Canonical Depositions


Translator’s note: This translation is based on the introduction and text which were published by Vincenzo Criscuolo OFM Cap in I Cappuccini: Fonti Documentarie e Narrative Del Primo Secolo (1525-1619) Roma 1994, Curia Generale dei Cappuccini.

The following is the section: Santi e santità (Mariano D’ Alatri) pp. 883-973 sourced from I frati cappuccini III/2, 4735-4786.

Translated by Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap

Table of Contents

Introduction by Mariano D’Alatri OFM Cap

During the first hundred years of the history of the Capuchin Order a small troupe of “saints” developed, the vast majority of whom were Italians. This is understandable since it was only towards the end of the sixteenth century that the Order was able to extend beyond the Alps. The first saints to be more or less solemnly recognised by the Church were Fedele da Sigmaringen (1578-1622), the protomartyr of Propaganda Fide and Venerable Onorato da Parigi (1566-1624).

In the course of the sixteenth century the Holy See confirmed the approval of the Capuchin Reform and its Constitutions by recognising that both were genuine branches of the religious movement started by St Francis of Assisi. However, the example of a good life carries more weight than having good laws. Therefore, in presenting the first century of the Capuchin Reform we have to make room for the “history” of those who were holy and let those who knew them speak about what they saw and heard as giving witness to how they lived.

This creates a collection of direct testimonies, taken from the canonical processes for “saints” who died between 1587 and 1626. Four of these reached their final goal with canonisation. These include the lay brothers Felice da Cantalice, Serafino da Montegranaro, and the priests, Giuseppe da Leonessa and Lorenzo da Brindisi. Two were proclaimed Blessed, the lay brother Geremia della Valacchia and the priest Benedetto da Urbino. Two were proclaimed Venerable and they were the lay brother Raniero da Sansepolcro and the priest Francesco da Bergamo. You might say that Heaven had sealed the non-clerical nature of the Capuchin Reform.

Rather than just outline a biography in which the characteristics of saintliness could be shown for each of them, it is preferred to create a record of actions that demonstrate the way each one achieved holiness by letting them or those who knew them speak for themselves. It is a choir of many voices that relate what the saint did and how others perceived him. In fact, the depositions are most of all what others remember seeing or hearing, and the interpretation that they placed on words and actions. Most of all, they reflect what the one to whom the questions were directed to express what they thought about sanctity in general and how this should be lived out.

In selecting the accounts, preference was shown to what was the most accurate, simple, transparent, and those related by perceptive men or women.

What has been chosen forms a mosaic that presents a holy way of life (which is penitential, vigilant, busy, wounded) that is based on (contemplation and seclusion) but open to mercy (helping the poor, those in trouble and those who are sick), and to the apostolate (preaching, catechetics, the ministry of Confession and setting good example). Thus, it involves an evangelical and ecclesial form of sanctity that follows (to a heroic degree) the daily way of life that the Capuchins lived during the first century of their history.


1504 San Felice was born in Cantalice (Rieti) in 1515 and died in Rome on 18th May 1587. He was a shepherd and a farmer and joined the Capuchins at the end of 1543. He went our questing, was a proficient counsellor and the friend of many saintly men. He was buried in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione. He was beatified on 4th June 1625 and canonised by Pope Clement XI on 22nd May 1712.

[I frati cappuccini III/2, 4647-4735]

Testimony of Br Agostino Roncali da Beramo

1505 [8167] In his spare time or when the weather was bad, he made little crosses which are now so precious that everyone wants one.

He did not know how to read or write. Although he was friendly to everyone, he preferred to be alone and avoid conversation. He liked to say certain prayers which he sang and taught to children. One of them was:

“O Jesus, Jesus,

Son of Mary,

Whoever possesses you

Will have everything.”

1506 [8168] One time when I was going through Rome with Br Felice (it might have been about ten or twelve years ago) he was invited into the house of a lady who presented him with her three sons and said: “Br Felice here are your sons.” She had him hold them and call them by name and he remembered the name of each one. Then we asked for some wine and the woman gave us alms. When we had left Brother Felice said to me” “Do not be scandalised. Once this lady who had no children asked me to pray to God for her to have children and I said to her: “Do not worry, you will soon give birth to a boy”. As you have seen that is what happened. That is why you heard her say that they were my children. When the woman said this, I did not know who she was, and I have never seen her since then.” I do not know her, but I know where she lives. It is near Cortesavella, between Cappellari and Cortesavella. It is straight ahead as you go from Cappellari towards Cortesavella. I would recognise the house. I think her husband is a businessman or a banker.

Br Domenico da Carbognano

1507 [8185] Many times, I heard him and others say that he came from Cantalice and I understand they he came from poor stock and that when he was in the world he looked after cattle and that he got the idea of becoming a religious when he heard someone read the Vite de’ santi Padri and heard how some of them lived on radishes and herbs in the Egyptian desert. He felt a great desire to suffer and, I think, to enter religious life and not having anything to eat.

Brother Felice used to say that when he entered religious life, he thought he would never eat bread. Then he would add: “By the grace of God I became the master of all the bread in Rome”. This was because he was doing nothing else but carry bread on his shoulder. Indeed, Brother Felice said that during the famine when hardly anyone had bread, they asked him for bread, and he willingly gave them a couple of loaves.

1508 It is about nineteen years since I entered religious life, but I have never lived in Rome for any length of time because I have gone here and there as the superiors told me. However, while I was in Rome, I spoke to Brother Felice especially during the year and a half when I accompanied him questing.

1509 [8186] I came to know that Brother Felice lived a very good life and that he spoke with great humility. He often told me that if the superiors had told him to leave Rome, he would have done so willingly in order to be obedient.

I recall how when I accompanied him into the house of Monsignor Rustice to have a meal that the Monsignor said: “Brother Felice is a hypocrite who goes around Rome robbing bread.” He said nothing and showed no sign of being upset. He just laughed.

Everything that he said was beautiful and filled with devotion. When we went into the home of a married woman he used to say; “You have not given your heart to Christ as freely as so and so,” and he would name someone who did not have a husband or children. “You have given your heart to your husband and children,” and he would urge her to give her heart to Christ. He would teach her a song that said: “Jesus, Jesus take my heart and never give it back to me again.”

Whenever possible he avoided conversation, even with religious, by remaining in the choir singing prayers or sighing.

Brother Felice was assiduous in prayer. Even when he had been questing during the day, he got up at two or three in the morning and went into the choir where he stayed until the bell rang for Matins. As soon as it rang, he left and went into his cell. When the friars came back from Matins he returned to the choir and stayed there until the first Mass which he served and at which he received Communion. While I lived at that friary, I often saw him doing this. The friars told me that he had been doing this for many years.

He was very secretive about what he did and did not let the friars know what he was doing. However, he often told me that I ought to pray to Christ with love and that holy God expected nothing of us but acts of love. I saw that he was saying this very affectionately.

1510 [8187] He always dressed in the scruffiest habit that we had. He went in search of the shabbiest habit that he could find. Pieces of fabric that we used to put under our habit out of necessity, he wore on the outside of his habit. He was very frugal in what he ate. When he went questing, because he had to leave early, he would eat hastily. If someone gave him something it had to be bread and water since he would eat nothing else. He would not ask for anything and did not say a word.

He used to put water in the minestra, saying that he did this because it was hot. However, I think that he did it so that it would not be as tasty and good to eat. The little that he did eat he gulped down quickly as if he were throwing it away.

1511 He often scolded us because we ate so much. One day a preacher was sitting at table with his knees crossed and he told him that it was not right to sit at table like that. I believe he did all his discipline when he was alone. However, because he was in choir with nobody else around, one cannot know what he was doing there.

He suffered from colic pain, but never complained. He just kept singing. When he was asked what he was doing, he responded: “A bit of humming, lilting and a bit of singing.” He never wanted to take medicine. He remained joyful during his last illness. When I said that he would recover in a few days, he responded that the donkey had fallen and would not be getting up again. On his last day, (he died the following day), he told me that he had a dream in which the Father General and the Vicar came to him and gave him absolution.

1512 [8188] He admonished all the friars when he saw them doing anything that was not right. He often did the same to me because he could not tolerate anything that was not holy. He defended what was spiritual and he often told me that he did not like how the friars wandered about and that he had thought of reporting this to the Father Protector or even to the Pope. He assisted many who needed help giving them bread and wine or sometimes even oil or meat. He visited those who were sick in the friary.

I think that he knew that death was approaching, because when I said that he would get better, he replied that the donkey had fallen and that he would not get up anymore. He used to say: “Yes, yes” and smile as if it were a joke. He also used to say a lot of things which I cannot remember but which made me understand how he felt.

1513 I also know that when I went questing with him many people asked him to touch them with his rosary beads where they felt sick while saying the Pater noster. He touched them, made the sign of the cross and said: “Let it be done according to your faith.” However, I do not know if they were cured later on.

On another occasion when other people whom I did not know were around, I remember him going to the hospital of san Giovanni Laterano where there were people who were very ill. When Brother Felice asked them if the doctor had given them wine, they said that he had not, and he said that “he ought to have given them some wine mixed with water.” He then he gave a drop to the ones who were gravely ill, and they began to feel better immediately.

I heard many things, but I have not reported anything that I am not sure of.

Br Urbano da Prato

1514 [8189] I would have been about twenty-six or twenty-seven years old when I was invested as a Capuchin friar. I have been a lay brother for ten years. I can read and write a little. I come from Prato in Tuscany, even though I was born in Rome. As is the custom in our Order, I usually receive Communion twice a week, that is on Sunday and Thursday and on any feast that occurs during the week. Thanks be to God, I received Communion on Thursday and this morning as well.

When I came back from France, where I had been living in the Province of Toulouse, I arrived in Rome on Palm Sunday a short time after the death of Brother Felice a Cantalice. Brother Isidoro da Marigna who came from Milan and who was a lector and preacher, had also died.

I did not know either the father or the mother of Brother Felice, but I was well acquainted with one of his brothers, whom I had seen eating with him in the refectory in the infirmary. He talked like him and did everything like him so that it seemed that they might have been twins. He had been here for a few years probably about six or seven. I think that he said that he had come to buy some cattle. He was dressed quite shabbily, and Brother Felice asked him where he had slept. He said that he had slept at Campo Vaccino. He invited him to stay in the friary, but he said that it did not matter. He came from Cantalice and the castle of Civita Ducale. When I was a poor lay person of about fifteen years of age, I knew friars who came to my father’s house begging.

1515 [8190] This was how I first came to know him. I saw him continually begging. After I became a friar, I saw him doing the same thing here in Rome. He was always joyful. Most of the time I saw him going around barefoot, with large sores on his muddy feet. In his last years he wore sandals when it was very cold. Once I heard him laughing with the Guardian and saying: “Father, my ambassadors have arrived.” The Guardian asked what that might mean. He said: “I have been stung from my fingers to my feet. I think I have ingrown toenails. I can hardly walk. I am in agony because of my feet.”

Br Alessio da Sezze Romano

1516 [8193] I would have been fourteen or fifteen when I first came to know him. I recognised that he was a very simple person because he spoke in the same way to a Cardinal as he did to a poor person. He treated everybody the same. He did not show more esteem for a person of high rank. He was very unpretentious in his conversation choosing words that were hallowed and edifying.

I recall how once when he and I went into the home of a lawyer called Bernardino Biscia, Brother Felice went into a room in which there were many books as well as a crucifix. When Brother Felice saw this, he stopped and looked at it and said: “Mr Bernardino, come here because I want to say something to you.” Then facing all of us he said: “Look Mr Bernardino, all the books were written so that you could understand this”, and he pointed to the crucifix.

