Saint Riccardo Pampuri


‘Nourish great wishes, and look for great sanctity; aim at ever higher goals, so that you can hit the right mark; but, since you won’t always have to carry out glorious tasks, do every tiny little thing with great love’ My program should be the following: doing the Lord’s will all the time, by accomplishing my duties in an indefatigable fight’. It’s the 28 January 1928. The year after, Saint Riccardo Pampuri died, while only 32. The lines above, addressed to his sister Luigina, a missionary nun in Egypt, explain all his life as a vocation to sanctity in tiny things, to be reached by doing well one’s daily duty (and all this not in accordance to the world’s mentality, but for the human glory of Christ, present in the Church), by worshipping and serving His Presence day by day through the simple offer of himself, and by sharing the mystery of suffering he encountered in each of his patients, whom he regarded as brothers. That’s how he lived: first of all in Trivolzio, in the house of his uncle and aunt who brought him up, and in Pavia while attending the university, then in Morimondo, as the town doctor, and finally in the Order of the Brothers of Saint John of God – the Fatebenefratelli hospital order – in Milan and Brescia. All his life developed in a few square miles in the foggy Lombard countryside, without heroic gestures, since daily things had become heroic to him. And this ‘normal’ saint might upset us, but, if we go through his life and deeds – as the Meeting exhibition does, a hundred years after his birth – we will find in him a companion who enlightens our way, by showing us what is worth living for, i.e. belonging to Christ. Saint Riccardo, in fact – the holy little doctor, as the people in Morimondo used to call him – never became a stranger to reality; on the contrary, he was totally immersed in the condition and the conditionings of his age, which, however, he faced with the attitude and creativity he derived from his faith in Christ. He did so first in Pavia, engaging himself in the Catholic university club ‘Severinus Boetius’, where Catholics tried to oppose the religious agnosticism of the intellectual milieu; and then in Morimondo, where the youth, but actually the whole village, gathered around him, and not only because he paid for the bills and drugs of poor patients. As one of the witnesses in the canonisation trial said, ‘He never indulged in boastful prayers or devotions. On the contrary, he talked about God and the Blessed Virgin straight from his heart, as if they were well-known people, his father or mother. To him this was a deeply felt reality, which he couldn’t live without’. It is therefore natural to ask this holy doctor for the miracle of a healing and the grace of the conversion of our hearts, as we would do with a wiser elder brother. And he often listens to the prayers of many among those who go to Trivolzio (where his body is buried) to ask for a miracle, as they witnessed themselves.’


24 Agosto 1997 - 30 Agosto 1997


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions