Saint Joseph Mary Tomasi

detail of a Vatican portrait of Saint Joseph Mary Tomasi, artist unknownAlso known as

  • Giuseppe Maria Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • Giuseppe Maria Tomasi
  • Guiseppe Maria Tommasi
  • Josef Maria Tomasi
  • Joseph Marie Carus
  • Joseph Mary Tommasi
  • José María Tomasi



Born to the wealthy Sicilian nobility, the son of the duke of Palermo, Italy and Rosalia Traino. When their children were grown, both of his parents entered religious life, and four of his sisters became nuns. Joseph renounced his inheritance and position in favour of his brother, and joined the Theatines on 24 March 1665. He studied philosophy at Messina, Ferrara, and Modena, Italy, and theology in Rome and Palermo, Italy. Joseph learned Greek, Ethiopic, Arabic, Syriac, Chaldaic, Hebrew, Italian, and Latin. He was ordained on 25 December 1673.

Father Joseph was stationed in Rome and served as examiner of the clergy for Pope Innocent XII. He lived as a hermit, and was chastised by authorities for being over-scrupulous. Studied and wrote extensively on the liturgy, publishing several titles under the pen name Joseph Marie Carus.

Confessor to Cardinal Alboni; when Albani was elected Pope, he was reluctant to accept the throne. Joseph advised him it would be a mortal sin to refuse, so Albani became Clement XI. Consultor of the Theatines. Theologian to several congregations. Consultor to the Congregation of Rites, and to the Congregation of Indulgences and Sacred Relics. Though he insisted he was not worthy, he was created cardinalpriest by Clement XI on 18 May 1712. He was a prolific writer on theology, Scripture, and patristics. Known for his knowledge, humility, charity, and reforming work. Joseph always enjoyed teaching catechism to children. He is reported to have predicted the date of his death.



  • 1 January 1713 at home next to the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna, Rome, Italy of natural causes
  • buried in the church
  • transferred to the Theatine church of San Andrea della Valle, Rome, and interred under a side altar in 1971
  • body found incorrupt




Additional Information


  • Speculum (1679)
  • Codices sacramentorum nongentis annis antiquiores (1680)
  • Missale Gothicum (1680)
  • Liturgia Gallicana (1680)
  • Psalterium (1683)
  • Breviarium psalterii (1683)
  • Exercitium Fidei, Spei et Caritatis (1683)
  • Responsalia et Antiphonaria Roman Ecclesia (1686)
  • Vera norma di glorificar Dio (1687)
  • Sacrorum Bibliorum Tituli, sive capitula (1688)
  • Fermentum (1688)
  • Antiqui libri Missarum Roman Ecclesia (1691)
  • Officium Domicinae Passionis (1695)
  • Psalterium cum canticis (1697)
  • Indiculus institutionum theologicarum veterurn Patrum (1709, 1710, 1712)

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Joseph Mary Tomasi“. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 September 2021. Web. 1 December 2021. <>