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Blessed Artemide Zatti (1880-1951)

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Artemide Zatti was born in Boretto (Reggio Emilia) on 12th October 1880. He experienced difficulties and sacrifices from an early date. By the age of nine he was already earning his living as a day labourer. Poverty forced his family to emigrate to Bahía Blanca, Argentina. Here Artemide began to attend the parish run by the Salesians and developed great confidence in the Parish Priest, Fr Carlo Cavalli.

Advised to become a Salesian, he was accepted as an aspirant by Monsignor Cagliero and, at the age of 23, entered the house of Bernal. Among other things he was entrusted with the care of a young priest who was suffering from tuberculosis. Artemide caught the disease. He was sent to the hospital of San José. While he was there the priest and doctor Fr Evarisio Garrone kept a special eye on him.

With Fr Garrone he asked for the grace of a cure from Mary Help of Christians. On his part he promised to dedicate his whole life to the care of the sick. He was cured and kept his promise.

At first he looked after the hospital Pharmacy. After the death of Fr Garrone, he was totally responsible for the hospital, which became the scene of his holiness. He was totally devoted to his patients.

Someone described his day as follows: "At 4.30 he is already up. Meditation and Mass. Visit to all the wards. Then, on his bicycle, he visits the sick scattered throughout the city. After dinner he shares an enthusiastic game of bowls with the convalescents. From 2 until 6pm he visits the sick again, in and outside the hospital. Until 8 pm he works in the pharmacy. Back to the wards again. Study and ascetical reading until 11pm. Then to bed, ever ready for any call."

In 1913 he directed the building of a new hospital, which, to his great disappointment, was demolished in 1941 to make room for the episcopal residence for the new diocese of Viedma.

In 1950 a fall from a stairs forced him to retire. A few months later he showed symptoms of cancer. He died on March 15th 1951 and his remains lie in the Salesian Chapel of Viedma. John Paul II beatified him on April 14th 2002 in Rome.

Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:35

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