1517 [8193] He was so preoccupied with religion that when he was walking through the streets and found a leaf from a missal or breviary, he picked it up and put it in his sleeve if it was clean. If it was soiled, he carried it in his hand and when he got home, he either put it in a suitable place or burnt it.

Brother Felice was also humble and mortified. I heard one of the priests at S. Girolamo, who is now at Pozzo Bianco, say that he wanted to see if Brother Felice was mortified. When he met him at Pellegrino, he placed a cap on his head saying: “Now let us go questing.” Brother Felice kept doing the work until the priest took the cap off his head. I also know that once when he and I went to collect flowers at Porta Pia when he had collected a bunch for the sacristan and many people had gathered around us, I said to Brother Felice: “Let me put the bunch on your ear.” He said: “Leave it alone.” I still put the bunch on his ear, and he left it there as the people came up. They said to him: “Did you put that bunch there just so people would notice you?” He replied: “What do I care?” Then he took the bunch away.

1518 [8196] A woman, whose name I did not know or where she came from, told me that when Brother Felice was out questing, she gave him a loaf of bread and when he took it, he looked at her and said: “How are you?” She replied: “Father, I am very upset.” Brother Felice said: “Tell the Madonna and God will help you.” The lady went and said the rosary and felt at peace immediately. After Brother Felice had died, I was out questing and the lady asked me for a piece of his habit and I gave her a piece. This is how I remember what happened.

On another occasion when we were in the home of one of the leading ladies in Rome, while we were sitting in a room Brother Felice began to cry and tears flowed down his cheek. When she saw Brother Felice crying the woman said to him: “Father, what has happened and why are you crying? Is it perhaps because I am a sinner?” Brother Felice replied: “It would be wrong. It would be wrong if I did not tell you. Although you are young you know that when butchers have a tasty piece of meat, they put it on display so the people will want to buy it. Forgive me, madame, but your breast is visible. Forgive me”. Then the three of us began crying. The women said to Brother Felice: May your mouth be blessed. From now on nobody will see my breast.” She covered it with a piece of cloth. That was the end of it, and we went away. I kept in touch with the lady for a long while after Brother Felice died and she remained modest in what she did and what she wore.

I came to know Brother Felice very well especially during the noviciate at Anticoli. He was reputed to be a holy friar and I wanted to get to know him. He came to Rome, and I got to know him well when he taught me how to go out questing to help those who were sick. We went questing together for twelve years.

1519 [8197] Brother Felice did everything correctly, even better than the other friars. He stayed awake longer than the other friars. From what I observed I would say that he went to bed early, got up after an hour and a half, or two at the most, washed and went to the choir an hour before Matins and the other prayers that the friars said which lasted for about three and a half hours. Then when the friars went back to sleep, he went back into the church where he stayed until dawn. He served Mass and received Communion every morning. Then he went out questing.

Whenever he went questing, as he did that day, he spoke to those whom he knew (children, women, men, Cardinals and Princes), and he said: “Deo gratias! Praised be Jesus Christ.” He usually asked the women and children whether they had said the rosary. Sometimes he chanted fifteen or twenty Psalms. He usually said: “Dimmi santarello” (Speak to me little holy one). That is what he called children. And he said to them: “Be good and say the rosary.” Sometimes when he had as many as thirty children gathered around him, he would say: “Are you the little ones that I call saints? First of all, let us sing something. Just sing what I sing:

O Jesus, O Jesus, O Jesus,

Take my heart

And do not ever let me go.

He used to say: “Let us sing again, and lift up your voices as I am doing.” He would then repeat the name of Jesus saying “take my heart and never let me go” but on a higher note.

I also know that when he visited someone who was sick or in trouble, he consoled them and told them to sing this beautiful song together:

Whoever grasps the cross firmly,

Will be supported by Jesus Christ

And obtain paradise,

And eternal glory.

Often by having those who were sick or in trouble recite this verse in a thoughtful manner they would burst into tears because of the words, and they would feel compassion for their neighbour. He told them to pray slowly and reflectively. Those who were sick or in trouble used to say that when they were suffering the most, they kept themselves strong by thinking of Christ’s Cross and how they would win paradise.

1521 When some of the intellectuals from the German College came to him sometimes in pairs, or sometimes as many as fifty at a time, he challenged them and asked them to say Deo gratias. Therefore, when they saw him coming in the distance they would cry out “Here comes Deo gratias”. Brother Felice would smile and say Deo gratias and weep with devotion. I know all about this because I was his companion and saw and heard what went on.

Brother Felice had a deep love for God and therefor he willingly occupied himself with thoughts and actions that were related to Christ’s passion. He frequently blessed the name of Christ, saying: “If you wish to carry the cross you have to be patient.” He distributed little crosses to everyone without showing any preference. He gave ten to a lady called Felice Colonna who said very emphatically that she wanted to send some to Spain. One day she gave them all away and it was necessary to obtain more for her.

1522 He loved his neighbour so much that whenever he had the chance, he urged them to love Christ, the Blessed Virgin and St Francis. On many occasions as he went through the squares, the streets, the homes, the cellars, or dealt with artists, prelates and other people he made use of words to convert sinners. Sometimes he used words from Scripture or from the Prophets that he had heard when someone was preaching.

I remember how on one occasion he went to visit a leading lawyer in the city and when he saw his library, he said to him that he would like to show him a book that would show what all the other books meant. He picked up a crucifix that was there and he said: “My Lord, whoever does not know the meaning of this book does not know the meaning of any book.” While they were there someone brought the lawyer a piece of ‘cascio’ and a calf; the calf mooed. Brother Felice said to him: “Do you know what this means? I do. It means that you defend the worthy causes of your clients so that on judgement day it will not be held against you.” The lawyer was very edified and thanked Brother Felice very much.

One day he gave a loaf of bread to the poor for the love of God. (This is permitted for those who go questing.) One day a Jew asked him for a loaf of bread for the love of the Madonna. He replied: “Ask for it for the love of Christ.” The Jew said: “No!” Later he gave it to him. When Pope Sixtus was a Cardinal, he met Brother Felice and asked him for a loaf of bread for the love of God and he gave it to him. On the day, after he became Pope, he met Brother Felice near the Trinità de’ Monte and he called out to him and asked him for a loaf of bread for the love of God. Brother Felice went to look for a good one. The Pope said just give me whatever you have at the moment. He happened to have a black loaf which he gave to the Pope and said: “Be patient, Holy Father, and be a friar like us.”

1523 I know that Brother Felice was very humble and that everyone thought that he was a saint, especially Blessed Felippo Nero. In spite of all that he called himself “the friars’ little donkey.” When he fell sick and was taken to the infirmary he said “the donkey has fallen over and cannot get up anymore.” His humility was so outstanding that one day when we were questing at Banchi near Zecca Vecchia we met Felippo Nero at the Chiesa Nova and he said to Brother Felice: “You young thief, let me see how mortified you are this morning.” He took off his hat and put it on Brother Felice and said: “Keep this on your head while you are questing in Banchi and Pellrgrino.” Brother Felice did so without getting upset.

Some of those who saw Brother Felice humbly wearing the hat said: “Bother Felice is wearing a hat; he must be sick.” Others said that he wore a hat because he was old. Some took it off out of respect or as a joke. Brother Felice remained calm, not listening to anyone or changing the happy look on his face. When we came to the square in Damaso in Campo di Fiore Blessed Felippo came up and took off the hat and said: “Oh what a beautiful example you have given to this town this morning! I will speak to your superiors about imposing such a heavy burden on you!” Brother Felice replied: “I will accept it willingly for the love of God.”

A few days later when we were going along a street in Valle it rained and the street was muddy. When Blessed Felippo met Brother Felice he said to him: “I am going through this muck on a horse. What do you have to say about that!” Brother Felice replied: “I thought that I was seeing a donkey going through this muck.” Blessed Felippo said to him: “You are having a go at me!” Brother Felice said: “Still, just have patience.” I was present through all of this.

1524 [8201] I recall another instance of extraordinary mortification. It took place when he and I were going to gather roses and bring them home at night and we met the elderly Cardinal Sforza travelling in a carriage. When he saw Brother Felice, he called out to him and placed a rose on his ear and ordered him to go all the way to the friary without taking the rose from his ear. He told me: “Travelling companion, let me know if he keeps wearing it.” He added: “He is to wear it and be surrounded by its perfume.” How could he do this given that he would meet many people who would see him wearing the rose and smell the perfume? The people would wonder about what was happening. When we reached the door of the friary, he removed the rose saying: “You endured the mortification and I enjoyed the perfume.”

While dealing with people and especially with me he always said: “Brother Alessio we should go about in the day as if it were night. In all that we do when going through the streets, talking in the homes, we should not neglect prayer and raising our minds to God asking Him not to abandon us but to give us His grace.”

On another occasion he said, “Let us say an oral prayer with our tongue and our lips by saying the Pater noster, the Ave maria, Sia lodato Gesú Cristo e la sua santissima Madre and prayers like that because the devil can very easily grab a friar who does not pray.”

1525 [8202] I have seen how he observed this rule when he went into the church to pray at night. He went into the choir for about an hour and a half. He lit a candle and looked around and if he saw a friar, he humbly told him to go and sleep so that he would be more awake in the morning. When he thought that there was nobody in the church, he would begin his own various spiritual exercises. Sometimes he was so fervent that he said nothing but “oh, oh, oh.” When he had said this for three hours he took up something else.

He repeatedly said: “If only someone had said something to support him.” Then he would say: “O Lord Jesus Christ, O my Lord Jesus Christ.” “What great abandonment you suffered.” Then, suffering as much anxiety as if he were about to die, he would burst into tears and if any of the friars saw or heard this they would also cry.

1526 At other times he would slowly walk from the door of the church towards the Blessed Sacrament with his arms crossed saying only “Blessed be God. Blessed be God.” This could go on for about two hours. On another occasion he would stretch himself out in front of the Blessed Sacrament with his face on the ground and his arms crossed. Sometimes he stayed like this for an hour or two without moving. At other times he would sing in a low voice just like child paying no attention to what he was singing but being intent on being devout. When he did this, he thought that he was alone but sometimes there would be fifteen or twenty other friars present.

On another occasion a Spanish priest, Father Lupo, who respected and revered Brother Felice, hid himself in the pulpit in the church to observe what Brother Felice was doing. This priest told Father Monopoli, who became a Cardinal, but who at the time was a young preacher, that he thought that he had heard a voice that said: “Know for certain, my dear Father, that Brother Felice possesses the spirit of God, because what he does in the church is not human but is infused by the spirit. What proves this is the way that he influences others and has influenced me to the point that I feel that he is at work within me.”

1527 [8203] One night a friar hid himself behind a pew so that Brother Felice would not see him. Brother Felice always went to that pew to start his usual exercises. While hiding behind the pew near the altar, that poor brother sneezed. Brother Felice was very annoyed with him because he had heard what he was doing, and he told him that if he kept spying like that God would punish him.

One night during harvest time it rained, and he stripped himself down to his underwear in the middle of the church and was crying out: “God be merciful. God be merciful!” He did this for more than an hour holding his discipline in his hand saying: “Lord, do not look at our sins. Have mercy.” I saw him that night and when the rain stopped, he went on gathering the harvest.

