Blessed Thomas Maria Fusco
Feast date: Feb 24
Thomas was born to a noble family in 1831 in Pagani, Italy. He was the seventh of eight children.
When he was only six years old, his mother died of cholera. A few years later, his father also died.
His uncle, a primary school teacher, took charge of Thomas’ education.
The canonization of St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1839 stirred aspirations for the priesthood in Thomas’ heart.
He entered the seminary in 1847 and was ordained a priest in 1855.
Immediately Thomas opened a morning school for the formation of boys and organized evening prayers for youth and adults.
During these years, Thomas nurtured a deep devotion to the crucified Christ and to his Blessed Sorrowful Mother because of the deaths of his uncle and younger brother.
In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his home to train priests for the ministry of confession. That same year he also founded the priestly Society of the Catholic Apostolate for missions among the faithful.
In 1873, Thomas was deeply moved by the plight of an orphaned street girl. After careful discernment, he founded the Congregation of the “Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood”.
For the remainder of his years, he was completely dedicated to his priestly ministry, preaching spiritual retreats and missions, teaching catechism to youth and organizing prayer for young people and adults at his parish. He worked to build a strong devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus among the people he served.
In 1891, Thomas died of liver disease at the age of 59.
The cause for his beatification was opened in 1955 and the decree of his heroic Christian virtues was published in 2001.
At Thomas’ beatification, Pope St. John Paul II presented him as “an example and a guide to holiness for priests, for the people of God and for his spiritual daughters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood.”