|Saint Gaspar Bertoni|
|Born||October 9, 1777
|Died||June 12, 1853|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Gaspar Bertoni was son of Francis, a wealthy lawyer and notary, and Brunora Ravelli Bertoni, and was educated in a pious family. His sister died when Gaspare was quite young. Bertoni was educated at home, then by Jesuits and the Marian Congregation at Saint Sebastian’s School in Verona, Italy.
At his first Communion Gaspare received a vision and message that he was to become a priest, and he entered the seminary in 1796. On 1 June 1796, troops from Revolutionary France began a 20-year occupation of northern Italy. Gaspar joined the Gospel Fraternity for Hospitals, and worked to help those wounded, ill, displaced, or otherwise harmed by the occupation. He was ordained on 20 September 1800.
Bertoni was chaplain to the sisters of Saint Magdalen Canossa convent, spiritual director of nuns and an entire seminary. He was also one of the leaders to offer prayers and support for Pope Pius VII when he was imprisoned by Napolean Bonaparte. His pastoral work was marked by establishment of Marian Oratories, devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ and establishment of schools to the poor.
He founded the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Stigmatines) on 4 November 1816.
Bertoni was beset by fevers and a continuing infection in his right leg during the last two decades of his life. Over 300 operations were performed on his leg in an effort to stem the infection. However, he has continued to serve as counselor and spiritual director from his hospital bed until his death.
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