Saints of the Day – Andrew Avellino, Theatine

statue of Saint Andrew Avellino by Pedro Alonso de los Ríos, 17th century, façade of Saint Emilian and Saint Cajetan's Church, Madrid, Spain); photographed by Luis García (Zaqarbal), 4 July 2009; swiped off Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Castronuovo (Naples), Italy, 1521; died in Naples, November 10, 1608; beatified in 1624; canonized in 1712 by Clement XI. This saint was baptized Lorenzo (and called Lancellotto by his mother). In his youth he determined he would be a priest and, therefore, assiduously renounced sin. He studied civil and canon law in Naples, received his doctorate, and was ordained.

His was a good lawyer; in fact, too good. Too late he realized that legal arguments so filled his heart and mind that it weakened his love of meditation and prayer. The gravity of the situation struck home when he actually lied during the course of a pleading. Filled with remorse, he resolved to give himself up entirely to the penitential life.

After this period as a canon lawyer, he was entrusted by his archbishop with the reform of Sant’Arcangelo convent in Baiano and nearly killed by those opposing his reforms, he turned to pastoral work. He left Baiano in 1556 and joined the Theatine clerks regular in Naples, taking the name Andrew. He worked with great success because he was an effective preacher and zealous missioner. He eventually became superior of the Naples house and was known for his efforts to improve the quality of priests.

In 1570, he was sent to Lombardy at the request of Charles Borromeo founded houses at Milan and Piacenza, and was most successful in reforming the area in spite of great resistance. At the same time he became a personal friend and adviser to Borromeo.

Saint Andrew was much in demand as a confessor, keeping up an extensive religious correspondence. Among his disciples was Lorenzo Scupoli, author of The Spiritual Combat.

He returned to Naples in 1582 and spent the rest of his life ministering to the spiritual needs of his people, converting many and combatting Protestantism. He died at Naples, in his 80th year, at the foot of the altar when beginning Mass. His body was placed in the church of his monastery of Saint Paul in Naples.

He is credited with many miracles, and blood taken from his body after his death was reported to bubble like that of Saint Januarius, also in Naples. An investigation of the matter by Msgr. Pamphili (later Pope Innocent X) gave no credence to the report (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 August 2020. Web. 24 November 2020. <>