Saint of the Day – 17 October – Blessed Balthassar of Chiavari OFM (1420–1492) Religious Priest of the Order of Friars Minor of the strict observance, Confessor, renowned Preacher, Professor of Theology, Superior General. Born in 1420 in Chiavari, Genoa, Italy as Baldassare Ravaschieri and died on 17 October 1492 in Binasco, Milan, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – Chiavari, against gout.
He was a great friend of Blessed Bernardine of Feltre (1439-1494) and he enthusiastically and successfully joined his preaching campaigns. (Blessed Bernardine’s life here: https://anastpaul.com/2020/09/28/saint-of-the-day-28-september-blessed-bernardine-of-feltre-ofm-1439-1494/
After his Ordination and his work in the Seminary as a Lecturer of Theology, he was appointed as the Guardian (Superior) of the Monastery of Chiavari and Provincial General of the province of Genoa. Unfortunately, his work was interrupted by his ever-deteriorating health after he developed gout but this did not stop his pastoral activities completely. When he was too ill to walk, he made sure that he was carried into the Church so that he could assist at Mass and the Office and he developed a special service in the confessional. Large crowds flocked to the city to confess to him and to receive spiritual guidance.
To gain some time and peace for his own spiritual needs, he used to be carried out into the nearby forests, where he stayed for periods of meditation and reading. During one of these periods, he was granted a vision of the Virgin Mary and it was said that he was miraculously sheltered from a dangerous snowfall, the spot he was sitting in, remained free of snow.
He distinguished himself in all the virtues of a good religious, practiced the greatest personal severities, fasted much and considered it a real pleasure to be accounted the last among his brethren.
After he had completed his term in office, Blessed Balthassar of Chiavari withdrew to the Convent at Binasco. There he devoted himself entirely to the contemplation of heavenly things and to the salvation of immortal souls.
We can also labour for souls by our good example. While Balthassar was a Superior in the Order, he set a good example to his brother friars. Words stir people but example carries them away, says a Latin proverb. Hence, St Paul says to Timothy: “Be an example to the faithful in word, in conversation.” (I Tim 4,12).
He died on 17 October 1492, aged 73, in Binasco between Milan and Pavia in northern Italy. His mortal remains were moved from there to Pavia in 1805. A local cult developed very quickly and it has continued ever since. He was Beatified on 8 January 1930 by his cult being confirmed by Pope Pius XI. Blessed Balthassar is honoured in the Diocese of Pavia on 25 October.