Giuseppe Casartelli

Born in Rebbio (CO), Italy, December 30, 1871

Entrance not registered. Probably in Como, in 1890

Died in Como, January 9, 1895

 

The meager information in existence about this young brother is written in the pages of La Divina Provvidenza at the time of his death. But it is still sufficient, with an attentive reading, to shed some light on this individual.

No one recorded his personal information in the register of the house. He was part of the house at the beginning of 1891, as it was noted in the obituary of his sponsor, Canon Eugenio Orsenigo, deceased on the day of the Epiphany of that same year. Nor could he have come much before that date, since the first aspirants, Father Silvio Vannoni and Father Giuseppe Roncoroni had entered at the end of 1889 and Father Giovanni Calvi in June 1890. We can assume that his entrance occurred toward the end of his academic studies, or less likely, upon his discharge from the service.

The mention, always in the same necrology, that to become a priest “he found difficult challenges at home and outside,” but that “he never lost his courage,” gives us an idea, without specifying the motivations, of the reasons that brought him to ask Father Guanella for the priesthood.

Father Guanella entrusted him to the diocesan seminary of Como. It was written that “Superiors and classmates of the seminary wanted to participate with the members of the Little House to give him a solemn funeral in the church of the Sacred Heart.” His life ended in his third year of theology. God had always led him by a hard but privileged way of the cross up to the threshold of the altar, without permitting him then to ascend it.

He was still an infant, when his father, Gaetano, left him orphaned, and he was just a young boy, when his mother, Josephine Bordoli, died. On her deathbed the pious woman, lovingly looking at him, whispered the desire of her heart, as a last goodbye, as a wish, “That you may be a priest.” The boy received those words and kept them in his heart. He had heard in them the echo of the voice of God and chose to follow them. ­

God did not abandon him. As an orphan, he had the good fortune of finding people interested in him. He had the love and support of a distinguished family, acquaintances of the Canon Eugenio Orsenigo of Como. They never abandoned him, even after the good Canon passed to a better life. They were like his brothers who took care of him and kept the promise of supporting him with delicate care. This young man always showed much gratitude and affec­tion toward this family.

When Giuseppe was drafted for military duty, he had to answer the call. In the service of his country, though in a hostile environment, he did not lose his vocation, but he did lose his health. He returned with a tiresome illness in his eyes, and he fell prey to deteriorating symptoms that, increasingly, turned into tuberculosis, the prevailing illness of the time.

Everyone in the house exercised a constant effort to offer attention and care, but he showed an unexpected strength in tolerating pain, and desired to be the least possible burden to others.

And when, in the last long months the disease worsened, he refined his virtue, and increased his spirit of faith. He became more resplendent in the charity of which he already had given witness.

He did not fear death. Knowing that his short life was running its course, that the lamp was about to be extinguished, he waited serenely, like the angel charged by God to accompany him into his house: he also placed on the al­tar of sacrifice his long desired dream of the priesthood.

He felt tenderness for the home that had opened its doors to him and for the new family that had accepted him into its folds. He assured them he would carry the memory to heaven, to continue, with prayer and intercession, his contribution to its development.

With him, this little earthly family, still in first formation, sent to heaven the first of its members, to begin the transplant and start the new one of saints.

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