- Father of the Poor
Eldest of ten children born to Gasparo Boccardo and Giuseppina Malerba; his was a pious family – he was baptized at one day of age, three of his brothers became priests, one of them Blessed Luigi Boccardo. He studied with the Barnabites, graduating from their high school in 1864, and then the diocesan seminary. Ordained on 3 June 1871 in the archdiocese of Turin, Italy. Giovanni was drawn to religious life, but was assigned to work in seminary, first teaching and then becoming the spiritual director of young seminarians in Chieri, Italy in 1873 and then in Turin. Received a doctorate in theology on 1 February 1877. Honorary canon of the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Chieri. Friend of Saint John Bosco, Saint Leonard Murialdo, and Blessed Joseph Allamano. Parish priest in Pancalieri, Italy in 1882 where he spent the rest of his life as a beloved pastor, caring especially for the sick and the poor, filling in at other parishes, ensuring religious education of children, and maintaining a prison ministry. Working with the sick during a cholera epidemic in 1884 impressed on Giovanni the need for better medical care for the poor; he founded a hospice for the impoverished sick on 6 November 1884. Founded the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan with a mission to care for the poor sick, the long term sick, sick priests, the elderly and the neglected; their work continues today in Italy, Brazil, Benin and Argentina. In 1911 Father Giovanni was stricken with a form of paralysis that eventually led to his reluctantly giving up all areas of ministry his final two years. His private writings on matters spiritual runs to 44 volumes.
- 30 December 1913 in Moncalieri, Turin, Italy of natural causes
- re-interred at the mother house of the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan in Pancalieri, Italy in 1924
- 24 May 1998 by Pope John Paul II
- the beatification miracle involved the complete healing from cancer of 80-year-old Lina Alvez De Oliveira of Sao Paolo, Brazil on 12 February 1968
- “Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo“. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 April 2015. Web. 1 May 2016. <>