Blessed Angelo of Furci
Blessed Angelo of Furci was known for his holiness, zeal for uprightness, gentleness of spirit, and fervent charity.
In Furci, a pretty little village near Vasto, in the Province of Chieti, there lived a married couple, Adalitto and Abalzia. Though rich and religious, they were sad because they were advanced in years and did not yet have a son who might gladden their old age.
Wise in their distress, they sought the Lord’s favor by passing their days in continual prayer, fasting and mortification, and pleading with the divine Majesty through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel to whom they were very devoted. They even when on pilgrimage to Gargano, the ancient and famous sanctuary of the unconquered archangel, and prayed there with confidence. In time the desire of the parents was crowned by the birth of a little boy to whom they gave the name Angelo. The year was 1246.
As a little child, Angelo was entrusted to the care of a maternal uncle, the abbot of a nearby Benedictine monastery, Cornaclano. Under the guidance of his uncle, Angelo very successfully developed the good dispositions present in his noble and sensitive soul.
At that abbey Angelo studied literature and philosophy proving to be a young man of alert mind and great promise. At the age of eighteen he lost his uncle and returned to his home. In his native place Angelo quickly became known and esteemed as a youth of excellent gifts.
When the blessed youth had been home for a year, his father fell fatally ill. He called his son to his bedside and told him about his birth and God’s intervention. The father also mentioned the fact that Angelo might wish to become an Augustinian.
Angelo chose to enter the Augustinians wanting to carry out his decision immediately. His dying father held him back however. After the death of his father, Angelo, a young man of strong and serene character, endured his loss and supported the elderly Albazia in her sorrow.
A year after his father died Angelo gave what he had to the poor and said a moving farewell to his elderly mother and his relatives and friends. He urged them to have a heartfelt love for one another. And said that he would betake himself in the direction of Vasto, without knowing where he would end up, but trusting in the help of St. Michael the Archangel and of the great Father, Saint Augustine. The first building he came upon after hours of walking was the monastery of Saint Augustine.
Angelo asked to join the Augustinians. He was admitted as a novice in 1266, at twenty years of age. He made his religious vows and then spent fours years studying theology. After completing his theological studies he was ordained a priest and was sent to Paris where the most promising young men were assigned.
Father Angelo, who was now about twenty-five, arrived in Paris in 1271. In Paris he met Blessed Giles of Rome, a renowned Augustinian Professor, and began to study under him. Giles was filled with admiration for the young friar. Father Angelo stayed in Paris for five years. In 1276, with a degree of lector, he returned to Abruzzi to teach theology.
We do not know which convent Angelo taught in. He remained in that Province for about eight years. When Blessed Clement of Osimo was once again elected prior general of the Order in 1284, he came to Naples to preside at the provincial chapter in the monastery of St. Augustine. The prior general, knowing the reputation of the learned and holy teacher, chose him to be first lector in the chair of theology at Saint Augustine’s in Naples.
When the capitular fathers of the provincial chapter held between 1288 and 1291 unanimously elected Father Angelo of Furci as prior general he humbly refused the office thinking himself unworthy to govern. But Blessed Clement required him to accept. He obeyed and showed by his deeds that was no less capable of successfully governing than of successfully teaching.
When Angelo reached the age of eighty-one in 1327 he fell ill and had to cease from his labors. He died on 6 February 1327 in the monastery of Saint Augustine in Naples. Angelo was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
His feast is celebrated by the Augustinian Family on 6 February.
Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000
Blessed Angelo of Furci
Shrine of Blessed Angelo, Furci, Italy.
St. Benedict Abbey, Still River, MA web page referring to Blessed Angelo.
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