The Catholic Defender: Saint Theophilus of Corte
(30 October 1676 – 17 June 1740) - born Biagio Arrighi - was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and a professed member from the Order of Friars Minor.
If we expect saints to do marvelous things continually and to leave us many memorable quotes, we are bound to be disappointed with Saint Theophilus. The mystery of God’s grace in a person’s life, however, has a beauty all its own.
was ordained to the priesthood in Naples at the convent of Santa Maria La Nova on 30 November 1700.
Theophilus was born in Corsica of rich and noble parents. As a young man, he entered the Franciscans and soon showed his love for solitude and prayer. After admirably completing his studies, he was ordained and assigned to a retreat house near Subiaco.
Inspired by the austere life of the Franciscans there, he founded other such houses in Corsica and Tuscany. Over the years, he became famous for his preaching as well as his missionary efforts.
Though he was always somewhat sickly, Theophilus generously served the needs of God’s people in the confessional, in the sickroom, and at the graveside. Worn out by his labors, he died on June 17, 1740.
Aflame with love, Saint Theophilus of Corte fostered special devotion to the sufferings of Christ and the Mother of God. His days and even nights were spent in visiting the sick, assisting the needy, giving advice, and hearing confessions. No obstacle was insurmountable to him when there was question of doing good, no roads were too difficult to traverse, no weather was too inclement, no fatigue or infirmity too exhausting.
The cause for his canonization opened after his death in 1750 and Pope Benedict XIV named him as Venerable on 21 November 1755.
The cause culminated on 19 January 1896 after Pope Leo XIII beatified him while Pope Pius XI later proclaimed him to be a saint on 29 June 1930.
There is a certain dynamism in all the saints that prompts them to find ever more selfless ways of responding to God’s grace.
As time went on, Theophilus gave more and more single-hearted service to God and to God’s sons and daughters. Honoring the saints will make no sense unless we are thus drawn to live as generously as they did. Their holiness can never substitute for our own.