There’s a doctor-saint in heaven that has successfully interceded for several of my medical related intentions. He promptly answered my request for finding a compassionate pediatrician, helped find treatment to mysterious symptoms, and even obtained a cure for our family.
Born in Italy in 1880, Saint Giuseppe Moscati practiced medicine in the early twentieth century. He was a well-loved and renowned “doctor of the poor” who treated poor patients pro bono and sent them home with a prescription and a fifty-lire note. A brilliant scientist, his research led to the discovery of insulin as treatment for diabetes. He risked his own life by saving would-be victims of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. St. Giuseppe’s extraordinary holiness stemmed from his ardent love for daily Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady. Aside from teaching science to his students, he taught and modeled spirituality. To his colleagues, he summed up his lifelong understanding of the medical profession as a “sublime mission,” reminding them:
“…suffering should be treated not as a twitch or a muscular contraction, but as the cry of a soul, to whom another brother, the doctor, runs with the ardent love of charity.”
No wonder this saint responds to prayers with speed and compassion from his vantage point in eternal life!
The book “St. Giuseppe Moscati, doctor of the poor”, written by Antonio Tripodoro, S.J. reveals more details about this saint to admire and emulate. It contains significant testimonies evidencing his virtues of charity, humility, piety, knowledge, wisdom and chastity. Tripodoro also recounts the miraculous cures St. Giuseppe wrought through his intercession and collates the saints’ private writings, which bare the spiritual heights of his soul. Most notable is St. Giuseppe’s unforgettable advice for workers in the medical field:
“The sick are the faces of Jesus Christ. Many unfortunate wretches, delinquents and blasphemers come to be admitted to a hospital by an arrangement of the mercy of God, who wants them to be saved! In the hospitals, the mission of the nuns, the doctors and the nurses is to collaborate with this infinite mercy by their help, forgiveness and sacrifice.”
“St. Giuseppe” is a fast and interesting read, factual more than spiritual or theological. It is basically a condensation of the documents that were considered in the cause for his canonization. Though not as emotionally powerful as the biographical movie on the saint’s life, it’s still a thorough source on St. Giuseppe.
I am enthusiastically passing along St. Giuseppe’s inspiring story to both patients and doctors among my family and friends. The medical profession, and the sick and suffering world in general, needs more heroes like St. Giuseppe. Anyone who learns about this saint will appreciate why his life story is relevant for contemporary times. His legacy teaches us:
“Life is an instant; honors, triumphs, riches and knowledge fail, before the fulfillment of the cry of Genesis, the cry flung by God against guilty man: ‘You shall die!’ But life does not end with death, it continues in a better world…”