Blessed Gennaro Sarnelli

Bl. Gennaro Sarnelli (1702 – 1744) was born to a noble family in Naples, Italy. He was very well educated, and completed his doctorate in civil and canon law at the age of 20. He gave much of his time to caring for the incurably sick, through which he discerned a call to the priesthood. He was ordained in 1732. He became good friends with St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists. Shortly afterward, Blessed Gennaro became a Redemptorist priest. Gennaro's special work was preaching to those who were the most spiritually deprived, while also caring for the temporal needs of impoverished children. He was a great defender of the dignity of women, and worked intensely to free women and girls from forced prostitution. Blessed Gennaro was also a talented writer, penning over 30 books ranging in subjects such as theology, law, prayer, spiritual direction, and contemporary moral issues. He worked so hard that his health suffered, and he died when he was only 42 years old. He was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1996. His feast day is June 30.
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