of heresy many times for spreading devotion to the Precious Blood, each time successfully defending himself—Saint Gaspar worked diligently to serve the poor by expanding his congregation. he died on December 28, 1837. The medical report referred to him a "victim of charity" because even though he was in ill health himself, he ministered to the victims of the cholera epidemic that broke out in Rome. His body lies in the Church of Santa Maria, where it remains enshrined for the veneration of the faithful.
Loving God, you made St. Gaspar del Bufalo a priest and outstanding apostle of the Precious Blood of your Son. Through his intercession grant that we may experience the abundant fruits of the price of our redemption. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saint Henry Catholic Church (St. Henry, Ohio)
San Gaspare Del Bufalo Sacerdote, Fondatore
Roma, 6 gennaio 1786 - 28 dicembre 1837
Nato a Roma il 6 gennaio 1786 fin da piccolissimo fu dedito alla preghiera e alla penitenza. Suo padre era cuoco del principe Altieri, sua madre si occupava della famiglia e gli assicurò una buona educazione cristiana. Ordinato sacerdote il 31 luglio 1808 si specializzò nell'evangelizzazione dei «barozzari», carrettieri e contadini della campagna romana. Condannato all'esilio per aver rifiutato il giuramento di fedeltà a Napoleone, passò quattro anni in carcere tra Bologna, Imola e la Corsica. Tornato a Roma, dopo la caduta dell'imperatore francese Papa Pio VII gli affidò l'incarico di girare l'Italia predicando e dedicandosi soprattutto alle missioni popolari. Devotissimo al Prezioso sangue di Gesù, il 15 agosto 1815 fondò la Congregazione dei missionari del preziosissimo sangue. Gli appartenenti a quest'ordine si dedicano alla predicazione e all'insegnamento. Nel 1834, insieme a Maria de Mattia diede vita al ramo femminile della Congregazione: «Le suore dell'adorazione del preziosissimo sangue». Morì a Roma il 28 dicembre 1837. È stato canonizzato da Pio XII il 12 giugno 1954. (Avvenire)
Etimologia: Gaspare = amabile maestro, dal persiano
Martirologio Romano: A Roma, san Gaspare del Bufalo, sacerdote, che lottò strenuamente per la libertà della chiesa e, anche in carcere, non smise mai la sua opera di conversione dei peccatori alla retta via, in particolare attraverso la devozione al Preziosissimo Sangue di Cristo, in cui onore intitolò le Congregazioni dei Missionari e delle Suore da lui fondate.
Nato a Roma il giorno dell’Epifania del 1786, sua madre volle per lui i nomi dei Re Magi: Gaspare, Baldassarre, Melchiorre. La sua famiglia era stata un tempo benestante, ma poi era decaduta. Suo padre Antonio era cuoco dei Principi Altieri, mentre sua madre, Annunziata Quartieroni, si prendeva cura della famiglia. Votato alla vita religiosa fin dalla fanciullezza, tentando persino di fuggire di casa per evangelizzare i pagani, Gaspare del Bufalo frequentò il Collegio Romano, che a quel tempo, essendo stata soppressa la Compagnia di Gesù, era diretta dal clero secolare. Vestì la talare nel 1798 e prese a dedicarsi all’assistenza spirituale e materiale dei bisognosi, contribuendo in maniera decisiva alla rinascita dell’Opera di San Galla, della quale venne eletto direttore nel 1806. Ricevette l’ordinazione sacerdotale il 31 luglio 1808 e decise di intensificare l’apostolato fra le classi popolari fondando il primo oratorio in Santa Maria in Pincis, specializzandosi nell’evangelizzazione dei «barozzari», ovvero carrettieri e contadini della campagna romana.
Niente fedeltà all’Imperatore
Nella notte fra il 5 e il 6 luglio 1809, Pio VII (1742-1823) venne arrestato e deportato per volontà di Napoleone Bonaparte. Il 13 giugno del 1810 Don Gaspare rifiutò il giuramento di fedeltà all’Imperatore francese. «Non debbo, non posso, non voglio» disse; per tale ragione fu condannato all’esilio a Piacenza e in seguito venne incarcerato per quattro anni, peregrinando nelle prigioni di Bologna, Imola, Lugo (Ravenna). Tornato a Roma nei primi mesi del 1814, dopo la caduta di Napoleone, mise tutta la sua vita al servizio del Papa, il quale lo esortò a dedicarsi alle missioni popolari per la restaurazione religiosa e morale d’Italia; fu così che il santo lasciò Roma e si gettò con ardente zelo sulla strada che lo impegnò fino alla fine della sua vita. Dirà Giovanni Paolo II ai partecipanti al capitolo generale della Congregazione dei Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue il 14 settembre 2001:
«Quando san Gaspare del Bufalo fondò la vostra Congregazione nel 1815, il mio predecessore, Papa Pio VII, gli chiese di andare laddove nessun altro sarebbe andato e di intraprendere missioni che sembravano poco promettenti. Per esempio gli chiese di inviare missionari a evangelizzare i banditi che a quel tempo imperversavano così tanto nella zona fra Roma e Napoli. Fiducioso nel fatto che la richiesta del Papa fosse un ordine di Cristo, il vostro Fondatore non esitò a obbedire […] Gettando le sue reti nelle acque profonde e pericolose fece una pesca sorprendente».
