Saint of the Day – 3 May – Blessed Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz TOSF (1877-1903) Bishop of Susa from 1877 until his death, Founder of Franciscan Mission Sisters of Susa, Third Order Franciscan, Apostle of the poor, his charism was one totally supported by the Holy Eucharist and total abandonment to Divine Providence and Prayer, Spiritual Director – born on 15 February 1830 in Susa, Piedmont, Italy and died on 3 May 1903 in Susa, Piedmont, Italy of natural causes, aged 73. Patronages – Franciscan Mission Sisters of Susa and of Susa.
Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz was born on 15 February 1830 in Susa, as the fifth of seven children to a wealthy family who had fled the French Revolution. He was Baptised in the Susa Cathedral on 16 February.
During his childhood and youth he manifested a patient, peaceful, profoundly good nature and extended himself for the good of others. Edoardo was poor in health from his birth but he was also endowed with a spiritual fortress that led him to overcome any difficulty. In his gentleness and sensitivity, he favoured the poorest, adapting to their mentality and their way of life, giving himself to everyone and thus grew evermore in love for Christ.
At a very young age he entered the Seminary, showing a deep zeal and a strong docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. He completed his ecclesial studies in Nice, France where he was Ordained to the Priesthood.
As a twenty-four year old priest, he took charge of the social problems he perceived in his territory. He became Canon of the Cathedral Church, Chaplain of the Carceri, Rector of the Diocesan Seminary, spiritual director of various religious families and, finally, Bishop of Susa in 1878. He also opened a retreat house for girls and during this time, he met and became a friend of St John Bosco, who was instrumental in recommending him as the Rector of the Seminary. During this vocational itinerary he decided to become a Franciscan tertiary, living in extreme poverty, great humility and penance. He followed the spirituality of the Seraphic Father Francis in his mission as pastor.
Pope Pius IX appointed him as the Bishop of Susa on 31 December 1877 – at St John Bosco’s suggestion – and the Archbishop of Turin, Lorenzo Gastaldi granted him his episcopal Consecration in 1878 in the Susa Cathedral. He had wept upon learning he was to be made a Bishop and sent a letter to Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli protesting the appointment, mentioning his lack of theological or canon law doctorates. But for his Diocese, he became an example to be imitated, on the path of Christian conversion.
Following divine inspiration, he founded the Institute of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Susa in 1874, with the aim of continuing to face the problems present in the Val di Susa, first of all the reception of young people in difficulty, with a simple Franciscan style that his nuns would live. He adopted as a motto for his “daughters” a famous phrase of St Paul: “Do all so as to win over all to Christ” (Cf 1 Cor 9:19).
In January 1888, he was at St John Bosco’s deathbed in Turin and attended and assisted at his funeral. In 1898 he led Diocesan pilgrimages to Rome and to Turin for the exposition of the Holy Shroud. After attending St John Bosco’s funeral he took part in the Eucharistic Congress in Turin and another in Milan, in 1895.
In the last years of his life he conceived the idea of building retirement homes for elderly and abandoned people. A lot of work and dedication assisted in undermining his already not too robust health. The first signs of illness hit him on 12 January 1903, while visiting the schools of Susa. Finally, after an edifying preparation, on the morning of 3 May 1903 ‘Sister death’ arrived.
His remains were relocated in 1919 to the Motherhouse of his order in Susa. His order received diocesan approval on 2 February 1903 while being aggregated to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin on 9 March 1906. It received the decree of praise from Pope Pius XI on 10 July 1934 and papal approval from Pope Pius XII on 27 July 1942.
On 14 July 1991, in Susa, Pope John Paul II Beatified the Founder by describing him as “apostle of God of Love who responded to the expectations of his brothers, especially the poorest, with the charity of the heart of Christ.”
Today, after over a hundred years, the charism and works of Blessed Rosaz continue to live through the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Susa founded by him with 40 convents and 240 sisters in Italy, Switzerland, Libya and Brazil.