Tommaso Reggio

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Tommaso Reggio
Archbishop of Genoa
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Genoa
Metropolis Genoa
See Genoa
Appointed 11 July 1892
Installed 10 August 1892
Term ended 22 November 1901
Predecessor Salvatore Magnasco
Successor Eduardo Pulciano
Ordination 18 September 1841
by Placido Maria Tadini
Consecration 6 May 1877
by Salvatore Magnasco
Rank Archbishop
Personal details
Birth name Tommaso Reggio
Born (1818-01-09)9 January 1818
Genoa, Kingdom of Sardinia
Died 22 November 1901(1901-11-22) (aged 83)
Triora, Imperia, Kingdom of Italy
Previous post
Feast day 9 January
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 3 September 2000
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope John Paul II
  • Episcopal attire
Ordination history of
Tommaso Reggio
Priestly ordination
Ordained by Placido Maria Tadini
Date of ordination 18 September 1841
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Salvatore Magnasco
Co-consecrators Giovanni Battista Cerruti & Giuseppe Maria Sciandra
Date of consecration 6 May 1877
Place of consecration Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Kingdom of Italy
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Tommaso Reggio as principal consecrator
Fortunato Vinelli 12 March 1893
Giovanni Carli 21 May 1898
Disma Marchese 23 June 1901

Blessed Tommaso Reggio (9 January 1818 - 22 November 1901) was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Genoa from 1892 until his death. He was also the founder of the Sisters of Saint Martha.[1] Reggio distinguished himself during an earthquake that struck his diocese in 1887 for he tended to the injured in the rubble and led initiatives to direct diocesan resources towards the displaced and the injured; while in Genoa he collaborated with Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini in tending to immigrants through a range of different pastoral initiatives.[2][3]

Reggio's cause for sainthood opened in 1983 though initiatives had been made prior to this to collect documents in relation to his life and episcopal tenure; he was named as Venerable in 1997 and the miraculous cure of a Chilean girl led to his beatification in Saint Peter's Square on 3 September 2000.[1]


Education and priesthood[edit]

Tommaso Reggio was born in Genoa on 9 January 1818 to Marquis Giovanni Giacomo Reggio and Angela Maria Pareto; he was baptized on 10 January in the archdiocesan cathedral of San Lorenzo.[2] He made his First Communion and received his Confirmation on 10 April 1828 from the Bishop of Saluzzo Antonio Podestà.

Reggio received his initial education at home from a private teacher and then his high school education in Genoa from the Somaschi Fathers and on 1 August 1838 received his bachelor of law from the Genoa college.[1][3] On 24 March 1839 he decided to become a priest and underwent his philosophical and theological education in preparation for the priesthood. He received his ordination to the priesthood on 18 September 1841 after the conclusion of his ecclesial studies from Cardinal Placido Maria Tadini; he celebrated his first Mass in Gavi in Alessandria in the church of San Maurizio. On 15 July 1842 he graduated from the Genoa college in theological studies and received his doctorate in those studies in 1843. Reggio was appointed in 1843 as the vice-rector of seminarians in Genoa while later serving as the rector of seminarians in Chiavari from 1845 until 1851.[2][3] In 1851 he returned to Genoa where he served as the abbot of Santa Maria Assunta in Carignano since his appointment as such on 26 May. He helped found The Catholic Standard on 26 July 1849 which was a newspaper but was to later close the paper on 14 March 1874 (with its final issue) after the papal declaration that the faithful could not vote in elections. It also put to rest his hopes - and that of others - for establishing a political organization based on the teachings of the faith.[1]


He was named as the Bishop of Ventimiglia and as the Titular Bishop of Tanis; he received his episcopal consecration in mid-1877. The diocese was so poor to the point that he had to travel on a mule to visit his parishes while making three pastoral visitations to the parishes in 1877, 1882 and 1889 while celebrating the first diocesan synod on 8 March 1880.[2] He founded the Sisters of Saint Martha on 15 October 1878 which he determined was to be a congregation devoted to caring for the poor. He opened new parishes and also organized three diocesan gathering of bishops and priests and focused on liturgical revival. In addition to this he set up teaching programs across the diocese and began the restorative work of the Genoa Cathedral.[3]

