Antonio Maria Gianelli


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St Columbanus (c. 543—615) missionary and monastic founder


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bishop of Bobbio, founder of the Missioners of St Alphonsus. Born in Cereta (eastern Liguria) of a middle-class family, he was specially intelligent and industrious. Consequently he was sponsored by a benefactress for his education at the seminary at Genoa. He was ordained priest in 1812. Notable for his educational work, he became in turn parish priest and archpriest of Chiavari (1826), as well as a preacher and confessor in great demand. In 1827 he founded the Missioners of St Alphonsus and in 1829 a congregation of nuns called Sisters of S. Maria dell 'Orto. These were devoted to teaching the poor and nursing the sick.

In 1838 he was appointed bishop of Bobbio. He ruled prudently and firmly, helped by the priests of his congregation. He also restored the cult of Columbanus. He died on 8 June. He was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1951. The congregations which he founded have prospered in Italy and elsewhere since his death Feast: 7 June.

Decree of beatification in A.A.S., xvii (1925), 176–9; Lives by L. Rodino (1896), L. Sanguinetti (1925), G. Frediani (1951); see also B.T.A., ii. 500–1; Bibl. SS., ii. 211–15.

Subjects: Christianity.

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