La devozione al Sangue di Cristo
Come mezzo efficace per promuovere la conversione dei peccatori, per debellare lo spirito di empietà e di irreligione, scelse la devozione al Sangue Preziosissimo di Gesú e ne divenne ardente apostolo. Si attuò così la predizione del 1810 fatta dalla religiosa Suor Agnese del Verbo Incarnato, morta in concetto di santità, predizione che confidò al suo Direttore spirituale, Don Francesco Albertini (1770-1819), poi Direttore di Don Gaspare, nonché suo compagno di prigionia: durante il drammatico tempo persecutorio nei confronti della Chiesa sarebbe sorto uno sacerdote molto zelante, il quale avrebbe scosso migliaia di persone dall’indifferenza mediante la devozione al Prezioso Sangue di Cristo, tale presbitero sarebbe divenuto «La tromba del divin Sangue».
I Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue
Il 15 agosto 1815 Don Gaspare fondò la Congregazione dei Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue, alla quale aderirono uomini di grande spiritualità e santità, come il Venerabile Don Giovanni Merlini (1795-1873), il futuro Beato Pio IX (1792-1878), Don Biagio Valentini (1792-1847). Il 4 marzo 1834 venne fondato l’Istituto delle Suore Adoratrici del Preziosissimo Sangue, grazie alla collaborazione di Santa Maria De Mattias (1805-1866). Figlia di una famiglia benestante, nel 1822, all’età di 17 anni, incontrò San Gaspare mentre questi predicava a Vallecorsa (Frosinone). Il ramo femminile si dedicò all’istruzione e alla catechesi della gioventù e delle madri. Le due famiglie religiose trovarono bacino fecondo nella Pia Unione del Preziosissimo Sangue, oggi Unio Sanguis Christi, che, insieme a Don Francesco Albertini, Don Gaspare aveva già istituito nel 1808 a vantaggio dei fedeli sia in Italia che all’estero.
Segnato da fatiche e sofferenze non comuni, San Gaspare venne benedetto da Dio con frequenti manifestazioni soprannaturali. Un giorno, per esempio, per confortarlo dalle tribolazioni, mentre celebrava la Santa Messa, subito dopo la consacrazione, gli apparve il Cielo dal quale scendeva una catena d’oro, che passando nel calice, legava la sua anima per condurla alla gloria di Dio. Da quel giorno il sacerdote soffrì ancor più, ma, contemporaneamente, si intensificò la sua abnegazione per condurre alle anime i benefici del Sangue di Gesù, e i frutti furono copiosi. Al suo passaggio si accendeva la Fede, si intensificava la pietà cristiana, si convertivano le anime, gli odi si raffreddavano, il malcostume si mutava in moralità cristiana. San Vincenzo Strambi (1745-1824), che lo affiancò in alcune missioni di apostolato, lo definí «terremoto spirituale», mentre le folle lo acclamavano «angelo di pace».
Lotta alla massoneria
Con straordinario coraggio affrontò la lotta accanita che gli mossero le società segrete, in particolare la Massoneria. Ma nonostante le minacce e gli attentati alla sua vita, non cessò mai di predicare a viso aperto contro tali sette anticlericali, fucine di rabbioso laicismo ateo. San Gaspare fu in grado di convertire intere logge massoniche e fu implacabile nel mettere in guardia il popolo dalla propaganda satanica di questi gruppi liberali e proprio per questo era noto come «martello dei settari». Ma l’Italia non era infestata soltanto dalla Massoneria, c’era anche la piaga del brigantaggio, vera e propria criminalità organizzata e presente anche nello Stato Pontificio. Pio VII, Pio VIII (1761-1830), Pio IX avevano tentato di estirpare la malapianta, ma senza successo. Leone XII (1760-1829), allora, dietro consiglio del Cardinale Belisario Cristaldi (1764-1831), affidò la rischiosa impresa a Don Gaspare, che, con le sole armi del crocifisso, della preghiera e della misericordia evangelica, riuscí a ridurre la malavita nei dintorni di Roma, portando pace e sicurezza fra gli abitanti.
