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Saint Bernardino Realino

I have no desire for the honors of this world but solely for the glory of God and the salvation of my soul.

Saint Bernardino Realino

Saint Bernardino was born on December 1st, 1530 in Capri, Modena, Duchy of Moden and Reggio. He came from a well off and noble family with his father being a frequent collaborator of Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo. When he entered his formal schooling in Bologna, Saint Realino initially studied law and philosophy but a woman he had fallen in love with at the time told him that he would make an excellent lawyer and so he switched mid term to study law. He graduated with a doctorate in both civil and canon law in 1556.

The same year of his graduation he was appointed as the podesta of the Cassine and Felizzano cities and served as judge in Felizzano. He quickly gained a reputation for being both extremely smart and very fair. He moved to Naples a few years later to act as the superintendent of the fiefs of the Marquis and it was in Naples that his life would forever change it's trajectory. One day in Naples he over heard a sermon being preached by a visiting Jesuit priest. The sermon so moved him that he afterwards he sought the priest out and asked to hear his confession. The priest invited him to join the Jesuits in an upcoming week long spiritual retreat for discernment when Saint Realino expressed a longing interest in the spiritual life.

On October 13rh, 1564, Saint Realino joined the Jesuit order and begain his period of the novitiate. His ordained to the priesthood came on May 24th, 1567 and he had made his formal vows to the order the year before. In 1574 he was assigned to the Jesuit house and college in Lecce. Several years later, in 1583, Saint Realino began a movement for priests to foster their virtues and to improve their moral educations so that they could more effectively serve as confessors and preachers. In 1610, Saint Realino fell and injured himself terribly. For the next six years these wounds troubled him, never fully healing. Blood was drawn from one of the leg wounds and placed in a glass vial shortly before he began to feel very ill. By June of 1616 he was left on his death bed and given his last rites. On July 2nd, 1616, Saint Realino died. Tradition holds that for many years after his death his blood would continue to liquify.

Saint Roberto Bellarmino, when informed of Saint Realino's death, said:

"I have never heard a complaint about Father Realino though I have been his provincial; even those who were ill-disposed to the society who seized every opportunity to speak unfavorably of it always made exception for Realino. ...Everyone knows that he is a saint".

Saint Realino was declared Venerable on July 31st, 1838 by Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Leo XIII beatified him in Saint Peter's basilica on January 12th, 1896. He was formally canonized a saint on June 22nd, 1947 by Pope Pius XII who also named him the patron saint for Lecce. His remains are preserved in the Chisa del Gesu in Lecce.

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