Blessed Innocent of Berzo

Capuchin Priest

Innocent was born of poor but devout parents. He went to the secular seminary and was ordained to the secular priesthood and was pastor in Berzo. We are told that he preached with zeal and fervour and that his confessional was a haven of many souls. The young priest felt called to the Capuchin order and after great struggles made his profession at the age of thirty.

He showed marked preference for humiliation and solitude. He was cheerful and kind, he was the servant of all. For a time he was rector of the school at Borni. There he inspired the boys to devotion to Mary. He preached at the church that was nearby on Sundays and also heard confessions. Soon his name spread and many people flocked to hear him. To all he was an angel of peace, but the passion of Christ and the Cross were his books and remained uppermost in his mind and heart. Several times each day he would say the Stations of the Cross. His fervour in meditation on the Passion, in saying Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament was so great that he touched even the most hardened sinners.

This priest was a man of prayer. For him it was his life and joy, comfort and strength. To prayer he added heroic penance. His fasts were almost perpetual and his silence all encompassing. His recollection showed all that he was in constant contact with God. By penance in obedience he strove to please and appease Christ for the sins of the world. By his penance the priest brought many sinners to the grace of conversion.

He died when he was only forty five, but his example and works live on. He spoke and radiated Christ and taught us the value of penance and prayer, the lesson of a hidden life with Christ. He died in 1890 and was beatified by Pope John XXIII on Sunday November 12th 1961. His feast is celebrated on April 13th.