Bl. Antonio Grassi
Oldest child in a devout family. Antonio’s father, Vincenzo Grassi, died when the boy was only 10 years old, but he managed to pass on his devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. Antonio, who attended Mass each day as a boy, joined the Oratorian Fathers at age 17 where he showed a natural talent for the study of theology and Scripture. Priest.
At age 29, while praying in the church of the Holy House of Loreto, Antonio was struck by lightning; he was not expected to survive, but recovered completely. He took his survival as a gift from God, to be used in God‘s service; he also donated his scorched clothes to the church of the Holy House as an offering, and he made a yearly pilgrimage to the Holy House. He devoted himself entirely to his priestly vocation, especially hearing confessions, and was given the gift of reading consciences.
Pilgrim to Rome, Italy in 1625. Elected superior of the Oratory in Fermo, Italy in 1635; he was re-elected every 3 years for the next 36 years. With penitents he insisted on adherence to the laws of God, with brother Oratorians he added the constitutions of the Order, but he was alway supportive and kind everyone, never severe, and encouraged the same behavior in priests and parishioners. Instead of social engagements to which his position entitled him, Antonio spent his evenings visiting the sick and dying.
Old age was a hard and humbling time on Father Antonio; his spirit was not only willing but eager, but his body began to break down. When he lost his teeth his speech became difficult to understand, and he gave up preaching; when his hearing began to fail, he gave up hearing confessions; and a fall eventually led to him being confined to his room, unable to visit the other sick and elderly. But he bore it all as part of the gift he had been given.