Anastasio Ballestrero

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His Eminence Servant of God
Anastasio Ballestrero
Archbishop Emeritus of Turin
Archdiocese Turin
Metropolis Turin
See Turin
Appointed 1 August 1977
Term ended 31 January 1989
Predecessor Michele Pellegrino
Successor Giovanni Saldarini
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (1979-1998)
Ordination 6 June 1936
by Carlo Minoretti
Consecration 2 February 1974
by Sebastiano Baggio
Created Cardinal 30 June 1979
by Pope John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born 3 October 1913
Genoa, Kingdom of Italy
Died 21 June 1998 (aged 84)
Bocca di Magra, Italy
Previous post
Motto In omnia bonitate et veritate ("In all goodness and truth")
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Title as Saint Servant of God
Styles of
Anastasio Ballestrero OCD
Coat of arms of Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Turin

Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, O.C.D. (3 October 1913 – 21 June 1998) was an Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the Archbishop of Turin from 1977 to 1989 and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1979.

His cause of canonization commenced on 4 February 2014 and he is known as a Servant of God.


Early life[edit]

Alberto Ballestrero was born in Genoa as the eldest of the five children of Giacomo Ballestrero and Antonietta Daffunchio. He was Baptized on 2 November 1913 and attended an elementary school in Genoa from 1919 to 1922. Ballestrero, after enrolling at Collegio Belimbau in 1922, was confirmed on 3 May 1923 and received his first Communion on the following 21 June.

Education and priesthood[edit]

On 2 October 1924 he entered the Discalced Carmelite seminary in Varazze. Ballestrero then joined that religious order and took both the habit on 12 October 1928 and the name of Anastasio del Santissimo Rosario. He was later transferred to the Genoese convent of S. Anna in September 1932 to study philosophy and theology.

Ballestrero suffered from a life-threatening infection two years before making his solemn profession on 5 October 1934. After receiving the subdiaconate and diaconate in 1935, Ballestrero was ordained to the priesthood in the San Lorenzo Cathedral on 6 June 1936. He began teaching philosophy at the "studentato" of Genoa-S. Anna in August 1936 and initiated a preaching apostolate in a Genoese hospital in January 1937.

Ballestrero was prior of the S. Anna convent from 22 April 1945 to 1948 and was again elected as prior on 7 May 1954 after becoming provincial of Liguria on 3 April 1948. Before attending the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, he was twice elected as the general provost of the Discalced Carmelites, on 9 April 1955 and later on 21 April 1961, remaining in that position until 20 May 1967.

Ballestrero visited all 350 Carmelite convents and 850 Carmelite monasteries in the world except in Hungary, which refused him entrance into the country. He once served as President of the Union of Superior Generals.

Episcopate and cardinalate[edit]

On 21 December 1973 he was appointed as the Archbishop of Bari by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on 2 February 1974 in Rome from Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, with Bishops Michele Mincuzzi and Enrico Romolo Compagnone, OCD, serving as the co-consecrators.

Ballestrero was later named Archbishop of Turin on 1 August 1977. After being elected Vice-President of the Italian Episcopal Conference on 25 May 1978, he was its President from 18 May 1979 to 3 July 1985.

Pope John Paul II elevated him into the cardinalate and created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in the consistory of 30 June 1979. In reference to abortion, Ballestrero once declared that the Church must "never renounce its mission of evangelization and education of the human conscience".[1] He resigned as Turin's archbishop on 31 January 1989, and subsequently retired to the monastery of S. Croce in La Spezia.


Ballestrero died at his residence in La Spezia at the age of 84. He is buried in the church crypt of the same Carmelite monastery in Varazze that he entered in 1924.

Beatification process[edit]

The process of beatification commenced on 4 February 2014 and bestowed upon him the title of Servant of God. The process commenced on a diocesan level in La Spezia.

Shroud of Turin[edit]

Ballestrero initially agreed to scientific testing being performed on the Shroud of Turin in 1978, but refused to permit radiocarbon dating testing as it required removing samples from the shroud.[2] After technical improvements made it possible to use samples the size of postage stamps, he permitted samples to be cut in April 1988, which he personally supervised.[3]

Following the radiocarbon dating tests, Ballestrero announced on 13 October of that same year, that the shroud was dated from the Middle Ages and thus not the actual burial cloth of Christ; although these tests were later believed to be invalid due to erroneous sampling.[2]


  1. ^ Russell, George; Wynn, Witon (June 1, 1981). "Italy: Not Yet Hale, but Hearty". TIME (Time Inc). Retrieved September 22, 2012.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Ostling, Richard N.; Coile, Norma; Moynihan, Robert (October 24, 1988). "Religion: Debunking The Shroud of Turin". TIME (Time Inc). Retrieved September 22, 2012.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ Van Biema, David; Dorfman, Andrea; Burke, Greg; Penner, Martin (April 20, 1998). "Science and the Shroud". TIME (Time Inc.). Retrieved September 22, 2012.  (subscription required)

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Enrico Nicodemo
Archbishop of Bari
Succeeded by
Andrea Magrassi, OSB
Preceded by
Michele Pellegrino
Archbishop of Turin
Succeeded by
Giovanni Saldarini
Preceded by
Antonio Poma
President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Succeeded by
Ugo Poletti