On November 7, 2017, the ordinary meeting of the Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted the recognition of the heroic virtue of Servant of God Marcellino of Capradosso (1873-1909), religious of the Province of the Marches. The cause began seventy years ago! In fact, the ordinary process of the reputation for holiness of the new venerable was introduced on July 29, 1948 in the diocese of Fermo and concluded on November 30, 1954. The results were given to the Sacred Congregation of Rites on January 30, 1956. According to the procedure of the time, on November 29, 1957, the supervisor of the cause was appointed and the votum super scriptis was issued on November 24, 1959. On February 19, 1971 the Chancery of the Congregation turned in the Public Copy. Following the norms given by Blessed Paul VI in 1965 and then by St. John Paul II in 1983, the whole process needed to be updated. After making a historical investigation, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the decree on the juridical validity of the processes on January 13, 1995. On July 7, 1998 the Positio super vita virtutibus et fama sanctitatis was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the normal procedure. The Positio was discussed by the Historical Consultants on April 16, 2012 and then, with some added documentation requested by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on February 28, 2017 by the Theological Consultants.
On November 8, 2017, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree.
Giovanni Maoloni, our Marcellino of Capradosso, was born on September 22, 1873 in Villa Sambuco di Castel di Lama (Ascoli Piceno) to Pasquale Maoloni and Serafina Caioni, the fourth of six children. Soon after Giovanni was born the family moved to Capradosso for work. Due to the modest means of the family, Giovanni could not attend school, his hands being more needed in the fields, but he learned to read and write on his own. His pastor, Fr. Giovanni Michelessi, guided him the spiritual life, having recognized in the youth a generous and pure heart.
Like all young people his age, Giovanni thought of starting a family, but the draw of the religious life grew in him strongly. His father, who was by this time older and losing his strength, prudently asked him to wait until his younger brother Emidio grew up and would be able to take over the agricultural work and the support of the family. Accepting his father’s wishes, Giovanni waited three years.
Finally, on April 6, 1902, at the age of twenty-eight, Giovanni was able to follow his vocation and went by night to the friary of the Capuchins in Ascoli Piceno. There his older brother Vincenzo came after him, determined to dissuade him from his purpose, even violently. Giovanni let himself be struck and did not respond. Ten days later he began the novitiate at Fossombrone, receiving his new name: Br. Marcellino of Capradosso. After an intense and austere formation—this is also the time of his struggles with the devil and his Marian visions, which gave even his superiors a sense that he was strange—he made simple profession on April 27, 1903. At the end of novitiate Br. Marcellino was already a mature man of thirty, exercised in virtue and in prayer, with great natural gifts, a hard worker, always prompt in obedience and ready for choir, and dedicated to penance—including self-flagellation. He was then sent to the friary of Fermo, where there was a formation fraternity.
Br. Marcellino’s main activities were not explicit obediences but a series of jobs normally given to newly professed lay brothers: kitchen helper, where without any experience he was not the best; gardener, where he succeeded very well thanks to his earlier experience of agricultural work; and infirmarian, where he was always kind and solicitous toward the sick.
Judged mature in his vocation and strong in virtue, he was charged with questing, which brought with it long periods of absence from the friary in which he often slept and ate as a guest of families and of canons. During this time he always brought a good word to the people he met and often fasted until afternoon in order to receive the Eucharist.
Br. Marcellino’s emblem was the sack he carried on his shoulder, a sack that opened both doors and souls. Little by little his reputation as an excellent religious got around and was accompanied by the small extraordinary signs that are typical of the Franciscan tradition of the fioretti: rotten fava beans that became good once again, empty casks tapped for wine, or how Br. Marcellino carried alone another cask that was very heavy.
He went to both rich and poor without distinction, asking charity for the friars for the love of God and giving spiritual gifts in exchange, for what we do not deserve is what we need most. Br. Marcellino’s questing was a wonderful work of evangelization in the rural context that he himself knew very well.
Among the most intense and meaningful moments of Br. Marcellino’s simple life was his assisting of a young confrere, Br. Serafino of Pollenza, who was gravely ill with tuberculosis. Br. Marcellino cared for him materially and spiritually for about six months, comforting him with words of faith and charity according to his natural kindness toward others in pain, others whom he made his own and whose pain he never tired of trying to relieve.
Finishing his service to the sick, Br. Marcellino asked to go to the mission in Brazil, but there the Servant of God became ill himself with abdominal tuberculosis. On August 24, 1908 he recovered at the Umberto I Hospital in Fermo where he underwent, without chloroform, a surgery that left an open wound to allow the discharge of pus. The Servant of God accepted these great sufferings without complaint and with a joyful spirit, smiling, proclaiming himself the happiest man in the world in his peaceful self-abandonment to Jesus. During the last two months he could no longer stand was completely bedridden, and so passed into continuous prayer and self-sacrifice, giving thanks for all the moments of care he received.
Discharged for the hospital, Br. Marcellino died in the friary on February 26, 1909 after receiving Extreme Unction and Viaticum. He embraced his illness for the love of Christ, always keeping the glory of Paradise before his eyes.