1528 Once I asked Brother Felice; “Reverend Father, I do not experience any peace when I pray, what should I do?” He replied: “My Son, there is no way of fixing this other than living a different way of life and learning how to serve God in small matters and in great. God wants to be served by you doing the things that he has decreed. Sometimes God wants to be served through encountering opposition. He wants us to be patient when suffering from distractions and not to surrender. At other times, he wants to be served peacefully and quietly. I doubt that I am like that because since I joined the friars, I have never felt upset or unhappy because I have come to recognise that everyone is God’s friend after they have endured bitterness and misfortune. Therefore, pray to God for me.” I learnt this through personal experience. Things like this were more or less normal.

1529 [8204] One time we brought a cooked prosciutto home. When he had put it in the over Brother Felice turned to me and said: “I am hungry, and I would like a piece of that prosciutto.” I cut off a piece and gave it to him. He ate it with a slice of bread. When it was time to go into the refectory, he began to criticise himself saying: “What a glutton I was! It would not have taken much to have abstained. You will pay for this!” I said to him: “Dear old Father, let us go into the refectory where the other friars are eating.” He said: “You go. You go. I do not want to go.” This was Thursday morning. He ate nothing until Sunday morning. I asked him: “Dear old Father, are you sick?” He replied: “My mouth stinks for that is the way that gluttons are punished.” I know this because I saw that he did not eat on Friday or Saturday. I can say this because we always went about together.

He wore rough, patched old woollen clothes that were torn at the knees and made in Genoa. Whenever it rained, they became covered in mud which caused his legs and ankles to blister as if they had been cut with a knife. Sometimes, especially when it was very cold the blisters would bleed. I often attended to them and he too often rubbed something on them.

1530 [8205] On one occasion there was a section of road that stretched along between the College and the Palace of Cardinal Salviati that was wet and muddy with only a patch near the wall that was dry. Brother Felice happened to meet a Bishop on that road and the Bishop stopped to let Brother Felice pass. Brother Felice also stopped. Two groups of people gathered on both sides of the road. Brother Felice plunged into the mud up to his knees so that the Bishop would be able to pass. The Bishop was overcome with admiration and said: “Brother Felice, may God forgive you for what you have done!” Brother Felice replied: “I seem to have acted like a donkey, Monsignor. Give me a blessing.” When he arrived at the friary the friars could see that he was covered in mud and they grabbed him and took him where they could wash it off. He said to them: “Although you are doing something that is very kind, I do not deserve it.” I know this because I was there.

What is more, I know that once when Brother Felice was warming himself by the fire and other friars were talking with me, after warming his hands a little bit he suddenly got up and went away. I said to him: “Old man, warm yourself properly.” He replied: “When you are sitting by the fire your head tends to be occupied with talking, and while he was sitting close to a fire St Peter denied Christ.” Then he said to me: “I want to tell you something. While I was in church the other night a lamp went out and I took a candle and went into the kitchen. As I was lighting it, I saw four or five friars sitting with their hands in their sleeves and their hoods pulled down over their heads. When I looked closely, I recognised who they were. I said to one of them: “Are you not so and so?” He said yes and so did each one of the others. “What are you doing here. Are you not dead?” They said yes. “Then, why are you here?” “God sent us here to do penance and go through purgatory for all the faults that we committed while sitting around a fire. Pray to God for us.”

1531 [8206] I was present when they gave Viaticum to Brother Felice. When the priest entered his cell Brother Felice raised his head and said, “O sacred banquet where Christ dwells, I receive you in memory of you most holy Passion.” When he finished saying those words he began to cry and then he received the Blessed Sacrament. It was about lunchtime. That evening he was anointed and then gave up his soul to God. I was not present, but this is what the friars told me.

[13. Br Bonifacio d’Anticoli

1532 [8217] I have been a Capuchin for seventy years. I lived at S. Apostolo for twelve years. I would have been about twenty years of age when I joined the Capuchins.

I am a brother, not a priest. The Order has made use of me to do various things as needed, except to say Mass. Every morning I received Communion in the infirmary chapel.

I did not know Brother Felice when I was a secular. However, as soon as I was invested, the friars placed him where I lived in Rome where, together with another novice, I lived at Anticon and Brother Felice spent seven years there with us. I was then transferred to Tivoli. I made my first profession at Monte S. Giovanni where I lived for a short time. Then I was sent to Tivoli where I lived for a year. I was then sent to Viterbo for a year. From Viterbo I was sent back to Tivoli and then to Rome where I remained.

He complained that life was lived at an exuberant pace. This meant that the friars did not do much penance. However, the friars could not keep this up and five or six of them fell ill. After he became a friar, he developed an infection and came close to death. At times he showed symptoms of colic disturbances.

He used to say that he came from Cantalice in the region of Civita Ducale. I knew two of his brothers when they were little boys and came to Rome to sell goats. They were good people and said that it was all legitimate. He was young when he became a friar. He had a strong will and was rather stubby. I think he was about thirty years of age, but I am not certain. I know that I would have been about twenty years older than him.

1533 [8218] He did not know how to read or write. The little he knew about this he learnt from me. His work was questing. Whenever he heard the name of God or of Jesus it elevated his spirit, and he praised God. He treasured God in his heart and was always saying “Jesus”, and making others say it when he met children or priests. After Father Lipo came here, he began to say: Deo gratias. He spoke freely to everyone. With his death I have lost a lot because he used to come to see me. He supported me when I was sick and gave me much consolation. However, I am glad that he has gone to paradise. He paid honour to God and God has honoured him.

When he was encouraging someone to become a friar, Brother Felice used to ask him if he was ready to eat bread and drink water, because when he became a friar, he would be “master of all the baking ovens and casks in Rome.” “My treasure is to be at the service of others.” When he spoke, he did not criticise others. He never used vain words. If he had to reprove someone he would say: “I want to improve you.” In other words, he was encouraging them to improve. When he was young, he would strip down and put his stomach on the rocky ground as a penance. He often did this, and I would stop him. He would say that he was doing it out of contempt for himself and to suppress the flesh. Even after I had spoken to him, he continued doing it.

1534 [8219] He went about barefoot. It was only when he got old that he wore something on his feet and even then, only during winter. When his feet split open and developed great cracks, he stitched them. However, he never said a word to me when I admonished him or said something to him. If you said something to him, he never answered back unless he thought that you had said something that was bad especially if it found fault with our way of life. One time I said, “Brother Felice, you have a cell and I do not have a cell even though I am older that you are. I want to throw you out and send you somewhere else.” He said nothing. He simply bowed his head. A few years later he reminded me of what I had said and said did I want to go elsewhere. I said that if he commanded me to do it I would, if not I would stay. When I had said this, he remained silent.

I had great respect for him, so great that it might have been excessive. He called me “old father”. With respect to poverty, he always wore a rough old woollen habit. He was wearing it when he died. He always smiled when others were there. It was like that when I was a novice and an old friar, called Michele da Susa, who had been a friar for seventy years, was there. He always went into the church to pray. He used to say the Pater noster. He spent much time in contemplation. I know about this because he discussed it with me. No one was as friendly with me as he was. While the friars were saying Matins he withdrew. As soon as they had finished, he came back to pray and at dawn he served the first Mass. Over the past fifteen years he received Communion every morning. After that he went questing. He was a friar here in Rome for forty years.

1535 [8220] When we went questing, he did not stop to talk to anyone. Unless he talked to some friar such as Brother Lupo or someone else, he remained in his cell. He was happy to have a few pieces of sackcloth stitched on his habit. He did not waste time. I say this because good friars are always introverted but not lazy. My first Guardian, who belonged to the Reform at S. Apostolo, was like that but was not idle. He was a good man and performed miracles while he was alive.

Brother Felice never put obedience aside. Even when he was tired, he did not stop questing. He did not complain about doing it or want to stop doing it. I spoke to him about it on many occasions and he never wanted to stop doing it. He was always happy. Anyone who has a clear conscience will always be happy. If he had forgotten to consult his conscience, he went back to think again. He was very charitable not only towards the friars in the friary, but also towards outsiders who were sometimes embarrassed by the way he waited on them. He cooperated with the friars at S. Maria degli Angeli at Termini and those at S. Agostino and Minerva.

1536 [8221] On the feast of S. Girolamo it will be four years since I was confined to bed and I could only see him when he often came to visit me. There were times when I needed a drink. He said: “I did not come to see you because you wanted a drink. I felt compassionate towards him because he was carrying a heavy weight. He ate very little, mainly just a bit of what he was carrying. He ate what was given to him quickly without being concerned about his health and the effort it took to eat it. He ate what was set before him and had little regard for his health.

I could not be with him when he died because I was sick in bed. I remember how our Doctor, Domenico Gagliardello, told me that Brother Felice said: “Doctor. Do not deceive me. If you know that I am going to die, tell me.” The Doctor told him that he was going to die. Brother Felice was very happy and said over and over again in a loud voice: “Deo gratias! Deo gratias!” After the Doctor spoke to him, he started to improve and he said: “You are giving me bad news.” I remember that he died that night.

1537 I believe that he was chaste, because the friars who accepted him spoke very well of him. Friars who accept novices seem to know a lot about the novices that they accept and if they had lived an immoral life in the world. The friars who receive them are able to correct them and take care of them.

Brother Felice had great respect for priests, Religious, Bishops and even more for Cardinals. When he met Cardinal Farnese, he went down on his knees and asked his blessing. I had great respect for him, but God showed him greater respect than I did. Who could have anticipated that he would die during a general Chapter when all the friars were in Rome.


He was born in Sansepolcro (Arezzo) in 1511 and died in Todi on 25th August 1589. He was hardworking, penitential and charismatic. The process for canonisation was introduced on 3rd March 1629.

[I frati cappuccino III/2, 4735-4786]

Br Paolo da Norcia

1539 [8254] Because he did not want to get married while he was living in the world, his parents, ignoring what he wanted to do, procured a wife for him. On the evening of the wedding day, when his wife was gorging herself, Br Raniero said to her: “Do not eat so much or you will burst.” Because he wanted to preserve his virginity, Br Raniero made a vow to Our Lady of Loreto in which he said that if she freed him from the bonds of marriage, he would offer his services to the Holy House for a month. His prayers were heard because after his wife had eaten too much, she became sick that night and was found dead next morning. Br Raniero told me this himself.

He also told me that when he had been freed from marriage in such a miraculous way he did go and work for a month. When the vow was completed, he returned home and often went to hear our friars singing Matins (the Office of Readings in choir at midnight) during the night at Montecasale.

Br Raniero himself told me that while he was working in fulfilment of his vow to the Madonna of Loreto, he met two of our friars as they were going around and, after talking to them, he decided to become a Capuchin.

Br Egidio di Amelia

1540 [8270] Br Raniero prayed very fervently and always appeared to have his mind raised up to God. He did not have much to say to the friars or to lay people. When he did speak to them he went away after saying about four words and retired to the church or to his cell. Even when Br Raniero was exhausted from doing the work of a bricklayer or carpenter in the friary, and although he was very old, he got up every night for Matins and also appeared at all the spiritual exercises demanded by the Rule and our Constitutions especially when this involved prayer.

What is more, at night Br Raniero was always the last to leave the chapel where he stayed praying. At night, he was always one step ahead of the other friars for Matins. I often saw him going to the chapel to pray and more often than not his prayers were answered.

I often asked how did he pray and manage to obtain so many graces and because he trusted me, he told me that he prayed to the Eternal Father through the merits of the Passion of Jesus Christ His Son, as through the merits of the Virgin Mary and all the saints in order to obtain what he was asking. It was through their faith that he obtained what he asked.