Un Santo per tutti
Quando morí a Roma, il 28 dicembre 1837 in una stanza del Palazzo Orsini, San Vincenzo Pallotti (1795-1850) vide la sua anima salire in alto, in forma di stella luminosa, mentre Gesú le andava incontro. La fama della sua santità si diffuse immediatamente, anche fuori dai confini italiani e in particolare in Francia, grazie sia alla guarigione di Françoise de Maistre, figlia del governatore di Nizza e nipote di Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), sia all’opera di Louis-Gaston de Ségur (1820-1881), che fu suo grande estimatore, sia a quella di San Pierre-Julien Eymard (1811-1868), fondatore dei Sacerdoti e delle Ancelle del Santissimo Sacramento. Beatificato da San Pio X il 18 dicembre 1904, sarà canonizzato da Pio XII il 12 giugno 1954 in piazza San Pietro. Il suo corpo riposa a Roma nella chiesa di Santa Maria in Trivio, affidata nel 1854 dal Beato Pio IX ai Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue.
Autore: Cristina Siccardi
Nato a Roma il 6 gennaio 1786 da Antonio ed Annunziata Quartieroni, fin dai primi anni si fece notare per una vita dedita alla preghiera e alla penitenza.
Completati gli studi presso il Collegio Romano, nel 1798 indossò l'abito talare e si diede ad organizzare opere di assistenza spirituale e materiale a favore dei bisognosi. Si deve a lui la rinascita dell'Opera di S. Galla, della quale fu eletto direttore nel 1806. Ordinato sacerdote il 31 luglio 1808, intensificò l'apostolato fra le classi popolari fondando il primo oratorio in S. Maria in Pincis e specializzandosi nella evangelizzazione dei " barozzari ", carrettieri e contadini della campagna romana, che avevano i loro depositi di fieno nel Foro Romano, chiamato allora Campo Vaccino.
Per la Chiesa, intanto, correvano tempi duri: nella notte dal 5 al 6 luglio 1809 Pio VII fu fatto prigioniero e deportato. Il 13 giugno 1810 Gaspare rifiutò il giuramento di fedeltà a Napoleone e venne condannato all'esilio e poi al carcere, che sostenne con animo sereno per quattro anni. Tornato a Roma nei primi mesi del 1814, dopo la caduta di Napoleone, mise le sue forze e la sua vita al servizio del papa. Pio VII gli diede l'ordine di dedicarsi alle missioni popolari per la restaurazione religiosa e morale.
Quale mezzo efficacissimo per promuovere la conversione dei peccatori, per debellare lo spirito di empietà e di irreligione, scelse la devozione al Sangue Preziosissimo di Gesú e ne divenne ardentissimo apostolo.
il 15 agosto 1815 fondò la Congregazione dei Missionari del Preziosissimo Sangue, a cui si iscrissero uomini di grande santità, come il ven. servo di Dio d. Giovanni Merlini, Giovanni Mastai Ferretti, il futuro Pio IX .
Nel 1834, inoltre diede inizio all'Istituto delle Suore Adoratrici del Preziosissimo Sangue, coadiuvato dalla beata Maria De Mattias, che egli stesso aveva chiamato a tale missione.
Sostenne con straordinario coraggio la lotta accanita che gli mossero le società segrete, in particolare la massoneria. Ma nonostante le loro minacce e gli attentati alla sua stessa vita, non cessò mai di predicare apertamente contro tali sette, fucine di rabbioso laicismo ateo; convertí intere logge massoniche e non si stancò di mettere in guardia il popolo contro la loro propaganda satanica.
Ma un'altra piaga vessava lo Stato Pontificio, come, del resto, anche altre regioni: il brigantaggio. Leone XII, dietro consiglio del card. Belisario Cristaldi, inviò in mezzo a loro Gaspare, che con le sole armi del crocifisso e della misericordia evangelica, riuscí a ridurre la terribile piaga nei dintorni di Roma ed a riportare pace e sicurezza tra le popolazioni.
Morí a Roma il 28 dicembre 1837.
Fu beatificato da s. Pio X il 18 dicembre 1904 e canonizzato da Pio XII il 12 giugno 1954 in piazza S. Pietro. Il suo corpo riposa a Roma nella chiesa di S. Maria in Trivio.
Patrono della città di Sonnino (LT), patria del Brigantaggio, che Gaspare salvò dalla completa distruzione.
La sua data di culto per la Chiesa Universale è il 28 dicembre, mentre la sua Congregazione lo ricorda in data 21 ottobre.
Per saperne di più:
Autore: Candido Paglia