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Italian Physician for Body and Soul
By Ann Tassone


Love Knows No Boundaries
Using Our God-given Talents
'With Total Integrity'
St. Giuseppe Moscati

Today, many doctors volunteer in impoverished areas of the world, especially through organizations like Doctors Without Borders. People from all walks of life contributed to relief efforts after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and helped with the human suffering left by Hurricane Katrina. Such a selfless spirit has propelled the work of saints around the globe. Doctors who assist in relief efforts can be inspired by St. Giuseppe (Joseph) Moscati.

Moscatiís humble roots and outstanding intellect proved a great combination. He became a doctor at the age of 23, and later a professor at the University of Naples. He never married, but devoted all his time to helping others. He is the first modern physician to be canonized.

It may be easy for us to separate our personal from our professional lives. Sometimes it may seem O.K. that our attitudes at home and at work differ. Work can be seen as an obligation. Moscatiís personal life, however, was full of faith and love, and he took care to incorporate that into his professional life as well.


Love Knows No Boundaries

When I was in high school, my parish youth group had a mission trip every summer. During the time I was exposed to both impoverished conditions and daily Mass, I felt close to God. On the trip, it seemed easier to smile at strangers and give selflessly. When I returned home to the routine, I found it harder to live my faith.

Eventually, I asked myself why the only time that I truly gave of myself was when I traveled to poor areas in distant cities. Why did that matter? I realized that I can give of myself anywhere. Dr. Moscati knew this well.

When Vesuvius erupted in 1906, Dr. Moscati immediately traveled to the area and evacuated the patients from a nearby hospital. Because of his efforts, all of them were brought to safety before the hospital collapsed. Again, in 1911, he used his position as a hospital administrator to help control a cholera epidemic.

As a doctor, Moscati was said to have been as interested in his patientsí spiritual well-being as he was in their physical care. He was known for his love of the poor and his belief that every human being should use his or her gifts not for personal benefit, but to better the lives of those in need.

July 25, 1880 Born in Benevento, Italy

1888 Moved to Naples, Italy

1903 Earned medical/surgical degree

April 12, 1927 Died in his office in Naples

October 25, 1987 Canonized by Pope John Paul II

Giuseppe Moscatiís example from 80 years ago can still easily be admired and emulated today. In applying his personal beliefs in his professional life, he allowed himself to be a true servant of God. He always sought to bring Christ into the field of medicine through his piety and selflessness.

Through Moscatiís story, I am reminded that my talents are God-given. When I use them to help others, I am using all of my potential. I can turn to Giuseppe Moscati for a heartfelt example of balancing two aspects of my life in perfect harmony.

Next: Jeanne Jugan


ďIn his constant rapport with God, Moscati found the light to better understand and diagnose illnesses and the warmth to be able to draw near to those who, in their suffering, looked for sincere participation on the part of the doctor assisting them. From this deep and constant reference to God, he drew the strength that sustained him and that allowed him to live with honesty and rectitude in this delicate and complex setting, without giving in to any form of compromise. He was a head physician in the hospital, but without ambition for positions: If he was appointed to them, it was because his merits could not be denied, and when he occupied them, it was with total integrity and for the good of others.Ē

óhomily from the Mass of canonization


Ann Tassone was an intern at St. Anthony Messenger during the summer of 2006.

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