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Saint Of The Day For November 5: Saint Guido Maria Conforti

Guido Maria Conforti was an Italian Catholic archbishop. He founded the Pious Society of Saint Francis Xavier for the Foreign Missions (Xaverians).

Saint Guido Maria Conforti Story:

Born in Casalora di Ravadese (Parma) in 1865 to parents of excellent Christian sentiments, he entered the seminary in 1876, but his ordination was delayed by seven years due to frequent attacks of epilepsy and somnambulism.

The esteem he won through his ministry earned him the appointment as Vicar General of the diocese at the age of just 28.

In the meantime, the idea of founding an institute to train young missionaries matured within him, which came to life in 1895 under the name of ‘Pious Xaverian Society’, in honour of the great apostle of the Indies, St Francis Xavier.

He also gave impetus to the Missionary Union of the Clergy, of which he was president for several years.

He died on 5 November 1931 of a cerebral haemorrhage, was beatified on 17 March 1996 and canonised on 23 October 2011.

Archbishop of Ravenna

After the death of Cardinal Agostino Riboldi, Pope Leo XIII appointed Conforti to the leadership of the archdiocese of Ravenna, then a cardinal’s see, during the Consistory of 9 June 1902.

He was thus able to forge relations with the bishop of Forli, Raimondo Jaffei, who then welcomed the Xaverian monks into his diocese.

In Ravenna, Bishop Guido Maria found a very challenging political and social situation, but he did not forget his missionary institute in Parma.

The load of work and worries that overlapped the care of the Xaverian Institute, in addition to the difficult problems of the archdiocese of Ravenna, caused him considerable stress with serious health problems, also due to the climate in Ravenna that was not favourable to his physical condition.

By now at the limit of his possibilities, on 10 August 1904 Conforti addressed a letter of resignation as archbishop of Ravenna to Pius X, who had taken over from Leo XIII in the meantime, which the Pontiff reluctantly accepted.

The “Roman” design that Leo XIII had perhaps looked upon with favour now clashed with Conforti’s physical limitations, but, above all, with reasons of the heart, intimately linked to his young missionary institute.

Saint Guido Maria Conforti, Archbishop Bishop of Parma

With his resignation in Ravenna, Mgr Conforti returned to Parma and resided in the Institute he had founded, convinced that he only had a few years to live.

The Bishop of Parma, Msgr. Magani, by now approaching eighty years of age, asked Pope Pius X for a coadjutor bishop with the right of succession and the choice fell on Msgr. Conforti, almost completely recovered in health, three years after his resignation as Archbishop of Ravenna.

The pontifical nomination was made on 24 September 1907, and was announced by Monsignor Magani in a letter to the diocese, in which he claimed the merit of having pointed out to the Pope “a name dear not only to our hearts, but also well accepted and esteemed by our diocesans”.

It was not three months after his appointment as coadjutor that Bishop Magani died suddenly, on 12 December 1907.

Parma had Guido Maria Conforti as its new titular bishop; he took solemn possession of the diocese on 25 March 1908, and governed it uninterruptedly for 24 years, until his death on 5 November 1931.

On 20 April 1927 he was elevated to the honorary title of Assistant Archbishop to the Papal throne.

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