December 2, 2015 – Salesian GHQ
Cause for beatification of the Servant of God Cardinal Giuseppe Guarino
Fr. Pier Luigi Cameroni, postulator general for the causes of saints of the Salesian Family
(ANS – Rome) – Following the request made by Sr. Mary Cerullo, Superior General of the Apostles of the Holy Family, on November 26 Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime gave his permission for the cause of beatification and canonization of the founder of this group of the Salesian Family, the Servant of God Cardinal Giuseppe Guarino, to be taken up by the SDB postulator general.
Giuseppe Guarino was born in Montedoro (Caltanissetta), Sicily, on March 6, 1827. He studied in the seminary of Agrigento and was ordained in 1849. In 1871 he became archbishop of Syracuse, where he won the hearts of the people and revived the fervor of religious life. In 1875 Pius IX entrusted him with the archdiocese of Messina, which he served for 22 years.
He was responsible for the reorganization of the seminary and the active and fruitful service of the religious, male and female, who were called to collaborate in it. In addition, in 1889 he founded a new religious family: the Little Servants (now known as the Apostles) of the Holy Family, entrusting them with the mission to work for the religious and social development of the young and the full development of the family.
He distinguished himself especially by his active charity, which reached the level of heroism during the epidemics of smallpox and cholera that struck Messina between 1885 and 1887. Then on the occasion of the earthquake that devastated the city in 1894, he offered his life to God that the damage and casualties might be limited. On January 18, 1893, he was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He died in Messina on September 21, 1897.
Cardinal Guarino always admired Don Bosco and supported him in his work, even though they were in contact only by letter, and Don Bosco titled him a Salesian Cooperator. One of his biographers wrote of him: “He seemed to be filled with the spirit of Don Bosco. He was affable and gentle with everyone.” He asked Don Bosco to send the Salesians to Messina to work with the young, a request that was met by Fr. Rua in 1893.
The cause of Cardinal Guarino is currently in the Roman phase, where work is being done on drafting the “Positio super virtutibus.” This brings to 29 the number of Servants of God whose cause for beatification and canonization are currently being accompanied by the SDB postulator general.