Spirituality for Today – August 2009 – Volume 14, Issue 1

Saint of the Month

St. Bartholomew Mary Dal Monte – August 26

A photo of Bologna, ItalyBologna, Italy

Bartholomew was the son of a rich banker. He was born on November 13, 1726 in Bologna, at that time part of the Papal States. The 18th century was not a good time in the country's religious life. Under the influence of the rational ideas of the Enlightenment and due to the collapse of morals, piety was significantly weakened. The intellectual elite were reserved about religion, while the faithful were generally uneducated. Although there were many priests in the Papal States, their qualifications and commitment to ministry work were far from ideal. Some preachers, mainly monks, started to teach intensively, aiming at religious enlivenment. This movement was later called popular missions. Masses were often held and sacraments given in the main squares of towns and villages.

At the same time, missionaries provided spiritual teaching for local priests. This ministry was carried out by both members of existing orders and by specially founded institutes. Diocese priests also joined these activities and Bartholomew Dal Monte was one of them. He entered a seminary in his home diocese and was ordained in 1749. For two more years, he deepened his theological knowledge.

In 1751 Bartholomew obtained the title of doctor of theology and set out on a long missionary path through hundreds of localities in 62 dioceses in central Italy. He also established the Pious Missionary Work, an institution educating future popular missionaries. He financed it with money he inherited from his father. He died on December 24, 1778.

Pope John Paul II beatified him on September 27, 1997 in Bologna.

You through the apostolic zeal of Bl. Bartholomew
converted numerous souls to the true faith
and encouraged many feuding hearts to reconcile.
Grant that his intercession helps us live in Your peace
and praise You with more and more fervor.
Through Christ our Lord.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives