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St Joseph Cafasso


St Joseph Cafasso, who we celebrate on 23rd June, has a special place in the Salesian Family, as the mentor, spiritual director and friend of Don Bosco. We celebrate his memorial on 23rd June.

Born in Piedmont, Italy, into a devout peasant family that valued education, he bore the discomfort of a spinal deformity, and became an outstanding scholar and respected teacher and seminary director.

After his ordination in 1833, he continued his studies and became a renowned lecturer in moral theology at the university in Turin, and the Institute of St Francis of Assisi, where he later became rector. He was a popular teacher and spiritual director, who ministered to prisoners and worked to improve the terrible conditions they lived under. The comfort he gave to condemned prisoners earned him the title "The Priest of the Gallows".

He formed a close friendship with Don Bosco, supporting and encouraging him in his vocation to care for the street boys of Turin, and advising him in setting up the early Salesian foundations.

He died on 23rd June 1860, and was canonised in 1947 by Pope Pius XII, who later offered him offered him as an example to priests in their work as confessors and spiritual directors. He is patron of Italian prisons, prison chaplains, prisoners and those condemned to death.


Read more about him


Last modified on Tuesday, 05 June 2018 11:52


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