Luigi Novarese was born on July 29, 1914, in Casale Monferrato (Northern Italy), the youngest of nine children. His family are farmers; and his father, Giusto Carlo, dies the next year so the family is raised by his mother, Teresa Sassone.
In 1923, Luigi, age nine, is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, bone tuberculosis. His doctors say it is a hopeless situation and there is no cure. His mother Teresa is determined to save him and intensifies her work using every penny to cure her dying son. She is also a very devout Catholic and prays to Our Lady asking for Luigi’s recovery, but doctors tell her to be resigned to Luigi’s terminal illness. His doctors will be proved wrong.
Luigi follows his mother’s footsteps in her devotion to Our Lady and writes a letter to Father Filippo Rinaldi, leader of the Salesians Order, asking that he and his students pray for him. Father Rinaldi tells Luigi that they will ask for the intercession of St. John Bosco and Our Lady Help of Christians. On May 17, 1931, at 17, Luigi leaves the hospital for the last time mysteriously recovered.
During his numerous hospital stays, Luigi decides that he will become a doctor if he recovers. All of this changes in 1935 with his mother’s death, He realizes the great possibility of serving the Lord by uniting suffering with that of the resurrected Lord’s and enters the Seminary of Casale Monferrato, Italy. He will later complete his studies at the Capranica College in Rome and is ordained a Priest on December 17, 1938, at St. John Latern Basilica in the same city where he will spend most of his life. On May 1, 1942, Msgr. Giovanni Battista Montini, Vatican Under Secretary of State and the future Pope Paul VI, asks Father Novarese to join his staff where he will remain until May 12, 1970.
Msgr. Novarese sees that many priests have been wounded or are sick because of World War II and he wants to help them. So he founds the Marian Priest League on May 17, 1943. He extends his activities four years later by founding the Apostolate of the Suffering (CVS) with the aid of Elvira Myriam Psorulla, a young woman born in Haifa in Palestine who comes to Rome to aid her sick uncle. The aim of this Association is completely new and innovative because the sick are no longer people to be helped, but active participants in society offering and uniting their suffering with that of Christ’s. Then in 1950, Msgr. Novarese founds a third essential group, the Silent Workers of the Cross composed of men and women, priests and laity, who consecrate themselves totally to the suffering by actively aiding and educating the diversely able on the Christian concept of pain. In that same year, The Anchor magazine begins its monthly publication focusing on the member’s spiritual growth. Finally, Msgr. Novarese realizes that strong arms are necessary to carry out all of the Association’s numerous spiritual activities and meetings so in 1952 he founds the Brothers and Sisters of the Sick made up of healthy persons willing to share their time aiding the diversely able in all apostolic endeavors.
The Apostolate’s Aims
The Silent Workers of the Cross have communities in Rome and Valleluogo, Italy, (the Mother Home of the Apostolate). Msgr. Novarese sees the need for a Church without barriers for the spiritual growth of the diversely able and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sanctuary in Re, (Northern Italy), is begun in 1952 and completed in 1960. Every year thousands of participants come to Spiritual Retreats here.
Ten years later, His Holiness, Pope John XXIII puts Msgr. Novarese in charge of the Chaplains of the Italian Hospitals. During this period, Msgr. Novarese organizes different professional schools in Balerna, Switzerland; in Italy: in Arco, in Condino, in Valleluogo, in Moncrivello where the diversely able can learn a job in bookbinding, appliance repair or horticulture becoming active members in society.
In 1970, Msgr. Novarese leaves the Vatican Secretary of State and is put in charge of the Health Sector of the Italian Bishop’s Conference. He remains there until 1977 when he completely dedicates himself to the Apostolate of the Suffering. In his final years, he builds communities abroad, organizes conferences on religious and scientific themes bringing doctors and nurses together for discussion and plans Spiritual Retreats for psychiatric patients.
Msgr. Novarese passed away on July 20, 1984, at Rocca Priora (Rome), Italy at the Silent Workers of the Cross’ Community dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He is buried in St. Mary’s Suffrage Church (Via Giulia, 59) Rome, Italy.
His cause for beatification began on September 17, 1989, and concluded on May 11, 2013, with a celebration at St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, Rome, Italy.
- Prayer To Obtain Favors
- Pope Francis’ Speech (May 17, 2014)
- The Path to luigi Novarese’s Beatification
- Un miracolo per intercessione del Beato
- The Spirit tha Cures the body
- Mrg. Novarese’s Conferences and Workshops
- Blessed Luigi Novarese Talks about Being Sick
- The Novarese Family’s Life