Saint of the Day – 9 November – Blessed Ludovico Morbioli (1433-1485) Penitent, Preacher, Ascetic.
The oldest biography of Blessed Ludovico is a poem composed between 1485 and 1489 by Bl Baptist of Mantua, who lived in Bologna for many years.
Ludovico belonged to a family of the lower middle class. His father was called
Francis of Anthony, his mother Agnes and these were blessed with six children, five
boys and one girl. Ludovico was born in Bologna in 1433. His youth was happy and carefree, with little thought for God and his religious roots, nor did his life change after his marriage with Lucy, daughter of John Tura.
In 1462 he moved to Venice, where he was struck by a serious illness, taken into the hospice of the Canons Regular of St Saviour, he underwent a profound spiritual crisis that resulted in a radical change in his life. He probably returned to Bologna in 1470 and aroused admiration and amazement for his austere and penitent conduct. He separated from his wife, put on a plain grey habit, much like that of the Carmelites (hence the erroneous affirmation that he was a Carmelite tertiary), which he afterwards changed for a white one with a cross on his breast and which he wore both summer and winter. He went through the streets of Bologna preaching penance and mortification and accompanied those condemned to the scaffold. He visited other cities of Emilia (Modena, Ferrara) on a mule. He travelled the streets holding a cross in his hand and preaching penance.
He spent his last months in a basement that he transformed into a cell like those in convents. When he became ill, he refused every relief. He died at Bologna on 9 November 1485, aged 52, as he himself had foretold.
He was buried in the cathedral of St Peter. Although a popular cult to him began
immediately after his death, his bones were not found in the restoration of the
cathedral, which occurred under Gabriel Card. Paleotti (1566-97). Already in 1582, Ludovico was inscribed in the catalogue of saints of Bologna and Card. Paleotti included him in the Archiepiscopalis Bononiensis /Of the Archdiocese of Bologna/ in 1594. Under Jerome Card. Boncompagni a regular process of canonisation was begun (1654) but the work was never brought to a conclusion. In 1843 his cult was permitted for the diocese of Bologna and for the Carmelite Order, which erroneously claimed him as one of its tertiaries. The liturgical celebration at Bologna is fixed for 17 November as an optional memorial.
Blessed Ludovico’s Beatification received full approval on 24 October 1843 after Pope Gregory XVI confirmed the late penitent’s longstanding and enduring local ‘cultus’, with his memorial prescribed for today.