Beato Marco Antonio Durando (1801-1880)

Published by San Paolo, Genoa, Italy, 122 pages, 9 €

The usual waiting for the beatification of Fr. Durando stirred up bibliographical interest in a figure who, as little by little one gets to know him, never stops surprising us by his being completely in tune with our Founder. The numerous writings of Durando lead directly to St. Vincent. Thus, one understands why calling Fr. Durando the “St. Vincent of Italy” is not rhetorical.

Finally, on the eve of his beatification, a new volume on Fr. Durando appeared, written by Fr. Luigi Chierotti, almost the only biographer who has done an in-depth study of the new Blessed. (See also, the most complete biography of Blessed Durando, in its 3rd edition of 565 pages with numerous illustration plates). This book, published by Editions San Paolo, is composed, in the first place, of ten small chapters on episodes in the life of Fr. Durando, the events of Turin's Risorgimento, and especially his spiritual journey, which is an exceptional testimony in the Church of his time and in the Vincentian Family. The other 100 pages of the book read at one sitting, and we discover a man remarkable for his intelligence, his wisdom, and his capacity to govern.

One wonders how he could, during his not brief lifetime, but with rather scarce means of transportation, perform such a quantity of particular and concrete works in order to affirm the faith through charity, and with incredible initiatives that seemed very daring to the 19th century's common sense. We owe to Fr. Durando the arrival of the Daughters of Charity in Italy in 1833. The difficulties that he had to overcome prove his complete confidence in Providence and the real boldness of his charity. We also owe to him the spread and the organization of the Congregation of the Mission in Northern Italy, which worked in the popular missions and the formation of the clergy. It is again thanks to him that the work of the Ladies of Charity in 1835, the “Misericordie” for the poor, and the Children of Mary were established. Even if the work most his was the foundation of the Nazarene Sisters to care for and watch over the sick in their homes, nevertheless it is difficult to find in the Turin of the 1800s a work of the Church which had not benefited from his care, his interest, and his priestly attention.

Taken from: “Échos de la Compagnie,” n° 9-10: septembre-octobre 2002

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