Saint of the Day – 24 July – Blessed Giovanni Tavalli (1386-1446) Archbishop, Friar of the Jesuit Friars of Saint Jerome, Spiritual Advisor – born in 1386 in Tossignano, Bologna, Italy and died on 24 July 1446 in Ferrara, Italy of natural causes.
Giovanni was born into a wealthy family, he undertook studies in philosophy and law, first in Tossignano, then at the University of Bologna. In 1408 he abandoned his studies to enter the Order of the Gesuati – the Jesuit Friars of Saint Jerome.
In 1426 he was appointed Prior of the Convent of the Order, in Ferrara. In 1428 he built the Church of San Gerolamo, intended for his order.
In October 1431, Pope Eugene IV appointed him Bishop of Ferrara even though he was not yet a Priest. Initially he refused but accepted after the Pope’s insistence. He was Ordained a Priest and Consecrated as Bishop on 27 December 1431.
He visited his entire Archdiocese six times, attended the Council of Basel in 1433 and the Council of Ferrara in 1438.
He extended his help in whatever way he could, to help the citizens of Ferrara during a flood and during the plague. It was in these circumstances that he conceived the construction of a Hospital where the sick could find comfort. In 1443 he founded the Sant’Anna hospital to which he dedicated the last years of his life. Today it is the most important and biggest Hospital in Ferrara and it’s province.
He was the Spiritual Advisor to high-level personalities, including Cardinal Niccolò Albergati and Pope Eugene IV .
His cult began immediately after his death and was subsequently approved by Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605). On 19 August 1729, his remains were transferred to the Church of San Girolamo, built in 1428 by Tavelli himself and placed under the main altar. Later, in 1947, these were placed under the altar of the Crucifix, in the first Chapel on the left of the church, where they still rest.
On 20 July 1748 Pope Benedict XIV granted his permission for Holy Mass to be celebrated in his honour in the whole Archdiocese of Ferrara and, the following year, he extended the concession also to the territory of Tossignano .
In August 1846 , shortly after his election, Pope Pius IX , who had been Bishop of Imola, allowed that the relic of the metacarpus of the right hand of Blessed Tavelli, be kept in the Bishopric of Ferrara, was donated to the Church of Tossignanese. Since then, it has been kept in the Cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo in Tossignano. Another relic is preserved in the Diocesan Museum of Pope Pius IX in Imola.
In Ferrara there is also a Parish, in a new neighbourhood, dedicated to Blessed Tavelli.