Blessed Stephen Bellesini, priest

Feast Day: Feb, 03

Luigi Bellesini was born in Trent, Italy, on November 25, 1774. He entered the Order at
the monastery of San Marco in his native city, taking the name Stephen, and making his
profession on May 31, 1794. Following studies in Rome and Bologna, he was forced to
return to Trent during the government suppression of religious houses and there
completed his theological education. He was ordained priest in 1797. After several
years of ministry, principally as a preacher as well as a teacher in the local schools, the
monastery in Trent was also ordered closed and Stephen was forced to return to his
family home. There he dedicated his energies to teaching the poor children of the city
with such remarkable results that his work won the respect of the local authorities, who
appointed him Director and Superintendent of all schools of the district. However, when
the opportunity presented itself, he resigned from these offices and secretly made his
way to Rome in order to resume his religious life. He was appointed novice master first
in Rome, then in Umbria and lastly at Genazzano. The closing years of his life were
spent as pastor at the Shrine of Our Mother of Good Counsel, where he died while
ministering to the victims of an epidemic, a martyr of charity, on February 2, 1840.
Stephen was beatified by Pius X on December 27, 1904. His remains are venerated in a
special chapel dedicated to him at the Shrine of Our Mother of Good Counsel,
Blessed Stephen is an extraordinary example of fidelity in the face of trials:
fidelity to his vocation as an Augustinian and fidelity to the service of God’s
people, especially the poor and the infirm. His ministry as educator, formator and
pastor recommend him in a special way to Augustinians today who share his
religious vocation and ministry in challenging times.

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