St. Gaspar Bertoni was born in Verona, Italy, October 9, 1777. He lived during one of the most challenging periods of history and sought to meet the terrible problems of his time with a response suggested to him from his vivid faith and ardent charity and concern for others.
In his spirit of abandonment to God, and service to the Church, he was guided by the Holy Spirit to found a Congregation called “Stigmatines”, whom he wanted to be “Apostolic Missionaries for the Assistance of Bishops.”
He was a man of deep prayer, much devoted to the Five Wounds of Christ (the Sacred Stigmata) and the Holy Spouses, Mary and Joseph, Patrons of the Stigmatine Congregation. In the course of his lifetime, he was blessed by God with true mystical gifts, which led him to a very sublime level of union with God and service to others.
From the age of about 35, until his death at the age of 76, his life was a long succession of great physical suffering. Many times during this long period he was at the very threshold of death.
Even from his bed, and the long years that he was confined to his room, Fr. Bertoni continued his ministry, as teacher, even as preacher of what we might call “Directed Retreats,” and especially as a minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spiritual guide for the many who sought him out.
The synthesis of his response to God might be summed up in these words: a filial and confident abandonment into the hands of God, even in the most difficult circumstances of his life.
Pope John Paul II declared him “Saint” on November 1, 1989.
The ‘Stigmatine Calendar’ is the result of personal studies on the Congregation’s History, especially from the first House Chronicles and other sources. For the most part, these entries cover the years 1777-1911, emphasizing our early history.
|A Stigmatine Calendar - from 1777 to 1911|
These ‘Early Biographies’ are a translation of the works, sometimes anonymous, of earlier confreres. These men reflected from their vantage point on the Stigmatines who preceded them. These perceptions date back to the memories of Stigmatines who lived a century ago – reflecting on the generation of Stigmatines who would have known the Founder personally as well as our first Confreres.
|Biographies of the Early Stigmatine Community|
A Brief Chronicle [Breve Cronaca]
Original in Italian by Rev. Joseph Fiorio, CSS
The Breve Cronaca made up of two volumes covering our early history from the Founder’s birth  until the establishment of Provinces in the 1940’s, due to World War II. The almost ‘news-bulleting’ style provides much interesting information for anyone interested in the history of the Stigmatine Congregation.
|A Brief Chronicle of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ [1800 - 1941] - original in Italian by Rev. Joseph Fiorio, CSS|
The American Chronicle
The Chronicle of the Stigmatine American Province is the history of the 20th century in the United States from our perspective. This was a stormy period for the Catholic Church, due to ‘Americanism’, and its doctrinal rejection of Pope Leo XIIIth – and due to the ‘Italian Problem’, [cf. the classic, The Madonna on 115th Street], noted by sociologists regarding the influx of Italian immigrants to the USA. The Stigmatines came to the New World in 1905, and by the year 2000, the Community showed clear signs of petering out. However, some important work was done – and some wonderful people passed through our open doors in these nearly 100 years.
By and large, the history of the Stigmatines in the United States is the history of numerous small Italian parishes and these stretched from Vancouver BC to Manassas and Woodbridge, VA – from Timmins and South Porcupine, Ontario in Canada, to a small shrine in the Ozarks out in Arkansas – from Salute Ste Marie in Canada, an Information Center and retreat house – to conducting the diocesan seminary in Guam. The community ran a summer camp, had a wide variety of houses of formation: Waltham primarily – Newton MA, Waterville NY to Wellesley MA, Springfield MA to White Plains NY, the Rectory there serving for less than a year as a Novitiate. The Province provided a flourishing retreat house for many years.
While there was not an unmitigated success, many good Stigmatines from the United States served as Apostolic Missionaries in China, Thailand, Brazil – the Province provided good men for Hospital and Military chaplaincies.Presently a ‘small remnant’ continues the Stigmatine life in the USA under a special legislation, in the retirement house in Waltham MA – and two parishes, one where the Province began [Mount Carmel, Springfield MA] – and Sacred Heart in Milford MA – and with a reduced Provincial Council membership, and a very limited participation in the General Chapters of every six years..
This present Province Chronicle is planned for seven substantial ‘volumes’:
|General Introduction [with geographical locations] of the Chronicle of the Stigmatine North-American Chronicle|
|Volume I: Historical Background and First Foundations|
|Volume II: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Churches - Springfield, MA|
|Volume II: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Churches:: Pittsfield, MA|
|Volume II: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Churches - White Plains, NY|
|Volume III: Sacred Heart Churches - Waltham, MA|
|Volume III: Sacred Heart Churches - Milford, MA [in progress]|
|Foreign Missions - The Retreat House - University and Seminary Professorships [in progress]|
|Formation: Waltham, Springfield, Wellesley and Newton, MA; Waterville, NY [in progress]|
|Volume IV: Personalities [Short Biographies]|