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Saint John Baptist de Rossi - May 23

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Giovanni Battista de' Rossi (22 February 1698 – 23 May 1764) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest. He served as the canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin after his priest cousin died, and he was a …More
Giovanni Battista de' Rossi (22 February 1698 – 23 May 1764) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest. He served as the canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin after his priest cousin died, and he was a popular confessor despite his initial fears that his epileptic seizures could manifest in the Confessional. Rossi opened a hospice for homeless women not long after his ordination, and he became known for his work with prisoners and ill people, to whom he dedicated his entire ecclesial mission.
Rossi's canonization was celebrated on 8 December 1881. It had begun decades before but was suspended due to tensions in Europe that meant work could not be pursued regarding the cause; it was later revitalized and he was beatified in 1860.
Giovanni Battista de' Rossi was born at the beginning of 1698 in Voltaggio as the last of four children to Carlo de' Rossi and Francesca Anfosi who were poor but pious.
His initial education was under the care of the two priests Scipio Gaetano and Giuseppe Repetto who noted his potential and brilliance and held him as their favorite student. In 1708 he met a noble couple (Giovanni Scorza and Maria Battina Cambiasi) from Genoa after a Mass who took him in as a page after noting his potential - after his father approved - and he went to school there until 1711. But his father's sudden death in 1710 saw his mother plead with him to return home but Rossi was firm in his resolve to continue with his studies; his sole brother (older than him) died not long after their father. Rossi met two Capuchin friars at the Scorza residence one evening (he had begged to meet them) who thought well of him and offered to help him continue his studies. He had known the friars - or of them - for an uncle was one of them as he mentioned to them. At the suggestion of his cousin Lorenzo de' Rossi - the canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin - he travelled to Rome in 1711 in order to commence his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits (he first had to receive his mother's permission). Rossi also studied at the Dominican College of Saint Thomas (underwent his philosophical and theological studies under them). It was around this time that he joined the "Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles". On one occasion he attended Mass but fainted and was found to have had suffered an epileptic seizure; this would be something he would have to grapple with for the remainder of his life and it meant he would not be able to attend classes sometimes due to the tiredness and the pain.
His desire to become a priest was strong but was hampered due to his suffering of epileptic fits which would exclude one from the priesthood in normal circumstances. Nonetheless he was granted a special dispensation on 3 March 1721 and was ordained to the priesthood soon after on 8 March. He worked in Rome on behalf of homeless women who wandered the streets while being careful to the needs of the sick while helping to found a hospice for homeless women near Saint Galla's. He also aided prisoners and workers and became an ultra-popular confessor. Rossi became known as a second Saint Philip Neri and he was known for a strong and special devotion to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.