Blessed Henry of Treviso
Henry was born in Bolzano, Italy. He lived during the last part of the thirteenth and early part of the fourteenth centuries. Henry's family was very poor, so he had no opportunity to learn to read and write. When he was a teenager, he moved to Treviso to find work. He became a day laborer. Few people realized that he gave away most of his earnings to the poor. He went to Mass daily and received communion as often as was permitted. Henry loved the sacrament of Reconciliation, too, and found this sacrament of a forgiving God very encouraging.
People began to notice the kind of Christian Henry was. He made it his penance to be very diligent at his job. And he allowed ample time every day for private prayer, usually at church. Henry was known for his calm and gentle ways. Sometimes people teased him because he seemed like such a simple person. As he grew older, he began to look shabby and stooped. Children would comment at times on his peculiar appearance. But Henry didn't mind. He realized that they did not know they were hurting him.
When Henry was too old and frail to work, a friend James Castagnolis, brought him into his own home. Mr. Castagnolis gave Henry a room, and food when the old man would accept it. Blessed Henry insisted that he live on the alms of the people of Treviso. They were generous in their donations of food because they knew he shared their gifts with many people who were poor and homeless. By the end of his life, Henry could barely walk. People watched with awe as the old man dragged himself to morning Mass. Often he would visit other local churches as well, painfully moving toward each destination.
What a mystery this good man was. When he died on June 10, 1315, people crowded into his little room. They wanted a relic, a keepsake. They found his treasures: a prickly hair-shirt, a log of wood that was his pillow, some straw that was the mattress for his bed. His body was moved to the cathedral so that all the people could pay their tribute. Over two hundred miracles were reported within a few days after his death.
Henry of Treviso was declared "blessed" by Pope Benedict XIV.
Simplicity and generosity marked the life of this holy man. How do I live my life as a Christian?