Olga's Gallery

Christian Saints

St. Jose de Calasanz (St. Joseph Calasanctius)

St. Jose de Calasanz (St. Joseph Calasanctius), founder of the Order of Piarists, was born 11 September, 1556 in the castle of Calasanza near Petralta de la Sal in Aragon, died 25 August, 1648 in Rome. He received a good education first at home, then in the University of Valencia. In 1583 he became priest in the Diocese of Albarracin.  In 1592 he came to Rome, where he found a protector in Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna who chose him as his theologian and instructor to his nephew. In Rome, Joseph started his famous charity work: he gathered children, who had lost their parents, from the streets and brought them to school of a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In November, 1597, Joseph opened the first public free school in Europe. Pope Clement VIII gave an annual contribution and many others shared in the work, so that in a short time Joseph had about a thousand children under his charge. In 1602, he rented a house at S. Andrea della Valle, where he commenced a community life with his assistants, laying the foundation of the Order of Piarists. In 1612, the school was transferred to the Torres Palace adjoining S. Pantaleone. There Joseph spent the remaining years of his life.  He lived and died a faithful son of the church, a true friend of forsaken children. His body rests in S. Paltaleone. His beatification was solemnized on 7 Aug., 1748, and his canonization by Clement XIII, 16 July, 1767. His feast day is August 27.
See: Francisco de Goya. The Last Communion of Saint Jose de Calasanz.

Recommended reading:
The Book of Saints: The Lives of the Saints According to the Liturgical Calendar by George Angelini, Victor Hoagland (Editor). Regina Press, Malhame & Company, 1986.

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