Born in Pianello Lario (CO), Italy, April 26, 1878
Entered in Como, August 26, 1888
Died in Como, June 21, 1890
In November, 1881 Father Guanella became the parish priest of Pianello Lario. He was immediately impressed by the Natale Mazzucchi family and their little boy of 4 whose name was Alexander. The previous pastor, Father Carlo Coppini, who had baptized him, told his parents that he was a creature of exception. He held him dear and soon had him at catechism lessons and trained him as a young altar boy. His attention, ease in learning, and devotion to the altar were admirable. Once he was the only one with the pastor for catechism class. Coming with his companions, they stumbled upon a group performing acrobatic stunts, playing diverse instruments and singing. They all stopped, drawn by the show, but he went on.
Once, Father Guanella had spoken to him of the priesthood and of its mission of consecrating the Body of Jesus and of saving souls. He stopped smiling, and taking off his clerical hat, put it on Alexander’s head, saying sweetly, “Would you like that? Would you like to become a priest?”
Alexander’s heart flooded with pure joy, and when he went home, he said happily to his mother, “Do you know? The pastor put his hat on me, asking me if I wanted to be a priest. Oh, if only I could!”
A little later, his mother found him kneeling in prayer before his little altar and repeating, “Lord, make me good, so that I may be all yours.”
Father Guanella made an accurate appraisal of that boy who let himself be guided in the arduous ways of virtue.
His piety was extraordinary. He never went to sleep without reciting his prayers and inviting his little brothers to do the same, always kneeling on the bare floor. Then he continued alone and often fell sleep leaning over his bed. It was his mother who often called him from downstairs, “Enough now, Alexander, go to bed!”
“Yes, mother, I am going right away.” And he promptly obeyed.
And neither was he content with praying in the evening and in the morning. His little brother Salvatore would say to their mother, “When Alexander and I go to and from school, he never says a word to me, but he always speaks to himself. I do not know what he says.” He was praying.
In Church, during the celebrations, he was transformed. The light of the Lord inundated him; his love inflamed him.
His innocence was extraordinary. For an act of defiance at two years of age and a little lie, he repented bitterly. He continued to ask for forgiveness. He loved the quiet of his house, even when they made fun of him about it. He did it for fear of meeting bad companions. He begged not to be sent to the vineyard or to visit his grandfather any more to avoid hearing the indecent language of companions he met on the way.
He was concerned for his brothers’ piety. Good example was given with unequalled sweetness, and sometimes he took reproaches and punishment, for faults he did not commit, from his father irritated by the noise. He would come upstairs from his store and find only Alexander, while the others had slipped away. Even this became a part of his spirit of penance, observed through great and small sacrifices. As when, burning with fever, he waited a long time before asking for water.
Father Guanella had taught him to serve Mass when he was six years old. To do that, he rose every day early in the morning, at 4a.m. during summer, despite darkness and bad weather.
“It’s too early,” his mother said concerned for his frail health.
“There is a remedy for that,” he would answer, “I will go to bed early tonight.”
In 1886 Father Guanella moved to Como where he established his operations, and another priest replaced him in Pianello. He knew Alexander’s secret aspirations. He had completed elementary education, the highest level offered in Pianello, but his parents did not want to send him to Dongo to continue his studies, even though he was an excellent student. It was easy to find a solution. Father Guanella accepted him and his brother, Salvatore, in Como where they would complete the course of the higher elementary in a private school, managed by two excellent priests.
Alexander was torn by opposing feelings. One was sorrow for leaving his family: the evening before the day of departure he wrote his father a letter full of love, wisdom and gratitude. The other was the joy of moving toward the ideal cultivated in his heart.
His entrance into the House of Divine Providence marked the beginning of the pre-seminary program of the new religious Family: the first stone was very promising.
At The Providence life had all the characteristics of the beginning: complete poverty on one side, richness of faith and charity on the other. Alexander found himself at ease. He made his First Communion on December 8, 1888 and from then on he received communion with the fervor and purity of an angel. He integrated it with service at the altar and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. He never omitted the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross.
The house was open to the neediest, with no exclusions: among the residents, were old and difficult people. Alexander preferred to dedicate his free time to them.
At one time Lino Crosta, a 16-year-old boy, was accepted. His right arm was infected, and soon degenerated into a cancerous and bad smelling wound. It gave forth such a nauseating odor that it was necessary to isolate him. Father Guanella, in one of his familiar little good night talks had asked, “Is there anyone who wants to keep Lino company? It is true that he sends forth a repulsive odor, but it’s not very charitable to leave the poor boy alone.”
Alexander immediately volunteered, “If I am allowed, I will go.” He became his best friend. He never abandoned him, especially at mealtime, even if his odor turned his stomach enough to vomit.
Even on the last day of his life, June 21st, he fulfilled a charitable duty. There was a great celebration in the house: Father Guanella’s Name Day. Alexander had left the company of his mother, who had come to visit her two boys and have a nice dinner together. But he had to be with Lino. This time he also experienced severe nausea. He excused himself for some fresh air and to see if he could keep his meal down. He joined a group of boys who had gathered around the new swing. They wanted Alexander to be the first on the swing. He blessed himself, went up and hung onto the ropes. A wild push threw him up in the air. His stomach was upset and his senses disturbed by the nauseating odor. He suddenly felt dizzy and let go of the ropes, falling backward. He hit the ground hard with his head. Taken to a nearby room he was laid on a couch where he received absolution from Father Guanella. The doctor advised that he be taken to the hospital immediately, where he expired about 7:00 p.m.
He was a victim of his own charity towards a sick person.
His last words were the Sign of the Cross. Father Guanella and his religious family considered him a little, heroic martyr of charity.
Several biographies have been written about him. St. Pius X had advised Father Guanella, “Gather the edifying facts of this angelic son of yours; compose his little biography and spread it around. It will do much good for the souls of all those you assist and of those who will come to know him.”
AVILA J., Flores Eucaristicas – El acolito Alejandrino, Tortosa, Imprenta Querol, 1911.
Acolito Alejandrino, Vidas de ninos santos, Madrid, Apostolado dela Prensa, 1916.
CIMA F., Alessandrino Mazzucchi. Biografia per i fanciulli, Milano, Scuola Tipografica Istituto S. Gaetano. 1936.
D’ANTUONO L., Candido Giglio deposto sulla Gloriasa tombadi S. Luigi Gonzaga nella sua terza centenaria Festa – 21 giugno 1891, Como,Tipografia Casa Divina Provvidenza, 1891.
DE AMBROGGI C., Alessandrino Mazzucchi, Torino, LDC. 1982
EVERS P., Fleur d’Autel – Alessandrino Mazzucchi enfant de choeur de la Providence de Come, Tourcoing, 1911
STERLOCCHI L., Vita di Alessandrino Mazzucchi, Gatteo, Tipografia Dell’Istituto fanciulli Poveri, 1910.
TAMBURELLI G., Alessandrino Mazzucchi, Profilo di un piccolo inserviente santo di Gesu Sacramentato, Como, Scuola Tipografica Casa Divina Provvidenza, 1933.
Alessandrino Mazzucchi, Bari, Edizioni Paoline, 1933.