- Father Timoteo
Oldest of five children born to farm workers Stefano and Maria Cagna; his mother was devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary. When financial troubles hit, his father worked as a butcher and sacristan, and Giuseppe spent his early years in a house adjacent to his parish church; at one point he served as an altar boy for Blessed Giacomo Alberione, his future superior. Giuseppe early felt a call to the priesthood, and began his studies in October 1908; he was known as an exceptional student in seminary, but would not talk about it. Drafted into the army on 22 January 1915, he worked in a medical unit and later said that the locations of his military assignments put a severe test to his vows of chastity. He was released from service on 7 January 1916 due to chronic anemia, and returned to seminary where he spent his spare time tutoring other students.
Father Alberione wanted the young seminarian to work with him in his new Society of Saint Paul, but Giuseppe was informed that he could only remain a cleric if he stayed in seminary. He joined the Society on 7 April 1917, trained and supervised student printers, edited and proofread books and periodicals, all the while continuing his studies. Ordained on 19 October 1919, the first professed priest in the Society. He made his profession within the Society on 30 June 1920, taking the name Timoteo in honour of the disciple of Saint Paul the Apostle. He preached retreats, heard confessions, and each Sunday walked the 8 miles to Benevello, Italy to celebrate Mass for the parish there. He earned a degree in theology, with honours, from the College of Saint Thomas in Geona, Italy on 12 November 1920.
As the Society continued to grow, so did Father Timoteo’s work load. He was noted within the Society for spreading the word of the Faith and of the Church’s stance against the Facism that was coming to power in Italy; he was also known for his lack of administrative and financial skills, which often put him at odds with Father Alberione and dealing with overdue bills. Still, his devotion was so powerful that Father Alberione assigned Father Giuseppe to found the Society‘s first house in Rome, Italy; Pope Pius XI jumped for joy at the news. On 15 January 1926, Father Giuseppe and 14 students opened a small print shop in Rome, and began work on twelve diocesan weekly publications. Father Timoteo and his crew lived in a renovated warehouse with limited plumbing and no chapel. With no other priests to assist him, Father Timoteo served as house superior, father figure, spiritual director of both his house and the newly arrived group of Daughters of Saint Paul, house treasurer, and supervisor of the printing work they all did. They were perpetually short of money, and his work never ended, but visitors noted the serenity and dedication that pervaded the living and working areas.
In July 1927, Don Giaccardo managed to purchase a old vineyard from the Benedictines; the barn was transformed into a chapel, the winery to print shop, and the farm house into improved quarters for the Society; it became a central point for training, study and spiritual formation of new members of the Society. Father Giuseppe was made superior in Rome in 1932. On 10 June 1936, the old vineyard was designated the mother-house of the Society, and Don Giaccardo its superior; he laboured at task for the next decade, which were his most active years, and the period when the house was most know for its piety, observance and community. He worked with about 500 students and seminarians in Alba, Italy during this period, and kept his community together during the privations of World War II. Celebrated Mass every Friday at the mother house of the Pauline Sisters. He carried a small edition of the epistles of Saint Paul, and consulted them frequently for wisdom in dealing with his community; falsehoods saddened him, he would lose sleep to pray for Society members who had a conflict, he saw all history as being centered on Christ, and encouraged members of the Society to use all forms of media to spread the Faith.
- 24 January 1948 in Rome, Italy of leukemia
- his funeral was conducted in the apse of the Basilica of Saint Paul in Rome
- relics enshrined in the crypt of the sanctuary of Mary, Queen of the Apostles since 1966
For me, the Gospel is the book of humility. – Blessed Giuseppe
- “Blessed Giuseppe Giaccardo“. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 January 2017. Web. 26 March 2017. <>