St. Luigi Scrosoppi, C.O.

Canonized in 2001 by Pope St. John Paul II
Feast Day: October 5

Luigi Scrosoppi was born in Udine in Friuli, the youngest of three brothers who all became priests. Ordained a priest at the cathedral in Udine in 1827, he lived an extraordinarily active priesthood. In 1829, he became the assistant director of the orphanage run by his step-brother Carlo, for which Luigi begged in the streets to raise money. When, in 1834, the brothers expanded the orphanage, Luigi supervised and worked on the construction, and went about the countryside begging for supplies and labor. The brothers’ work at the orphanage attracted several women from the area who, under their spiritual direction, founded the Congregation of Sisters of Providence.

Carlo had been a member of the Udine Oratory before it was suppressed in 1810. When it was reestablished in 1846, Luigi and Carlo became members, and Luigi was elected provost in 1856. During the 1850s, he opened a home for abandoned girls, a school for deaf-mute girls, and a house for his unemployed former students. He also spent time working with the poorest and sickest patients in the hospitals.

A man of great prayer and spiritual wisdom, Luigi was known for his intolerance of vanity or hypocrisy, but also for his humility in asking forgiveness from those with whom he lost his temper.

Late in his life, Luigi struggled to combat the anti-clericalism that accompanied Italian unification. He was unable to save the Oratory and its church, which were suppressed and confiscated by the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. However, his various charitable projects survived, and he devoted himself to his work with the Sisters of Providence, who were able to expand in Austrian-controlled territory.

Luigi Scrosoppi died in 1884. He was beatified in 1981 and canonized on Trinity Sunday in 2001 by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II.