Blessed Contardo Ferrini
Contardo was born in 1859. His father was a teacher of mathematics and physics. Mr. Ferrini began very early to teach his little son his own love for study. As a young man, Contardo could speak many languages besides Italian. He did very well in every school and college he went to. His great love for study and for his Catholic faith made his friends nickname him their own "St. Aloysius." (St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a young Jesuit saint known for the goodness and generosity of his life.) It was Contardo who first started clubs for college students to help them become good Christians.
When he was twenty-one, he was offered a chance to study at the University of Berlin in Germany. It was hard for him to leave his home in Italy, but he was happy to meet devout Catholics at the university. He wrote down in a little book what he felt the first time he received the sacrament of Reconciliation in a foreign land. It thrilled him to realize that the Catholic Church is really the same everywhere a person goes.
By the next year, Contardo was trying to decide whether he should become a priest or a monk, or whether he should marry. He kept asking himself just what he should do. As it turned out, he took a vow to give himself only to God. He lived that vow as a lay person; he never became a priest or brother. He went on teaching and writing. He tried always to become a more perfect Christian. While enjoying his favorite sport of mountain-climbing, he would think of God, the Creator of all the beauty he saw. People noticed that there was something different about Professor Ferrini. Once when he had passed by with his usual warm smile, someone exclaimed, "That man is a saint!"
Contardo Ferrini died of typhoid fever on October 17, 1902. He was only forty-three years old. He was declared "blessed" by Pope Pius XII in 1947.
Gifted with great intelligence, Bl. Contardo put his learning at the service of others.