Br Nicolò da Trevi

1541 [8282] I was in Assisi staying at the old friary that belonged to the friars (the present one was not yet built). Father Marco da Foligno, who at that time was Guardian of the old friary was there too when, by chance, Father Giovanni da Foligno, who was a preacher, arrived from Gubbio with Br Raniero and a certain Canon, named Domenico Colino, who belonged to Assisi. While we were having lunch the bells of San Ruffino rang out two strokes and Father Giovanni asked Br Raniero what were the bells saying. Br Raniero said that he did not know what they were saying. However, Br Giovanni said: “Br Raniero did you not hear that the bells said: “Little baby with curly hair how beautiful you are!” Br Raniero immediately got up from the table and stood there in ecstasy. He embraced Father Giovanni firmly for some time without saying anything. We felt both amazed and contrite.

Br Angelo da Castel San Pietro

1542 [8292] I remember how he showed great charity towards the poor. When he was doorkeeper and the poor came asking for alms, Br Raniero would gladly give something to each one of them. Once when we were talking confidentially, he told me that when he first became a friar he worked along with other friars at the Hospital for the Terminally Ill in Rome.

Within the friary he helped those who had special duties and, when it was necessary, he offered assistance to each one of them. I experienced this personally when I was working in the kitchen at Sant’Anna in Todi. Although he was old Br Raniero always helped me whenever I needed help. He willingly swept the house, washed the dishes and did things like that.

Some testimonies of the people

1543 [8312] As I have said, when Br Raniero came to Montecchio people followed him around saying that he was a saint and cutting off pieces of his habit. When he told Mr Guido that they should not cut so much as he would then return to the friary naked, Mr Guido replied: “Leave them alone because they are acting out of love and whoever does that will have a long life.” After that the people went ahead with cutting his habit. There was a tailor called Bartolomeo who lived in Marcellano who had cut a piece off with scissors. Out of devotion I have kept a good piece of it at home. I recall that the next morning he did not know that it had been cut off. The people were amazed and the people in Montecchio still talk about it.


San Serafino da Montegranaro (Ascoli Piceno) was born in 1640 and died in Ascoli Piceno on 12th October 1604 and was buried in the church of S. Maria in Solestà. He worked as a doorkeeper, as a cook and went out questing. He was beatified on 18th July 1792 and canonised by Clement XIII on 16th July 1767.

[I frati cappuccini III/2, 4787-4835]

Fr Girolamo da Ascoli

1545 [8331] I was present hundreds of times when different people, men and women, nobles and ordinary people, rich and poor, townspeople and people who lived in the countryside came to our Capuchin friary here in Ascoli to see and talk with Br Serafino regarding their problems, their worries and what they wanted to happen. They departed feeling very comforted because of the confidence they had in him as they regarded him as being a saint. Br Serafino gave each of them good spiritual advice and told them to be patient and to have faith and confidence in God. He also promised to pray to God for what they needed. He tried to console and help them spiritually in many ways. I know this because I went there when I was a lay person and saw what Br Serafino was doing.

Fr Angelo Alalco da Macerata

1545 [8334] He was always very humble and brushed off human praise. I know this because many people cut off pieces of his habit out of devotion and when he became aware of this it annoyed him but all that he would say was, “Treat it with love because it is the habit worn by St Francis”. This happened many times and I saw and heard it all.

1546 [8335] I know what I am saying because I heard it from Br Angelo da Cività Nuova, who was a man who lived a very holy life, who had been Master of novices for a long time and had practices all the virtues for a long time. I know it because of the spiritual conversations I had with him, that is Father Angelo who died a virgin just as he had come from his mother’s womb. When the three us, that is Father Angelo, Br Serafino and myself, lived in the friary in Civita Nuova and saw a great gathering of people gather around Br Serafino we asked how he had acquired such patience. He did not reply. In the end the father Guardian told him that he wanted to know all about it and that he should speak openly or he would command him to do so under holy obedience.

1547 [8336] Br Serafino told the story of how had been dismissed because he was too young to be a religious. he said that because he was a person who was incapable of doing any kind of work it was a wonder that he had been accepted into the Order and later admitted to profession.

1548 Sometime later he was dismissed from the noviciate and sent to where the professed friars lived where there was a guardian who tried to have everything proceed in an orderly fashion in the friary, in such a way that the lay brothers waited on the priests in conformity to what should be done in our institute. Br Serafino said that because he was not very proficient when he was asked to do anything he did not do it very well and so the Guardian imposed heavy penances and mortifications on him in addition to which the devil presented some specific temptations that caused him to become so anxious that he contemplated leaving the Order.

1548 One day he went into the church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and he bitterly complained to the Lord, “Lord, how many friars have seen how I live. If I was not ready for profession, they would not have admitted me. However, now that they have admitted my, why are they burdening me with so many penances?” While he was presenting these complaints, he heard a voice that came from the Blessed Sacrament that said: “Br Serafino, is this not the way that you ought to be serving me since I suffered so much for the redemption of the human race?” Br Serafino listened to the voice very carefully, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, he began thinking about what he was doing and resolved to overcome himself so that the next time he heard something that disturbed him he would say, as he should, this is a gift from the Madonna because he was very devoted to her.

1549 [8337] At first when he began to say this prayer, he found it difficult to obtain any inspiration from the Our Father or the Hail Mary, but eventually he was so moved that he felt that there never was a better prayer than this when someone hurt your feelings.

When he had been saying this prayer for some time, and was again praying before the Blessed Sacrament, he heard the same voice coming from the Blessed Sacrament once againz: “Br Serafino, now that you have conquered yourself out of love for Me and to mortify yourself, ask Me whatever you want and it will be granted.” Father Angelo told me this saying that Br Serafino himself had told him about it.

Fr Girolamo Amato da Macerata

1550 [8361] Br Serafino often told us about such things. I heard him speak on many occasions and I knew he was not talking like a madman who did not know what he was saying. I have special recollection of a night when each one of us students had delivered a sermon as was the custom in our Order, the Father Guardian, who at that time was Father Nicolὸ da Monte Rubbiano, commanded Br Serafino to go into the pulpit once again and deliver a sermon. He did not say anything like this to any lay brother except him. He did not want to do it but obeyed to do it in the end. For his topic he chose the psalm Qui habitat in adiutorio Altissimi and said so many beautiful things that both father Guardian and Father Cornelio da Recanati, who were educated men, were completely dumfounded. We students were even more astonished as to how he could reach such heights.

Br Serafino spent his whole life in giving glory to God while despising himself. Whatever he did made me understand what Your Lordship had told me about persecution. Perhaps this is so because we students often mortified him by using titles for him such as “hypocrite, ragamuffin, holy man, fake holy man”. Then he would immediately fall on his knees, hug and then kissed the feet of the one saying it, while saying “You little saint, may you be given a piece of white bread”. This is well-known.


He was born in Leonessa (Rieti) on 8h January 1556 and died in Amatrice on 4th February 1612. He was a preacher, promotor of charitable works, and a missionary in Constantinople amongst the Christian slaves who were being severely tortured by the Sultan. He was beatified on 22nd June 1737 and canonised by Benedict XIV on 29th June 1746.

[I frati cappuccini III/2, 4836-4940]

Fr Francesco da Leonessa

1552 [8399] I know that when he was thirty-three years of age Father Giuseppe went to Constantinople to die for Christ because, as he himself told me, this was the very age when Our Lord died for us. He tried to enter the Mosques to preach the faith and win the crown of martyrdom, but he was apprehended by the guards, kicked, punched and ill-treated.

What is more Father Giuseppe told me that he longed to die for the faith of Christ and to shed his blood and to preach the Gospel to the infidels and to win souls for God. I especially remember one occasion at the friary in Leonessa or Amatrice when he showed me his crucifix after he had come back from Constantinople and said to me: “How many souls has this crucifix brought back to God! When I showed it to people how many of them repented!”

1553 [8409] It was the sign of the salvation of the souls of those who were infidels or even obstinate heretics as well as a symbol of the sacrifice of the Mass and it predisposed people to be converted and saved.

When he was walking down the street in Strettura, in the Diocese of Spoleto, he met a leper and because he had nothing to give him, he asked me, Brother Francesco, to give him a drop of wine out of the flask that I was carrying. However, I had nothing to put the wine in and so I went to let him drink from the flask. He adjusted his cloak so that I could pout the wine into it and the leper could drink it from there. Miraculously the mantle became solid so that it could hold the wine.

He gave something to any poor people that he met when he saw that they were naked or suffering. When he came to a place, he went into the hospital first. He made the beds and cleaned up any mess.

1554 [8410] He also visited those who were in prison and went questing for them and pleaded for them with those who were in charge.

He arranged to be allowed to preach, for example at S. Giacomo in Spoleto and, during Holy Week, in Otricolo so that he could help travellers. He did so with great charity, washing their feet, tending to their sores, cutting their hair and doing all kinds of charitable things. I can say all this because either I saw it or one of his companions, such as Brother Matteo da Montefalco or Brother Bernardino da Norcia, told me about it and because it was publicly well-known.

He was very kind to those who were poor and, when possible, he even took what he could have eaten as well as whatever was left over in the kitchen to give it to poor people. He could not endure seeing them suffer and so he collected pieces of bread to give them to anyone who was poor.

Father Giuseppe very charitably personally undertook to bury the dead that he found in the street. He did this in Campello in Spoleto and in Montereale and Leonessa. He carried them on his shoulder when there was no other transport available. Brother Rufino dall’Amatrice told me about this and I saw it myself in Leonessa.

1555 [8411] He wanted to be allowed to preach where people had come together so that he could preach in many different places. He might preach more than seven or eight times a day. He usually preached three or four consecutive sermons between Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

If in one of the hospitals he came across someone who was at the point of death, he did not leave him but stayed until he died to make sure that he went to Confession and received Communion.

He took whatever food was left over in the friary as well as the food brought by the benefactors and gave it to those who were in prison. He urged them to be patient and asked those in charge to give them the food.

Other depositions for Francesco da Leonessa

[8427] He always took pity on those who were sick and in hospital. He brought them food and drink, cleaned up the place, made their bed even when their illness was contagious and atrocious. If in one of the hospitals he came across someone who was at the point of death he did not leave him but stayed until he died to make sure that he went to Confession and received Communion.

He would take what food he could from the friary and from benefactors to those in prison; he would exhort them to have patience and recommend that they be sent to their governors.

He was continually exercising pious works, serving the sick in the hospitals, and other places where he would find them, giving them to eat and drink, even though their illness might well be contagious and horrendous. If, in some hospital, he found someone who was dying, he would not leave them until they had died, assisting them to confess and take communion.

1556 [8428] When he had the chance, he also helped those who were on trial. On one occasion, amongst many, a man called Marco Attilio from Amatrica in Spoleto was before the court with his accomplices. Mario Martelli, who was present during the trial, told me that the priest stood near the bench comforting each of the accused with his crucifix in his hand, when it was time for Marco Attilio to be sentenced, he dropped his crucifix and took the big crucifix that the friars were carrying and blessed the surroundings making the sign of the cross. Afterwards Marco asked the priest why he had laid aside his crucifix and taken the one held by the friars. At first, he said nothing, but latter he said that he had seen many demons in the air who had come to snatch the man’s soul, but he had won the victory.

1557 [8429] Whenever he came across poor ragged beggars in the street, he gave them something or asked others to give them something either bread, wine or whatever they had. While he was preaching in S.Giacomo and Otricoli, where there were some poor beggars, he took them to the house where he was staying, and gave them something to eat and drink and he let them sleep in his bed, while he slept on a rough bundle of sticks or something like that.

