The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Dominic Lentini

illustration of Blessed Domenico Lentini, artist unknownIn the south Italian province of Basilicata lies the little town of Lauria in the diocese of Policastro. Here was born, on 20 November 1770, the Venerable Dominic Lentini. On account of the extreme poverty of his parents the boy met with great difficulties in completing his studies. After his ordination Lentini became a professor in the Lyceum of his native town. He strove particularly to enlighten the young as to the false principles of the philosophy of the day by means of many discourses of a philosophico-apologetic kind. In 1779 a liberty tree had been erected in Lauria. When the revolution reached its climax, the cooler heads desired to pull it down, but a crowd of furious revolutionists ranged themselves before it, ready to strike down any one who should dare to touch it. A great uproar ensued. Then the young priest Lentini stepped out before the crowd and resolutely ordered them to pull down the tree and bring it to the nearest hill. They involuntarily obeyed him. Then he made them fashion the wood into a cross and raise it aloft. Beneath it he addressed them with burning eloquence, telling them: “This is the tree of freedom and of salvation. We shall honor no other.” Contrite and with hearts redeemed to the ancient Faith, the crowd dispersed. Lentini died on 26 February 1828. Even before his burial he began to work miracles. His grave continually attracts many pilgrims because of the extraordinary things which take place there.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916