The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Francis Croese

Saint Francis Mary of CamporossoThe Venerable Francis Croese of Camporosso, near Genoa, was first a tertiary of the Conventuals, but after two years entered among the Capuchins. With the exception of his novitiate he spent the whole of his religious life in the monastery of the Immaculate Conception at Genoa. The first seven years found him working in the kitchen and in the garden. Then he was appointed alms-gatherer. In this office he found many opportunities for the exercise of his zeal. He exhorted to the reception of the sacraments. Where he noticed that on account of the poverty of the family the morals of the children were endangered he took care to procure them assistance. He helped poor but talented boys to study. Very frequently he was to be seen at the harbor, exhorting the sailors to a good life. But he did all this with such discretion and amiability that he was gladly welcomed. In all Genoa he was known only as “the Saint.” Many, even distin- guished and wealthy citizens, came to him for advice. His great love of prayer was long spoken of, and it is said that he spent whole nights in prayer. His greatest delight was to serve many Masses. For twenty-four years the penance-loving brother slept on the bare floor. To be contemned by others he esteemed the greatest grace. He jokingly called himself “only a tethered ass.” When the plague broke out in Genoa in 1866, he offered his life to God for the city. He was seized with the sickness and died on October 17, but the plague ceased. The whole city mourned his loss. The newspapers of all shades of opinion gave accounts of his glorious end.

– 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