He was also outstandingly obedient, to the extent that once he understood what the superior wanted, he would wait to be told, but even if it meant going into the danger of death, he would comply. I saw this when he was my subject and I heard the same thing in Narni from such as Brother Salvatore da Perugia and Father Francesco della Badia and others whose names that I cannot now remember.

Fr Ruggero da Cascia

1558 [8448] He carried out this charity both everywhere and tirelessly. He spoke in many places disseminating the word of God and was very zealous in giving honour to God and for the wellbeing of the souls redeemed with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, such that, being sent to preach for Lent in some place, he was never content with just one meeting with the people, but went about to all the places, both palaces and villages, many miles apart.

I often heard from his companions and others, both friars and seculars, what happened in other places. They said that he preached four, or six or more times a day from dawn to dark, without eating a bite. The fervour of charity relieved the toil of travelling over mountains, rocks and difficult conditions and made it easy to endure wandering through rain, fog and snow. His companion Brother Bernardino da Norcia told me that in order to preach in places in the mountains he had to travel in the worst weather conditions including snow, rain and slush. Many other also told me the same thing.

1559 [8449] The was so well-known in the Province that it became necessary to assign very fit companions to Father Giuseppe. They had to be able to endure what he could endure especial often not having anything to eat at night. His companions told me that he ate bread and drank wine with a few beans, either cooked or raw. However, he was as charitable and compassionate towards his companions as he was strict on himself. As I have said, I learnt all of this from his companions and many other people as well a from himself. It was common knowledge.

He showed heartfelt charity towards the poor and those who were sick. He welcomed them in Otricoli, S. Giacomo in Spoleto and in other places, washing their feet, attending to their wounds, providing food for some, and clothing for others.

1560 [8469] I only know that he received signs of the martyrs for his faith in Christ; I noticed that Father Felice had a scar on his hand but I do not know if it went from one side to the other. He had another on his heel that did go from one side to the other. Once when we were in Nera near the Villa Macenano, I asked him what caused the scar and he said that it was a wound and I did not ask him anymore.

It was common knowledge in the Province that Father Giuseppe had gone to Constantinople and that the scars had been caused in Constantinople where he had suffered for three days and almost martyred but subsequently set free by an angel, as the entire Province knows.

Br Taddeo da Amatrice

1561 [8481] Some people prepared a nice house for Father Giuseppe in Castello but he came to know that a woman who had been living there had been evicted. So, he did not go there but took a small place beside the church outside Castello. He did not want to sleep on a mattress and bed during Lent, so he placed some straw on the ground and slept there throughout the whole of Lent.

Many times, but especially on feasts, after he had preached in places called Grotti, he went to preach in all the castles and places that were within an hour’s journey. When it came time to preach, he wanted everything to be ready when he arrived so that he could leave quickly to go to other places.

He preached so many times during Holy Week that I have lost count. When we entered the villages, Father Giuseppe did not want to go to anybody’s house. If invited, instead we would return to the Grotti to eat, or eat what Father Giuseppe had told me to bring with us to feed the poor and we would eat this near a well. Father Giuseppe never wanted to eat special food, but was satisfied with plain food such as onions, melons or beans. He used to say to me: “What is the use of eating delicate food? As long as you fill the body with straw or hay that will do.”

1562 [8482] While he was at Verchiano, he went as usual to preach in nearby places. Once he wanted to go and preach in Camerino up in the mountains and we set out at night. When we had gone a short distance, it became so dark that Father Giuseppe said to me that if we could find a stable, we would stay there and rest for a while. At last, we found a house where we could rest for a while. In the morning Father Giuseppe began to preach in the first place that we entered and he continued doing this for the rest of the journey. Those who had heard him preach followed him like sheep to hear what he would say in other villages.

In Varchiano there were some poor people in the hospital and Father Giuseppe often went to see them and take them the food that had been given to us. I can remember how on one occasion among many similar occasions when he went to preach, he saw some pilgrims and he told me to give them something to eat, and I did this where we were staying while he was preaching.

1563 [8483] Likewise in order to help poor wayfarers and shepherds when the weather was bad in the mountains near Verchiano he started to build a chapel gathering rocks with the help of other. He planted a cross there so that the wayfarers and others would think about the Lord’s Passion when they saw it. When they saw the cross, they would know that they would be safe in the chapel.

In a village in Amatrice called Campotosto, he had a stone shelter built for poor people. In the beginning when I was his companion, I went collecting rocks for the project. It has since been enlarged and I know this because this year I accompanied the preacher who went there.

Fr Giovanni da Protte di Spoleto

1564 [8503] I am Brother Giovanni. I am a Capuchin priest. I am sixty-eight years of age. My Father was Pier Domenico Persechetti. My Mother was Sarca Marcichi da Campicello. I am a priest and regularly offer Mass every morning.

I know that Father Giuseppe was exceptionally charitable towards his neighbour and did everything he could for them by giving them both spiritual and material assistance even when he was not well or when it put him in a dangerous situation. I remember that when I was travelling with him from Leonessa to Montereale in1606 and had reached the village of Fano we met a group of about eight or ten bandits, some of whom were armed. Father Giuseppe put his hand on a crucifix that he was carrying, made the sign of the cross and called out: “Halt! Halt!” They said: “Get out of the way or we shall kill you.” In spite of this some of them stepped to one side and some to the other. He held the crucifix in his hand and ordered them to stop.

1565 [8504] Finally, after firing their weapons a few times without hurting anyone some of them went into a nearby ditch while others went to set fire to a house to burn everyone inside. Father told them not to do that and he made peace with them. He told the ones in the ditch to come out and he shook hands with them. I know that this is true because I was there the whole time.

When Father Giuseppe went between the two lines of armed men, I became frightened and I retreated on foot to where I could watch without being hurt. After that we continued on our way. I do not know who these bandits were, but I heard that they came from the Matrician family.

Br Francesco da Beda, Milanese

1566 [8607] I am Brother Francesco da Beda in the Diocese of Milan. I am about fifty years of age and I am a Capuchin lay brother who was called Francesco even while I was in the world. My Father was Giovanni Passari and my Mother Margherita Brenia. I went to Confession and received Communion at Easter as I do at least twice a week at our Friary at the Carcerelle in Assisi.

I remember that when I was staying in our friary of S. Nicolo di Agubio about twenty-two years ago when Father Provincial came on visitation accompanied by Father Giuseppe da Leonessa who went into the kitchen to wash the plates. I was in the kitchen at the time because I was the cook and when I saw that he would not leave I offered to help him. Because I knew that he had been in Constantinople I said it would be good if we could return there and he said that it was better that I exercise patience in the service of these fathers.

1567 [8508] When I asked him to tell me something about what he had suffered there, he said, “I suffered many things” and particularly that he had been hanged. I asked him how he had been set free. He blushed and said: “A little child set me free.” I asked who was that child. He replied: “Who do you think it was? It must have been Jesus Christ.” On his return to Italy, he was transported on a ship that belonged to a renegade Christian, who had not been discovered by the Turks but whom he could not convert. As we went along Father Giuseppe told me many things in confidence. He told me that he had been stabbed. I recall his saying that a nail had been driven through his foot. I did not ask him how this happened. I remember hearing other friars talk about this, but I cannot remember their names.

Fr Francesco da Bevagna

1568 [8509] My father was called Iacomo and my mother Ottavia and I am a Capuchin priest and preacher.

I know that Father Giuseppe did not want to be a superior. When we were companions in the Provincial Friary, he often told me that he did not want to be in charge of friars or be a Guardian. He also advised other friars to avoid being in authority because it was dangerous to be in control of others.

I know from personal experience what great love the servant of God had for the Almighty because I often witnessed how much effort he put into not only praying for sinners but into preaching and praising God to such an extent that sometimes he would preach more than four or five sermons in a day. Whereas other preachers were assigned to a pulpit, he was entrusted with an entire countryside. He was willing to go from one place to another even when this was difficult. He was not concerned with having to go through floods or to have to cross rivers. He was very anxious to preach especially on feast days. If the Guardian withheld permission, he would ask a second or third time. He only kept quite after he had been refused three times. He advised young preachers to do the same.

Other various testimonies of men, women, and diocesan priests

1569 [8541] I also know that he visited those who were in prison in an effort to comfort them and do what he could. Most of all, I remember that about thirty-three years ago Ferrante di Montereale was in prison in Leonessa after having been condemned to death for his crimes. Ferrante had absolutely no desire of being converted. He was hysterical and was calling on the devils in hell, blaspheming against God and the saints. Father Giuseppe heard about this and went to the prison and said to him’ “Ferrante, my brother, death is calling out to you.” He wanted to prepare him for a happy death by using a few well-chosen words. Whereas, as I just said, Ferrante had been obstinate previously, he became submissive, and he repented immediately without saying anything like he had been saying. He did not want Father Giuseppe to leave him on his own to be taken by the devil. I know this very well because I was present there, as his companion of mercy.

1570 [8546] He made no rash judgements about anybody. Everything would end well. He made excuses for everybody in a very charitable manner and comforted them when they were distressed. He never squabbled with anyone. He trusted everyone. To avoid doing anything wrong, he never complained but spoke well of everyone. If he heard his neighbour being criticised it upset him and he said: “Do not go into the vineyard of Bartolo, because it offends God.” I saw this many times and I understood what he meant to say. He turned away very modestly whenever he saw anything that displeased him and he could not correct it. He tried to set a good example for everyone, and I have heard him saying: “God is watching you, you should be careful,” or words like that.

1571 [8547] […] In that castle in a sermon on the feast of St Luke in 1611 he preached about the words of St Paul” Salutat vos Lucas medicus and took the opportunity of beginning to set up a refuge for poor people. It was made out of material that was collected by both of us. Since then, the place has grown so that it can provide for those who are sick and has room for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. I strongly recommend him to you because I feel more devoted to Father Giuseppe than ever before. He preached there and when the people remember how he always had a crucifix at his side and they were moved to tears.


He was born in Brindisi on 12nd July 1559 and died in Belém (Lisbon) on 22nd July 1619. He was a theologian, a preacher, multilinguist, Minister General, diplomat and military chaplain. He was Beatified on 1st June 1783 and canonised by Leo XIII on 8th December 1881 John XXIII declared him a Doctor of the Church in the Bull “Celstitudo” on 19th March 1959.

[I frati cappuccini III/2, 1491-5115]

Br Giammaria da Monteforte

1573 [8568] I want to tell you something amazing that happened when he said Mass in public. When he was in Naples he fell ill with gout. He could hardly move in bed and nobody could touch him without causing him to experience great pain. However, when he went to say Mass, which he always did even when he was suffering from gout or other things, he had himself carried to where he was to say Mass and, when he got to the altar, he stood up on his feet even though he supported himself on the altar. He took two or three hours to say Mass. This was not the only time he took so long to say Mass. It happened in Naples, Milan, Bassano and in other places where it was thought to be a miracle. People also saw it as a sign of the great devotion he had for the Mass. When later on he had recovered, his Mass might last for eight or ten hours. Once, on Christmas Day, it lasted for sixteen hours without him being interrupted by physical necessities.

Another deposition of Br Giammaria da Monteforte

1574 [8588] The last time that Father Brindisi went to Spain came about like this. He was in Caserta with an obedience to go to Brindisi. He was staying with the Duke of Bavaria who had built a new friary and church. While in Caserta he received a letter from the Guardian of Naples telling him to come back to Naples by order of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Cardinal Protector of the Order who wanted him back in Naples.

When he received this news, he turned to me as I was his companion and said: “I think that the Lord does not want me to go to Brindisi. I have been on the way now on two occasions and had to stop, so we will go to Naples.”

