Saint of the Day – 15 August – Blessed Aimo Taparelli OP (c 1395-1495) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers, widower and father, Reformer., spiritual writer. He served as an Inquisitor-General for his order in the Lombard and Liguria regions of Italy and became a travelling preacher in northern Italian Cities. Born in c 1395 at Savigliano, Piedmont, Italy and died on 15 August 1495 (aged 100 years) at Savigliano, Piedmont of natural causes. Also known as – Aimone Taparelli, Haymo Taparelli, Elmo. Additional Memorial – 17 August, in Savigliano of which Town Aimo is the Patron. His name means “defends the house with the sword.” Aimo was Beatified on 29 May 1856 by Pope Pius IX.
The Roman Martyrology reads today: “In Savigliano in Piedmont, Blessed Aimone Taparelli, Priest of the Order of Preachers, tireless defender of the truth.”
Aimo was born around 1395 in Savigliano to nobles who were the Counts of Lagnasco. The Tapparelli, one of the oldest families of Savigliano, boasted illustrious Ecclesiastics over the centuries.
Aimo first pursued a career in law and was married and a father. But soon became a widower, mourning both the death of his wife and his children. Aimo felt the call to the religious life instead.
He felt the call to the religious life and to this end he studied at Turin, graduating in Theology and Sacred Scripture. Embracing complete self-denial, he entered the Order of Preachers at Savigliano in 1441 at the San Domenico Convent.
From his earliest years, he engaged in an intense apostolate. He was a worthy son of St Dominic, for the effectiveness of his sermons and for the austerity of his life. When the clear fame of his virtues reached the Savoy Court, Duke Amedeo IX wanted him to be his Chaplain and Confessor. He was then appointed Professor at the University of Turin (lecturer in Theology).
He returned to Savigliano and was appointed as the Inquisitor-General for his Order in the Lombard and Ligurian regions. He was appointed as such to replace the murdered Fr Bartolomeo Cerveri. He carried out this delicate task with care and tireless preservation of the Catholic faith, strengthened by the example of his previous confreres in this role, who had suffered martyrdom in carrying out this mission. In the case of Blessed Antonio Pavoni (1325-1374), he personally organised his honourable burial .
In 1468 he became Superior of his Convent and then Prior of it in 1483. He was confirmed twice as the Inquisitor-General in 1483 and in 1489 and finally, Aimo was appointed as the Provincial Vicar. As he defended the values of Catholicism, his zeal in restoring and confirming discipline within the Order was equal, so much so that he is remembered among the most ardent reformers of the fifteenth century.
However, he also loved solitude and when he could, he retired to a small hermitage in Verzuolo, where there was a Chapel dedicated to St Cristina, 5 kilometers from his Convent.
Aimo composed various religious writings and promoted the cult of the Mother of God, towards whom,he always nourished deep devotion.
In 1495 at almost 100 years old, Aimo predicted his death. A pious legend tells that the Angels warned him that it would take place on the Feast of the glorious Assumption of the Virgin. In bed, reciting the Office, he pressed the Crucifix to his heart and, having received the Sacraments, he expired saying “To serve God is to reign.”
The Friars in choir, read the introit of the solemn Mass. With difficulty they removed the Crucifix from his hands while a crowd had already gathered at the Convent.
Aimo was buried in the choir, in a new tomb, where the faithful, who soon wanted his relics, could go to pray. Some brought wax tablets as ex-votos. Two extraordinary miracles are well remembered – the healing of a woman’s mother from cancer and the conception of a child, in old age, of a couple believed to be sterile. They were from the Genola family and the newborn, who was given the name Aimo, would become an illustrious scholar.
At the beginning of the 19th century his remains were brought to St Domenic Church in Turin. Pope Pius IX, on 29 May 1856, approved the cult, setting its memorial of the Blessed Aimo for 17 August, which date is still honoured in Savigliano.
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