St. Ludovico of Casoria
March 30, Saint


An apprentice cabinet maker as a youth, Arcangelo joined the Franciscan Friars Minor on 1 July 1832, taking the name Ludovico. Priest. Taught philosophy and mathematics to young friars in Naples, Italy. He began working with the poor, founding orphanages and dispensaries. Around 1852 he opened a school dedicated to educating young Africans who had been ransomed from slavery. Founded a school for the deaf and the mute. Established centers for the care of elderly friars. In 1859 he founded the Frati Bigi della Carita (Gray Friars of Charity) to take over work at the institutions he founded; they received Vatican approval in 1877, worked in Italy and with Italian immigrants in the United States, and were disbanded in 1971 due to a lack of members. In 1862 Ludovico founded the female equivalent, the Suore Elisabettiane Bigie (Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth; Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth), who continue their good work today in Italy, the United States, Ethiopia, India, Panama and the Philippines.

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