Born at Barrettoli (Corsica), February 11, 1817
Taking of the habit at Marseilles, November 26, 1836
Oblation at Marseilles, November 27, 1837 (no. 73)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 27, 1841
Died at Vico, December 28, 1858.
Dominique Luigi was born at Barrettoli, district of Bastia, diocese of Ajaccio, February 11, 1817. It was Father Albini who had met him and “shown him how to rerach us directly from his village.” He began his novitiate with Brother Morandini at Marseilles, November 26, 1836 and made his oblation November 27, 1837 in the inner chapel of the house at Le Calvaire in the presence of Father Casimir Aubert, master of novices and superior of the house.
At the end of his seminary training at the major seminary of Marseilles, Bishop de Mazenod ordained him to the priesthood on June 27, 1841. Bishop de Mazenod had already confirmed Brother Luigi at the beginning of his seminary studies on March 4, 1838. December 19, 1840, before conferring on him the diaconate, the Founder had written to Father Semeria in Corsica: “Brother Luigi, your future co-worker, is steadfastly a real gem [...] Will you encounter more of his stamp in the country that you are evangelizing?”
Father Luigi worked for two months with the Italians in Marseilles, then left for Corsica. Bishop de Mazenod presented him to Father Moreau, the superior of the major seminary of Ajaccio, with these words: “You will soon see among you our Father Luigi [...] He is an angel in gentleness, goodness, regularity. He is perhaps less talented than others, but, I assure you, he is my consolation.”
Father Luigi was always a member of the Vico community and preached parish missions with Fathers Semeria, Gibelli, De Veronico, etc. The Founder mentioned him on occasion in his letters and it was always to praise his virtues. For example, in the month of August of 1851, in a letter to Father Casimir Aubert, he wrote: “Father Luigi “has never failed to meet our expectations and he has always lived like a saint and zealous religious, as well, he is performing marvels in Corsica.”
Father Luigi died December 28, 1858 at 42 years of age. Father Balaïn, the superior of Vico, announced his passing. He stated that Father Luigi died of an infection after scarcely three days of illness. And he added: “He died the death of the just, in the prime of life, at a time when we were able to delude ourselves that we would see him for many years yet an apostle of his country. You know that having lived with Father Albini, in some way trained at his school, he had become a faithful carbon copy of the virtues and especially of the zeal and charity of this genuine model of apostolic men.”
On January 3, 1959 Bishop de Mazenod received a similar letter from Bishop Casanelli d’Istria. He then wrote in his Diary: “This very day we have learned of the unforeseen death of our angelic and blessed Father Luigi, this model of all the religious virtues, this angel of peace whose mere presence calmed all the passions of those indomitable Corsicans whom he evangelized with a constant blessing. I am utterly crushed by the blow. My heart constricts in a way I cannot express. My soul is so plunged in sadness that I am obliged to have recourse to prayer to withstand this trial with resignation. What a country Corsica has proven itself for our little family! It is a land that swallows us up one by one: Albini, Moreau, Richaud, Gibelli, Pasqualini, etc., and now Luigi! What a loss! What sorrow! This good Luigi whom I loved so much from his first years in the Congregation...!”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, November 27, 1837; a few letters of Bishop Casanelli d’Istria and of Bishop de Mazenod (1849-1858); circular letter of Fathe Casimir Aubert to the Oblates to announce the death, January 5, 1859.
REY, Achille, Mgr de Mazenod, vol. II, pp. 707-708.