Oil Dedicated to St Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (Patron for Diseases and Cirrhosis and other Liver Diseases)
St Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (Patron for Diseases and Cirrhosis and other Liver Diseases) from A Blessed Call To Love, Ireland.
Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo was born on May 3, 1786, in northern Italy. He was the eldest of twelve children in a middle-class family where his father was a tax collector. His parents were strong Christians, and his mother raised him to care for the poor and the sick. She surprised has her son measured his room with a stick. Joseph Benedict explained that he wanted to see how many beds he could get into the room because he wanted to turn the house into a hospital when he grew up.
In 1802 Joseph Benedict began to study to be a priest. It had to happen at home because the seminar had been closed in the Napoleonic wars, and he eventually became the priest in 1811. Joseph Benedict wanted to work in a parish of the land and devote himself to a simple pastoral service among the people, and he was a short time engaged in pastoral work in home town and in Cornegliano. But he was advised by his peers to study further, so he began studying theology at the University of Turin.
Joseph Benedict took his doctorate there two years later and returned to his hometown, where he worked for two years. In 1827 a French family went through Turin on their way home. They had no money and their mother was sick and pregnant. The hospital could not help her so Joseph Benedict gave them shelter until the woman died.
Joseph Benedict opened a house for the sick and the poor who rejected by everyone else. He claimed that his inspiration for this came from the Virgin Mary while reciting her litany in front of the altar of La Madonna delle Grazie. In the beginning, he hired only two rooms in a house opposite the Basilica. He had five beds for the poorest and most neglected. No one should be denied access. He helped by a friend who was a doctor and a benevolent pharmacist.
Joseph Benedict rented several rooms, and the young widow Maria Nasi Pullini gathered a group of girls to help with the work. In 1831 people began to complain as the number of sick people in the house increased, especially when an outbreak of cholera threatened parts of Piedmont. Forced to close the city’s government house. Joseph had no choice but to move.
He chose an abandoned area called Valdocco on the outskirts of the city and rented a small building. On April 27, 1832, he moved there with a single patient, a young man suffering from cancer, but within a few months, he needed another building to take care of all the patients. This started “The Little House of Divine Providence,” which he placed under Vincent of Paul and gave the motto of Caritas Christi the nos “Christ’s love drives us”
He directed the operation until a few days before his death. And the Casa continues to today, serving 8,000 or more. Joseph Benedict founded fourteen communities to serve the residents, including the Daughters of Compassion, Daughters of the Good Shepherd, Hermits of the Holy Rosary, and Priests of the Holy Trinity. He died on April 30, 1842, of typhus at Chieri, Turin, Italy and buried in the Mary altar in the main chapel in Valdocco, Italy.
He venerated Pope Leo XIII on February 10, 1901.