Feast Day of St. Giovanni Battista de Rossi
St. Giovanni Battista de Rossi was one of four children born to Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi. He was taken by a wealthy noble couple to Genoa, Italy for schooling. There he met some Capuchin friars who thought well of him, and helped him continue his education in Rome, Italy. He studied under the Jesuits at the Roman College at age 13. He was a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles. He was epileptic; his self-imposed acts of austerity nearly broke his health, and he never completely regained his strength. Giovanni studied philosophy and theology under the Dominicans. He was ordained on 3 March 1721, and assigned to Rome.
He helped start a hospice for homeless women near Saint Galla’s hospice in Rome. He was appointed canon of Santa Maria, Cosmedin in 1737; he used his compensation from the position to purchase an organ for the church. Giovanni was missioner and catechist to the teamsters, farmers, herdsmen, homeless, sick, beggars, prostitutes, and prisoners of the Campagna region. For many years, John avoided hearing confessions for fear he would have a seizure in the confessional, but the bishop of Civitá Castellana convinced him it was part of his vocation. John relented, and soon became a sought after confessor in Rome; he once said that the shortest road to heaven was to guide others there by the confessional. He was sought after as a preacher, and assigned as catechist to many government and prison officials, including the public hangman. He was a miracle worker and always had a special devotion to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
St. Giovanni Battista de Rossi, pray for us.