Hannibal Mary di Francia
June 1, Founder


Also known as
    •  Annibale Maria di Francia
    •  Hannibal di Francia
    • 1 June
Third of four children of Francis the Marquises of Saint Catherine of Jonio, a Papal Vice-Consul, a knight, and Honorary Captain of the Navy; his mother was Anna Toscano, an Italian aristocrat. His father died when Hannibal was fifteen months old. The boy developed a devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. At age 17, while in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, he received a call to religious life. Ordained 16 March 1878. Immediately after he moved into the Avignone ghetto, one the most impoverished areas he could find, and began a life’s work with the poor. In 1882 he founded the Anthonian Orphanages, so-called because they were under the patronage of Saint Anthony of Padua; they were noted for their operation as an extended family. In order to expand this work to a much larger sphere of physically and spiritually poor he founded The Daughters of Divine Zeal in 1887, and The Rogationists in 1897; they were canonically approved on 6 August 1926. He believed in the need for a strong priesthood; he started the Holy Alliance and Pious Union of the Evangelical Rogation, worldwide movements of prayer for vocations, and published the periodical God and Neighbor with information about these movements and their work. He worked to be a model for the seminarians who came to work in his schools, and cared for the physical and spiritual needs of his brothers and sisters in the religious life. He was considered a saint during his life, and received a vision of the Virgin Mary just before his death. The groups he founded continue to day, working all over the world in prayer, publishing, orphanages, schools, training for the deaf and mute, care for the aged, home for single mothers, and schools of all types.
    • 5 July 1851 at Messina, Italy
    • 1 June 1927 at Messina, Italy of natural causes
    •    21 December 1989 by Pope John Paul II (decree on heroic virtues)
    •  7 October 1990 by Pope John Paul II
    •  16 May 2004 by Pope John Paul II

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