Following an earthquake in 1887 in his diocese he worked with the victims in the rubble and he ordered his priests to use all of their resources to help the displaced peoples.[1] He founded orphanages at Ventimiglia and Sanremo for those children who had lost their families in the quake. This great aid he rendered saw the Italian government award him as a Knight of the Cross of Ss. Maurizio e Lazzaro in 1887. In 1892 he asked Pope Leo XIII to relieve him of his duties but the pope appointed him instead as the Archbishop of Genoa where he was enthroned on 10 August in a grand celebration. He set up a network for immigrants and worked alongside Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini to that end. On 2 April 1892 he ordained Blessed August Czartoryski as a priest.[3][2] He celebrated an archdiocesan synod in 1893. Reggio also presided over the funeral of Umberto I on 8 August 1900 with papal permission to do so.[1]


Reggio made a pilgrimage on 13 September 1901 to Triora due to the unveiling of a new statue of Jesus Christ on Mount Saccarello with diocesan priests; he could not ascend the mountain due to being struck with a sudden and violent knee pain forcing him to remain in bed. Infection soon settled in and worsened despite dressings and kneepads that failed to help heal him.[1] He died in the afternoon on 22 November 1901 at 2:20pm with his last words being: "God, God, God alone is enough for me". Ambrogio Daffra - his successor in Ventimiglia - said not long after his death: "I have witnessed the death of a saint". His remains were interred in Genoa after the funeral at the cathedral but later relocated in 1951. His order received the papal decree of praise from Pope Pius XI on 13 May 1928 who also granted pontifical approval later on 21 May 1935; in 2008 his order had 527 religious in 63 houses in countries such as Argentina and Lebanon. The first biographical account of his life was published in 1926.[3]


The beatification cause opened on 26 May 1983 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official "nihil obstat" to the cause and titled Reggio as a Servant of God; Cardinal Giuseppe Siri oversaw the diocesan process of investigation from 1983 until 1984 when all documents were sealed and boxes and sent to the C.C.S. in Rome who validated the process on 23 November 1992. The cause's officials compiled the Positio dossier though submitted it to the C.C.S. in two parts in 1991 and later in 1994 for investigation. Six historians approved the cause on 24 November 1992 as did the nine theologians later on 23 September 1997 in a unanimous decision. Cardinal Giovanni Canestri convened a meeting of the C.C.S. on 2 December 1997 who approved the cause as well. Reggio was named as Venerable on 18 December 1997 after Pope John Paul II confirmed his life of heroic virtue.

Reggio's beatification depended on the approval of a miraculous healing that neither medicine or science could explain. One such case was investigated in Valparaíso in Chile in 1995 (Jorge Medina oversaw the diocesan process) before all the evidence was sent to the C.C.S. who validated the diocesan investigation on 18 October 1996. The medical panel of experts approved this case on 29 January 1998 as did the theologians on 5 May 1998 and the C.C.S. on 6 October 1998. John Paul II approved this miracle on 21 December 1998 and beatified Reggio on 3 September 2000 in Saint Peter's Square before a crowd of 80 000 people.


The miracle that led to Reggio's beatification in 2000 was the miraculous healing of the girl Pabla Valdenegro Romero (b. 1979) who suffered from Guillain-Barré Syndrome - or polyradiculoneuritis - along with albumin-cytological dissociation ascending paralysis with cranial nerve involvement and quadriplegia as well as prolonged lung failure and two cardiac arrests as well as subcutaneous emphysema and other complications. This instantaneous healing came on 10 November 1985.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Blessed Tommaso Reggio". Saints SQPN. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Blessed Tommaso Reggio". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bl. Tommaso Reggio". Holy See. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 

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