When we returned, we entered Naples about two o’clock in the morning to avoid meeting a lot of people. We went into our new friary and after he had received the blessing, he went to his cell. After a short time, the Guardian came and said that the most important people in Naples and the whole Kingdom had come to the friary wanting to speak with him about a very important matter. When Father Brindisi heard this, he was a bit worried, and he asked what they wanted. The Guardian replied that they wanted to speak to him and he knew why. Then Father Brindisi told the Guardian to bring them into the refectory and he would come there.

1575 [8589] Father Brindisi went into the refectory, and I went in with him. As we entered, we saw that about eighteen or twenty of the leading men in the Kingdom had gathered there. Finally, the Duke arrived and said that he had authorised the gathering to elect an ambassador to go to Spain.

They had come from all the cities in the Kingdom of Naples, from the first to the last, and they had come to elect an Ambassador for Spain and they elected Father Brindisi. He begged Father Brindisi to accept for the love and honour of God and the Blessed Virgin and not to abandon them because they were in danger of losing not only what they possessed but also their souls and then the Catholic faith would be lost throughout the Kingdom.

1576 [8590] When Father Brindisi saw and heard this, he began to take fright and make excuses, saying that he was old and frail, and he begged them to elect someone else. They insisted more strongly and began to cry affectionately so that the Father Guardian and some other friars, including myself, started to cry along with them. They presented Father Brindisi with an obedience in which the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Cardinal Protector commanded him to accept the assignment and go.

When Father Brindisi heard the command issued by the Cardinal Protector and saw the tears and the determination of those present, he gave in and, thinking that this was what God wanted he accepted the position and got ready to go. To overcome the difficulties and dangers he went to Geneva. The Guardian from Naples, another Capuchin priest, another Capuchin lay brother and I went with him.

Fr Bernardo da Napoli

1577 [8606] I know that while living as a religious Father Lorenzo da Brindisi always set a good example by living a holy life, teaching what was true doctrine and taking on all the duties that should be performed by an exemplary Capuchin priest. I knew that he had a keen mind and a fine memory and that he was conversant with almost the entire Bible not just in a general way but according to chapter and verse. He was very capable in handling doubts arising from reading Scripture. Furthermore, he knew many languages including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, German and others. I know this because of the discussion that I had with him and from hearing him preach when he explained what had been written in Scripture in Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic.

I have known Father Lorenzo since I was about twenty-two or twenty-three years of age and we have spent time together in different places at various times. He was my Father General and a model religious. I heard him preach a Lenten Course in this city in the church of Spirito Santo and I heard him explaining passages of Scripture that were written in these languages. When I spoke to him in friendly conversation, I discovered that he was able to do this.

1578 [8615] I know that when the Emperor was advancing, Father Lorenzo da Brindisi urged the Christian army to fight valiantly against the Turkish army. Holding a crucifix in his hand, he mounted a horse and he rode at the head of the Christian army and when the signal to begin battle sounded he made the sign of the cross several times towards the opposing forces. This stopped the missiles that came from the arquebuses, the artillery and the lightning bolts. One of them lodged in a horse’s saddle.

Father Lorenzo told me about this himself and when he was preaching in the church of Spirito Santo in Naples he said: “I know someone who is alive and speaking who by means of his great devotion to the most sacred sign of the cross and to the blessed Virgin was able to stop the missiles of the arquebuses, balls of fire and bolts of lightning from going beyond his horse to hit the Christian forces. What is a greater miracle, a large missile came to rest on the rim of the saddle of the horse he was riding. This man is alive and speaking to you. Although there was a greater number of Turks than Christians, the Turks fled with many being killed while the Christian army, which was smaller in number, stood firm, continued to fight and were miraculously victorious.”

1579 [8616] Everybody recognised that he spoke humble. He did the same within the Order. Those who accompanied the Emperor did not doubt this had been a miracle.

What is more, one day when Father Lorenzo was waiting to preach in the church of Santo Spirito in Naples, I met a mounted cavalcade of foreigners in Poggio Reale which I think had come from France. They asked if it was true that Father Brindisi had promised to come to preach in Naples during the coming Lent. I said that it was very true. They replied: “We want to be in Naples just to welcome this great holy man of God. “Father, he is not known here or in Naples. However, in Hungary, where the Emperor and army are, this man is reputed to be a saint, because he has done miraculous things and amazed the army just by making the sign of the cross”.

Deposition of Br Francesco da Valdobbiadene

1580 [8646] When Father Lorenzo da Brindisi became General he visited the entire Order on foot until the Order authorised him to ride a horse. In spite of this he wanted to continue to endure the hardships of fasting and going about in the frost and cold every day. He did this as a good prelate, a true servant of God who observed the Seraphic Rule fully. All the friars talked about this. I did not see it personally because he did not come to the Province of St Anthony where I was living at that time.

I did see large crowds of people, who thought that he lived a holy life and was a true servant of the Lord, coming to receive his blessing. Everyone showed him great respect and reverence. This took place in Mantova, Verona Montagnana and all along the roads and held up his progress because when his companion called him, he left his cell and, moved by great charity, humility, and patience, he went into the church and blessed everybody. He did the same thing all along the way. I saw all of this when I was in those places for thirteen years and went along the road between Montagnana and Este.

1581 [8647] I lived in the fraternity at Mantova when Father Lorenzo da Brindisi preached to the Jews on Saturdays. I went to some of the sermons that he preached in that church and there was a good crowd in attendance. I noticed that he brought a few Hebrew books with him into the pulpit. And that he was reading Scripture from these books. The Jews were very attentive while he was reading Scripture in their language. In doing so he was proclaiming the Scripture very profoundly. He emphasised the coming of the Messiah and the false hope that they placed on their interpretations and indicated the many lies that were contained their texts.

He also proclaimed the Sacred scripture in Latin and in the vernacular so that everyone could understand the malice of the Jews who were there in large numbers. He did not treat them roughly but kindly and making use of the wisdom of Scripture he tried to cure their blindness. When I was in the rooms in the palace when Father Lorenzo was there, some of the Jews came to thank him for treating them so kindly but they had to leave the city and unfortunately could not attend his sermons. That was about thirteen years ago.

Deposition of Fr Arsenio da Venezia

1582 [8670] I did not know Father when I was young because he had entered the Order three years before I did. However, in the first years that I knew him in the Order he was very weak, quite sick, and therefore had many spots cauterised and it was though that he would possibly develop consumption. Nonetheless he was never frightened by the austerity of the Order but remained steady and persistent. When he was sick and suffered severely, he showed great patience and never complained. On a couple of times, I heard him say: “Oh dear me!” He always displayed great strength and resolve in controlling and curbing his passions and in continuing to be gentle and cheerful. I know all of this because, as I have said already, I saw what he did and was his friend.

Deposition of Fr Alberto Rollini da Novara

1583 [8675] When I was in Germany as the companion of Reverend Father Giacinto Natta da Casale, who was a Capuchin priest and Apostolic Preacher, and who, while he was alive, worked for the Catholic League of Germany, I heard many Princes say that the greatest promotor of the League was Father Brindisi who worked tirelessly out of zeal for the upkeep and preservation of the Catholic faith. Whatever happened Father Brindisi placed all his hope and trust in God.

Deposition of Fr Francesco Tornielli da Novara

1584 [8693] He went about like this through many parts of the world such as Germany, Spain and Italy, meeting with the Pope, political leaders, leaders in the Catholic Church and other Princes. During his travels I lived in our friary in Milan while he was going back and forth.

I know that with the help of the grace of God Father Brindisi did and said so much that the Holy See, the leaders I have mentioned, both political and Catholic andn the Prince of Bavaria were coaxed to do a lot for the maintenance and spread of the Catholic faith and the support of the Catholic League which produces a host of good results for the Empire and for Germany as is evident today.

Deposition of Br Gaspare Gasparotti da Cassano d’Adda

1585 [8707] When he was General the first thing that did during the day was to be silent while the rest of us attended to our devotional practices. When this had gone on for a while, the father General would begin to speak so eloquently about God or Scared Scripture that I thought that he must have committed it all to memory as if it were the Pater noster. What he said inspired all of us.

When he was discussing these things, he often spoke in Hebrew in which he was quite proficient. When he was in Toulouse in France and saw something written in Hebrew, he asked who had written it and when he found out that it was one of the friars who was a student had done this, he called the friar and showed how much he appreciated it.

[8708] One of his duties was that when the students had completed their studies and were ready, he had to approve them becoming preachers so that they would maintain and propagate the Catholic faith and foster the salvation of souls. I remember that at the time of the visitation and Provincial Chapter in Barcelona there were some students who were ready to become preachers and he examined them. During these exams he displayed such knowledge that he was said to be a second St Thomas.

1586 [8712] Whenever Father saw someone who was sick or distressed, he intervened generously and gave them as much help and comfort as he could. I experienced this myself when I fell sick in Calabria and Sicilia. Father could not tolerate cruelty. A person may have done wrong, but he saw there was a difference between the person and his fault. He hated vice and when the occasion arose, he would hand out a strong reprimand. However, he would be kind and merciful towards the offender trying to make him detest what he had done and to love God above all else.

1587 [8722] He was strongly opposed to elegant buildings, and he punished anyone who had them built giving orders that anything that was contrary to poverty should be removed. I remember hearing him say when he was Provincial that nothing other than what was necessary should be brought into a cell. In one friary he forbade anything which he did not consider to be necessary to be placed in a cell. After he left a certain friar did not comply with this. The next time he came to that friary and saw that a certain friar, now deceased, had disobeyed his command and he said: “Remove this rubbish before I set fire to it.”

Deposition of Fr Remigio da Bazzolo

1588 [8732] He was very devoted to the Mass and never missed out on saying it either because he was not well or for any other reason. When I was with him in Monaco and the joints in his hands and feet were affected with gout, he still wanted to say Mass. We had to take him to the back of the chapel so that he could perform his devotions an say Mass away from the other friars. We had to first remove the bandages from his hands and when he put on the vestments to say Mass, he stood up but could still hardly move away from the couch. He would spend two or three hours at a time at the altar remaining more or less on his feet. After Mass he was not able to stand any longer and had to be placed on a chair in his cell.

Deposition of Fr Ambrogio da Firenze

1589 [8761] On another occasion when we were crossing a bridge to visit Maria di Pernestain, who had invited some heretical baronesses to her place so that Father could instruct them about the Catholic faith, as he often did for Barons and others, when the occasion presented itself, when we got to the middle of the bridge, we encountered five or six villains, who grabbed Father by the beard, with one of them, assisted by some of the others, knocking him to the ground and kicking him. One of them grabbed my hood to do the same thing to me, but I was stronger and he could do nothing. I spoke to them strongly telling them to leave the poor Father alone.

While this was going on the nephew of Nuncio Spinelli, who was on his way to the Jesuit school with a couple of his followers, arrived at the other side of the bridge. On of them called out: “Signor Giovanni Battista, they are killing the Father!” Putting swords in the hands of his followers, whose names I do not know, he began to run and the villains fled and we escaped from danger. I helped the priest to get up. The men asked him if he had been hurt. He replied: “Ah yes, they simply hurt me!”

1590 [8762] When it was time for Carnivale the Father received a letter from Vienna in which it said that the poor friars who lived there were very worried and anxious because at two or three o’clock in the morning some pellets had been fired through some of the windows. One night all the friars were sitting around a small table studying German when they were sprayed with pellets and if God had not made Brother Giulio da Venezia jump up suddenly, the pellets would have gone through his head from one said to the other.

