St. John Baptist de Rossi is the first instance in modern times of the canonization as Confessor of a priest belonging to no Religious Order or Congregation. He was born at Voltaggio, a little town north of Genoa, February 22, 1698. From the first he was distinguished by his piety and purity.
At the age of eighteen he received the Tonsure and the following year Minor Orders. When he was twenty-three years old he was ordained a priest.
His confessional was besieged by eager penitents, but always the most poorest and most ignorant. The rich and noble he put off, saying that they could find confessors in plenty.
His devotion to the poor and ignorant was remarkable. He sought out the most abject and abandoned people and pursued his work of Christian charity with such zeal as to merit the title of “Venator Animarum” – the hunter of souls. He died on May 23, 1764.
(Adapted from Fr. Butler”s Lives of the Saints)
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