VATICAN CITY — Among those being canonized Sunday is Father Francesco Spinelli, a diocesan priest through whose intercession a newborn was saved from death in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The child was born April 25, 2007, at a hospital in Kinshasa served by the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament
The newborn and his mother were discharged three days after the baby was born. But on her way home, the mom tripped and instinctively clutched the baby to herself, but did so so hard that she induced a severe hemorrhage.
Returning to the hospital, the doctors tried to help him for 45 minutes. In order to save him, they had to give him an emergency blood transfusion. But the baby’s condition was so bad that his veins were thinning, which made the procedure impossible.
Given the lack of technology at the hospital and the impossibility of quickly transferring him to another hospital, the doctors gave the baby up for dead.
While this was going on, Sister Adeline, the Adoration sister in charge of the hospital’s maternity unit, noted the serious condition of the baby and asked her community to pray that the child would survive.
The superior of the congregation, Sister Antonietta Musoni, asked the intercession of Father Spinelli, and they began to prayer a novena to him.
Sister Adeline placed a holy card of Father Spinelli under the baby’s sheets, and when the doctors made a final effort, they miraculously found a vein just as big as an adult’s to give the blood transfusion.
With just three or four drops of blood, the baby began to kick and cry. He completely recovered in a few hours.
The parents, realizing the miracle obtained through the intercession of the founding father of the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, changed the name of their son from Ambrosio María Díaz to Francisco María Spinelli Díaz.
The child has grown up to be healthy, with no after-effects from that episode. Medical exams performed on the child during the process of investigating Father Spinelli’s cause demonstrated his perfect state of health.
Francesco Spinelli was born in Milan April 14, 1853. He entered the seminary at Bergamo and was ordained a priest Oct. 17, 1875.
He began his apostolate educating the poor; and at the same time he served as a seminary professor, spiritual director and counselor for several women’s religious communities.
In 1882, Fatther Spinelli met Caterina Comensoli, with whom he would found the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.
The sisters dedicated themselves to Eucharistic adoration day and night, which inspired their service to the poor and suffering.
Due to several setbacks, Father Spinelli transferred from the Diocese of Bergamo to the Diocese of Cremona, where he continued to lead the Adoration Institute in Rivolta d’Adda.
The priest died Feb. 6, 1913, and was buried in the church of the Adoration Sisters in Rivolta d’Adda. At that time, the institution had founded 68 communities in different countries.
Currently, the institute has around 250 communities in Italy, Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Colombia and Argentina. Their ministries include caring for people with HIV, orphans, drug addicts and prisoners.
Father Spinelli was beatified by St. John Paul II June 21, 1992, at the Marian Shrine of Caravaggio.
He will be beatified Oct. 14 at the Vatican, along with Paul VI, bishop of Rome from 1963 to 1978; Oscar Romero, a martyr who was archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 to 1980; Vincenzo Romano, a diocesan priest from Torre de Greco in Italy; Maria Caterina Kasper, a German nun and founder of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ; and Nazaria Ignazia of St. Teresa of Jesus, founder of the Congregation of the Misioneras Cruzadas de la Iglesia Sisters.
This article was originally published by CNA’s sister agency, ACI Prensa. It was translated and adapted by CNA.