When Father heard this, in accord with his usual charity, Father immediately decided to go to Vienna even though it was a long way, there might be deep snow and he was not sure of the road. Nevertheless, he could not be dissuaded from going to comfort those poor friars. When he asked us what we thought we said to him that if he went he would die and compromise all the good that he could continue to do: “Father, you could write them a letter and console them, or, perhaps go a bit later when the weather has improved.” That is what he did.


He was born in Tzazo (Valacchia) on 29th June 1556 and died at Torre del Greco on 3rd March 1623. He was an outstanding nurse in the infirmary of S. Eframo Nuovo in Naples for forty years. His cause was introduced in 1627 and he was beatified on 30th October 1983.

[I frati cappuccini III/2. 5115-5195]

Br Paolo d’Arienzo

1591 [8832] When he was about nineteen years of age, he was inspired when he heard his mother say that genuine Christians lived in Italy where the Pope was God’s representative on earth. She had much to say about the glory of heaven that awaited good Christians and the severe pains of hell that and been prepared for those who did what was wrong. Therefore, because he was terrified by what she said about the pains of hell, he resolved to do whatever he could to avoid them and to go to Italy where the good Christians were living. First, he told his mother about what he intended to do and obtained her permission and collected many character references that stated that he lived a good way of life, since it is useless to claim to be a good Christian unless you live a Christian way of life.

He then left for Italy with no more than two gold coins to cover his expenses. Because these were soon spent, he was reduced to begging for alms along the way or doing some work if he could find it so that he could manage to keep on going. At last, after enduring all these hardships, he reached Bari where he spent some time observing how Christians lived in Italy which did not seem to be the way his mother had described it. He thought about going back home and started to look for a ship. However, an old man came up to him and said: “Giovanni, where are you going?” He replied: “I am going back home, because I have not found the good Christians that I was told lived in Italy.” The old man replied: “I suggest that you go to Naples, Rome and the Casa Santa in Loreto.”

1593 [8833] Brother Geremia himself told me that the old man must have been sent by God to tell him to make that journey because when he turned around, he could not see the old man anywhere in the big square where he had met him. He immediately followed the old man’s advice and set out for Naples. He told me that he had decided to enter the first religious order that he met there.

When he arrived in Naples, he met the Capuchins. Being impressed by their habit and their behaviour, he approached the superiors and resolutely asked to receive our habit. He was invested and did his noviciate in Sessa where he spent most of his life after his profession living a way of life that edified everyone in the Order and won him the reputation of being a saint. What I have said about him I picked up in different places and at different times, in private and in public when many people were present.

1594 [8838] In order to be of greater service to the friars who were not well and to care for them more fully, he lived in a cell that was close to them in order to be able to hear them day and night. When they called out or needed something he would sometimes sleep in their cell so that he could easily help them more quickly.

Among other things I know that he helped Father Basilio da Giffuni whose hands and feet were ravaged by gout that was so severe that was unable to move or feed himself. Because of this Brother Geremia fed him and made him comfortable in bed when necessary and because his stomach was also badly affected, he brough him a little fermented wine. Because this was often not available when questing, when Brother Geremia left the friary, he took a small flask with him and this upset those who were questing and they told him that this would spoil the quest by causing those who were regulars to be concerned and make them think that should give more. He took no notice of this but went ahead with his act of charity and took the flask even though they called him a bandit. When he took it to the sick man, he made fun of it: “Watch out a bandit has come. The questors though this was just a great big stunt.”

Br Vincenzo da Ragusa

1595 [8852] He used to say that what we do is of no value unless it is based on the merits and blood of Christ and His most pure Mother. We shall never be cheated because, having left father, mother, and homeland, we place our hope in our Lord who has provided us with the means of promoting the salvation of our soul. He said all this with a smile on his face that thrilled everyone. He always seemed to have a happy expression on his face and show great confidence in God our great Father, Lord, and Saviour.

I have experienced this many times, because I felt myself raised to the love of God, and having gone with him many times outside the convent under holy obedience to visit the sick, when he entered some house of the refined secular people, or others, even if they were of distinguished religious, as Br Jeremiah would arrive, everyone would get up and take note of the simple words of Br Geremia, listening with amazement, and with such simplicity he would give encouragement to the sick to confide in our Lord, who experiencing the fruit of his words, felt comfort and relief in their pain.

1596 [8871] When he was asked to say something about devotional practices or prayer, he always said that we should recite the Pater noster and the Ave Maria devoutly because the seven petitions in the Pater noster cover everything that the soul or the body might need. Indeed, we cannot do any better because this is what Christ taught. There were times when he was speaking about the words Pater noster qui es in coelis and said that he was amazed that they contained everything. He said that our Lord had kept it short for us so that we could repeat it many times. He said that the Ave Maria had been composed by an angel and he kept repeating Dominus tecum.

1597 [8874] Brother Geremia told me that when he was young, he used to take care of his father’s animals, and that during Lent when his young friends were drinking dairy products, he would not drink milk and would only eat dry bread. The others said that he was just being stubborn when he did that. A priest sprang to his defence and said: “If you knew how much merit you gain when even though you could eat dairy products, you abstain for the love of God, you would not be talking like that.” He was encouraged by what the priest said. In addition to what I have said above, he fasted out of devotion to Saints Peter and Paul and did other Lenten penances that his mother had suggested.

During the space of time that I knew Brother Geremia when he lived with us and even before I took the habit, I know that he fasted throughout Lent as well as during the periods of fasting that St Francis observed. This would mean that he fasted for most of the year eating only bread, herbs, and beans. He often ate bread that he could have been fed to the animals. When he was younger, he ate raw herbs. As he got older, they affected his stomach, the gout on his feet and because of this he ate the rind of the corn which he said gave him more strength.

1598 [8875] I saw these things myself. Sometimes we came home late and exhausted, and he could not find anything in the kitchen. On these extraordinary Lenten days, he made up a sprig of herbs or just ate some bread and drank some wine so happily that he said that not even the Emperor was as well-fed. Sometimes he ate some small fish.

Outside of Lent he ate a small amount at night. He never ate meat except on some solemn feasts, during Carnivale or now and again. I would then hear him complaining that it hurt his stomach. He relished eating unpeeled beans. When the friars saw him taking it to the infirmary, they knew how much the sick friars enjoyed it. They would taste a bit and say that God had made it that tasty. Actually, he was a very abstemious man and yet he was very happy. This was well-known not only to all the friars but to seculars as well.

1599 [8876] Brother Geremia told me and many others how when his father saw him looking at the birds flying up into the air he said: “Can you see how the birds are flying? This is how monks go to heaven.” From then on, he wanted to become a monk. He also told me that when he was a child, he had met an old man whom he had never seen before and, after the man had looked at him for a little while he said: “You should go to a distant place about midday. Go quickly because you must serve a great man and you will be well-paid.” He told me that that was why he left his country and came to Italy without saying anything to anybody.

Br Placido piemontese

1600 [8901] Although since he died there have been many good friars who follow his example and practice the same charitable works, is it possible for them to be like Brother Geremia? We have often wept as though we were weeping for our mother. I know this because I lived with him in the friary of the Immaculate Conception and saw it with my own eyes as something that was well-known to all the friars.

When, as an act of charity, and in obedience to a command from his superior, he was going to the Torre del Greco, which is about eight miles from Naples, to visit Don Giovanni d’Avalos, both he and Brother Pacifico da Salerno fell ill. Because of the severe weather and cold and windy conditions he was overcome by fever and died. As I see it, his soul passed on to enjoy the fruits of his extraordinary charity. This happened towards the end of February or the beginning of March 1625.

Br Francesco da Tursi

1601 [8908] I was with him one time and we went to the Torre del Greco to the house of the Prince of Stigliano and the Princess was there too. She asked Brother Geremia about what the soul was made of. He replied that it was invisible, could not be touched and was spiritual just like the memory, the intellect, and the will. The Princess replied, “I know this, but I want to know something about how to form a concept or image of it so that I may understand it more clearly.” Brother Geremia replied, “Your Excellency, can you see the air. What colour is it?” The Princess replied, “It does not have any colour.” “Your Excellency, see if you can pick a branch of it.” The Princess replied, “If it is air, how can you pick a branch from it?” Brother Geremia replied, “If the air which is something that is real cannot yield a branch and has no colour what is the problem with this being the same for the soul which is something spiritual that is invisible and untouchable?” The Prince got up and said, “St Thomas could not have given a better answer to the Princess.”

Once when I was in the cloister of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, I saw Brother Geremia looking up to heaven saying: “Oh, how wonderful God is!” I asked what did he mean and he said “I am amazed that God has made the eye strong enough to see the eighth domain of the universe. Indeed, we would not have been able to see the empyrean heavens if God had not made them crystal clear. He did this to make our hearts want to see more and to go to heaven.”

Fr Francesco Severini da Napoli

1602 [8941] Brother Geremia had great confidence in God’s kindness and the compassion of the Blessed Virgin, whom he invoked most tenderly as “Mammarella nostra.” I heard him say this myself. He was continually exhorting others to have as much confidence as he had. When I was very worried, I tried to lift myself up by doing this. I noticed that he was always cheerful and had a smile on his face and I realised that these qualities were the result of his having hope and trust based on his convictions about God’s kindness. Everyone who met with him felt consoled.


He was born in Urbino on 13th September 1560 and died in Fossombrone on 30th April 1625. He was a zealous popular preacher and a great penitent. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on 10th February 1867.

[I frati cappuccini III/2, 5196-5223]

Life, death, and miracles of the very reverend Fr Benedetto Passionei da Urbino, Capuchin preacher

1604 [8973] Before he took his vows, he made out his Last Will and Testament in which he bequeathed a great part of what he had to the poor. He would gladly have left it all to the poor but he saw that his family needed something and in view of this he held something back. His brother complained about this and said he had gone too far. He replied that it was his duty to leave everything for the love of God and that he had left them just a small amount.

1605 [8976] He willingly went out questing. When he was Guardian, he went out about once a month. When Cargli told him that it was too much for him he replied that it was better to carry the weight of the bread than to carry the weight of sin. When he stopped somewhere, his companion, who was a young lay brother, would say to him “Father let us keep on going.” He would immediately put the sack on his shoulder without saying anything. Lay people often saw this and were greatly edified.

1606 [8984] Where nobody recognised them, he told his companion not to tell anybody that he was a Guardian both in order to avoid being shown esteem and so that the people would not think that he was a very spiritual person because he was doing this. He swept the house, and when it was time, he opened the doors and the windows of the church in the morning and helped with everything as if he were a simple lay brother.

This good Priest showed so much simplicity of heart that it seemed that he wore his heart on his sleeve. He would only talk about what had happened. He kept away from all gossip and duplicity. He did not believe that others were not acting properly for he though that everyone was a saint and beyond suspicion. When he observed something, he made excuses for what had happened.

When Father Clemente da Noto was General and had spoken with him, he said that he found him to be like St Bernard, and that what had impressed him was that he appeared to be as simple as a dove. Certainly, this was what was so extraordinary about him. It showed his purity of heart and lucidity of conscience.

He was kind to everybody. He did so much for everyone, lay brother and cleric. He had special reverence for superiors and those who were living holy lives. He was very thankful for even the smallest thing that was given to him. He never forgot about this and would cease every opportunity to show his gratitude and to thank the one who had done him a favour or those who were benefactors to the Order. Because of this we can see how thankful he was to God and how he thanked Him continually for all His gifts. In doing this he became worthy to receive more gifts.

1607 [8985] He showed great charity towards his neighbour, especially those who were sick, including the ones who were in religious life and those who lived in the world outside the friary, and he was happy to visit them. When he became superior, he did not neglect to provide for them with paternal care even personally attending to their needs, even if vile and revolting.

