September 7th : S.G. Francis Mary Galluzzi, SJ

S.G. Francis Mary Galluzzi, SJ

Born : Jan 9, 1671
Died: Sept 7, 1731

Francis Mary Galluzzi was born in Florence, Italy. He attended the Jesuit school of San Giovannino there and entered the Roman novitiate of Sant’ Andrea at seventeen. He took his simple vows two years later and began his study of the humanities, resolving to “show more interest in the advancement of piety than in letters; to seek the honour of God more than that of the world and to consider the judgment of angels more than that of men.” After teaching Latin at Loreto and at the Roman College from 1697-1700, and completing his theological studies in Rome, Francis was ordained in 1703.

Fr Galluzzi was a man of great humility. When he was undergoing the Society’s course of studies, he deemed himself unfit for the priesthood and asked to be a brother. However, his superiors thought otherwise. Again after his ordination, he asked to go on the missions, either to some far away obscure parish or to work among non-believers in the New World. Instead his superiors sent him to the centre of Rome in 1706 where for the next seven years he carried on a fruitful apostolate at the Oratory of St Francis Xavier, more commonly known as the Oratory of Fr Gravita, the founder. It is adjacent to the church of St Ignatius and today it is known as Caravita. Fr Galluzzi made himself fully available to Rome’s faithful and the small oratory soon became one of Rome’s busiest churches. He heard confessions, taught catechism, preached sermons, visited hospitals and prisons, directed priests and religious in the spiritual life and gave retreats and missions in the city and suburbs.

He was transferred to the Roman College to be chaplain and student counselor for three years and within that short span, his influence was felt for years later as he sent many vocations to the different religious orders and these religious communities were grateful to him for the youths he had directed to them. In 1716, he returned to his apostolate at the Oratory but retained ties with the Roman College and continued as spiritual father to many of its students.

Fr Galluzzi found time to write three dozen books and pamphlets on saints and holy Jesuits, meditation manuals and novenas. He was responsible for writing the biography of Fr Anthony Baldinucci, his friend, when the latter died in 1716. He also promoted Aloysius Gonzaga’s canonization and later published a biography of the saint after his canonization in 1726. All these work caused him little sleep and to save time Fr Galluzzi ate only one meal a day.

As he grew in age and became feeble Fr Galluzzi had to be taken to the confessional until he was taken seriously ill on August 19, 1731 and forced to be in bed. Since he could not go to his penitents, they came to him, those of high office as well as Rome’s priests and seminarians. So esteemed was he for his holiness that the incumbent superior general of the Society, Fr Michelangelo Tamburini came to kiss his hands and asked him for prayers. Pope Clement XII said that he had never known a priest who burned with so much zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.