He was very charitable towards the poor, especially those who were old and destitute and tried to give them everything that was necessary. During Lent he told his companion not to send anyone away without giving them something and if there was nothing in the friary to at least give them a bit of something. When someone came to him and was in extreme need, such as someone who had been born well-off but who had fallen on bad times, if he could not assist them personally, he sent them to the friars with letters of recommendation.

When one of the brothers died, as well as offering Mass, as is laid down in our Constitutions, he also recited the three nocturns for the dead as soon as he received the news. When a friar did something wrong, missing out on the litany, or omitting the name of one of the saints, or not saying Mass he admonished him using fraternal correction or by giving good example. He did the same for priests and other religious when they did not wear clean vestments when celebrating the sacred mysteries.

1608 [8988] His life was one of continual prayer because, outside of the two hours that was common to all the friars, he always got up at least one hour before the others during the night, often it was two hours; then he would return to rest for half an hour or a little more, then immediately return to the church which he said way our vineyard, and then would remain there until the beginning of common prayers, preparing himself to say the Mass. After which he would return to the place of saying the office and remain there until all the Masses were finished.

[8990] He was very devoted to the crucifix and therefore every time he passed the cross at the top of the stairs he kissed it, especially the feet. He did the same thing during the day to the pictures of the Blessed Virgin that he had in his breviary.


Venerable Francesco was born in Berbenno (Bergamo) in 1536 and died in Rome on 2nd October 1626. He was Master of Novices and a very charitable and austere man. His cause was introduced on 24th September 1785.

[I frati cappuccini III/ 2, 5223-5272]

Autobiographical notes of the “old Father”

1610 [9008] Very Reverend Father Salvatore da Todi, the Provincial of Rome, commanded me, Father Francesco, a Capuchin priest, to provide a detailed account of my life including events that took place in the world as well as what happened after I entered religious life. In obedience to his command and as a child complies with holy obedience, I reluctantly submit what follows.

I was born in Bergamo in Val di Magna in 1536. I was baptised in the Parish Church of Sant’Antonio and called Gioan Francesco. My father was Pietro Passeri and my mother Felicita both of whom came from the same place. I lived there for thirteen years learning how to read and write. Later my father took me to Ancon where I worked as a baker and helped with the business until 1557. Later my older brother, who had a business in Rome, asked me to come and help him and accepting the opportunity of coming to Rome. I left without my father’s consent and ran the risk of falling into bad company.

1611 [9009] When I arrived in Rome and found my brother living a spiritual life and going to Confession to Blessed Filippo in the Chiesa Nuova, receiving Communion a few times a week and setting an example by living a good life, I wanted to imitate him, and I started to go to Blessed Filippo for Confession and placed myself under his guidance.

At that time, because I felt that I was being called to the Capuchin Order, I asked that holy priest to help me and told him what I wanted to do. He told me that it was not the Order for me and that I would never persevere. He suggested other Orders that were not so strict. However, I was not inclined to do anything but to join the Capuchins.

I began visiting the Capuchin friary and talking with the fathers. They said the same thing and told me that I did not have the right temperament to endure this kind of life.

1612 [9010] At last, when I had reached the age of thirty-one and Father Filippo could see that I still wanted to follow this vocation, he arranged with Father Tomasso da Castello, who was the General, and Father Francesco da Napoli, who was the Provincial, to accept me and I was invested at Tivoli, where Father Tolomeo da Crema was Guardian, on 17th March 1560. During the year of noviciate, I suffered a great temptation to become a lay brother because I thought that I was not capable of being a priest. I often spoke about this to the Guardian, but he did not agree and he told me that if I continued to talk like that, he would hand me my clothes and dismiss me. The temptation then went away.

When my noviciate finished, I made my profession on the seventeenth day of the following year. After the Chapter I was sent to Rieti where I lived for a year and a half. During this time, I received Minor Orders and was given the Book of the Epistles, and seven years later I was given the Gospels at Aquila. I was ordained five years later.

1613 [9011] I then received an obedience to go to Rome during the reign of Pio V and I went to the friary at Aspra. I was elected as discrete for that community to represent the community at the Chapter where I was appointed Guardian of Monte S. Giovanni. It was while I was here that there was a famine that lasted for two years between 1570 and 1571 and we had to eat bread made from acorn and chew herbs because we could not buy wheat. Because of the way that the poor people were suffering I ordered that all the bread that was in the house should be cut into four pieces and one piece given to whoever came asking for alms. It seemed to me that we gave away more bread than had come into the house because the questors did not gather much whereas we were giving away a great deal.

One evening someone came to me and said: “Father, the friars are complaining about you.” I said, “what are they complaining about?” He said: “They are complaining about you giving away too much bread at the door and that there is nothing left for them.” I asked him whether there was enough bread for tomorrow morning. He replied, “I do not think so. I do not think that there will be enough.” When I went into the kitchen, I saw that there was plenty of bread and I said to him: “Why are you complaining when there is so much bread?” He replied, “Father, when I spoke to you there was not this much bread.” The friar was Br Francesco da Pipero and he thought that such a quantity of bread had been multiplied by means of a miracle.

1614 [9012] After I left Monte, I was appointed Guardian at Anticoli for a year. After that the friars put me in charge of the places where the professed friars and the novices lived. In 1581 I was made confessor to nuns in Rome for five years, and nuns in Siena for three years.

Once, when I was Guardian where there were novices, I decided to step outside the friary and mortify myself and the novices joined me at a place where there was a rock as big as a man. A pair of novices took turns to shift it from where it was. I saw that they had done what they could and were about to fall over. I had doubts about them crossing a field of wheat where the grain was ripe because this could cause damage. I went over and put my hand on the rock to stop them and because it had begun to lean to one side I fell over and the rock came down on top of me. I thought that I had been hurt but by the grace of God I suffered no injury.

1615 [9013] When Father Desiderio from Piemonte was Guardian at Subiaco there was a vine on the path to the well that needed to be cut. Because it was high, I got up on a ladder to cut it. I had cut a big piece, but it had not fallen down. The thought crossed my mind to go and see what the Guardian was doing with the novices. I set off and in less than the time it would take to say the De profundis the whole vine came down, smashing the ladder and doing a lot of damage. It was the Lord who put that idea of moving into my mind so that I would not be injured.

While I was presiding over Isola Bisentina, Venanzio Fabro asked me to go to see his son who was very sick and on the verge of death at Cape di Monte. I went, saw him and gave him a little hug because he was small. The child recovered so quickly that Venanzio and his wife began to say that he had been dead, and I had brought him back to life. This was not true because I had spoken to him and played with him, he was alive not dead. He died a few weeks later.

1616 [9014] At Scandriglia the daughter-in-law of the Captain had something wrong with her eyes and he asked me to make the sign of the cross over her. He told me that she had been cured. At Genazzano the Captain’s granddaughter who was possessed had one of my rosaries. They told me that while she had it with her, she felt well but after she lost it, she went down. When she got another rosary, she was just as good as before. I do not know whether this is true or not.

Many times, in many places, many people asked me to make the sign of the cross over many people who were sick. When they insisted, I did this saying: “I am making the sign of the cross over you, may God cure you.” Many people told me that God had answered that pray and, in his mercy, and not because of my merits, He cured sicknesses such as tuberculosis. I have a thousand imperfections and defects.

1617 [9015] As I was leaving Gallicando to return to Penestrina a woman came up behind me and asked me to stop and wait for her. When she caught up with me, she threw herself down on her knees and asked me to make the sign of the cross over her nose which was causing her to suffer. I made the sign of the cross after refusing her a few times. I had four men with me whom I think were relatives of Father Francesco da Gallicano. Later on, they told me that the woman had been cured and that she had had cancer.

In addition to the places that I have mentioned I was also Guardian at Piperno for a year, spent two years in the old place at Rieti with the novices and lived two years in the new place, two years with novices in Aspra, three years with novices in Palanzana, two years with novices in Penestrina as well as two more years with the professed, two years with novices in Anagni, one year with novices and one with the professed in Subiaco, one year in Orvieto, one in Viterbo, one in Ronciglione, two in Civita Castellana, one in Civita Ducale, two in Scandriglia, five years in Rome as confessor to nuns and three years and three months in Siena as confessor to nuns.

I Father Francesco from Bergamo confirm what was said above.

I Father Francesco da Caroineto, the current Guardian in the friary at Penestrina, wrote what was said above de verbo ad verbum transcribing what Father Francesco from Bergamo dictated to me etc.

Fr Salvatore da Todi

1618 [9060] I heard that that during the Provincial Chapters that took place every year, when the friars asked him about the novices, over whom he was usually Guardian and Master of Novices, that he always responded with a smile, “They are all going better than me.” I heard this from Father Antonio da Felmi, who is the Vicar of our friary in Rome.

He displayed great humility by dressing in a poor and cheap manner, by performing the humble tasks that he undertook, by doing the washing up, going questing, digging the garden and so on. In all of this he was an elderly Guardian who was deeply respected for his holy way of life. Many of the friars who lived with him, especially Father Antonio a Bergamo, told me this.

Moved by such a widespread judgement, when I was Provincial, I thought it only right to place him under obedience to write down the most outstanding moments in his life from the time that he became a religious and include the most important things that happened to him while he has been living as a religious. He did this in a document that was written by Father Francesco da Carpineto who was his Guardian in Palestrina and countersigned by Father Francesco in his own hand. I gave this document to the Provincial.

Br Girolamo da Scandriglia

1619 [9062] I knew Father Francesco da Bergamo. I met him for the first time in Bagnaia when he was Guardian there and I was a member of the fraternity. He went out questing even though he was ninety-one and there was a raging famine. He did not trust me to follow his instruction to give alms to everyone because things were so scarce, so he took me aside and said: “Do not lose heart, keep on giving alms, as a I told you, and God will provide.”

Every morning he ordered that a large receptacle be filled with beans and parsleys to give to the poor about a hundred of whom came to the door each morning. He also gave a piece of bread to the poorest of them. He did this during the entire winter. One morning I told him that there was no bread. He said: “Do not lose heart, God will provide.” When it was time to eat, someone arrived with a donkey who was carrying a sack of common bread. I do not remember who sent it but there was enough to supply what was needed.

1620 [9063] I can say that in the place where I spent three years while he was Guardian people continued coming to call on him for what they needed and because they were sick. Every one of them left feeling consoled and feeling that they had received some grace. I called him continually, but he told me not to call so often. I replied: “Father, I cannot stop being the ambassador for what they need.”

Another time when I had been a member of the fraternity at Scandriglia for ten years or longer as Guardian, when I was out in the country gathering supplies and some rocks for the friary, Father told me to go up the mountain to gather rocks. When I had some, I tried to send them down gradually so as not to hurt Father. I picked up a big rock that two men could not have carried, and it slipped out of my hands.

1621 [9064] I told the priest to be careful because the rock was coming towards him. He lifted up both of his hands and said: “Where do you think you are going? Stop where you are.” The rock stopped on its own in a steep place where it should not have been able to stop but should have fallen to the bottom of the mountain as the others did. I heard what the priest said and I saw it all with my own eyes. I was amazed and I said: “Elderly Father, you have escaped from what was very dangerous.” He laughed and told me not to tell anyone. I have done this until he died, and I was summoned here to tell all that I knew about this priest.

Two other friars were there at the time, Brother Vittorio Milanese, who was a bricklayer, and another one whom I cannot remember. They saw it, but, like me, were forbidden to speak about it.