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St. Luigi Orione

He started a boarding school for poor boys in 1893, when he was only twenty-one. Luigi Orione was ordained April 13, 1895 and the bishop then gave the clerical habit to six boys at his boarding school; this was then the sign that they were entering the seminary. Soon Don Orione opened new boarding houses around Italy, including one in Rome. The group of priests and seminarians who helped him with this work formed the beginning of the Little Work of Divine Providence. In 1903 Church approval was given to his new Congregation of Sons of Divine Providence (priests, brothers, and hermits). The aim of the congregation is to bring people to Christ and the Church through the ministry of charity and to work for the unity of the Churches. The order vows special faithfulness to the pope. Later, Don Orione founded the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, the Blind Sisters, Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Contemplative Sisters of Jesus Crucified, all of which are members of the Little Work of Divine Providence religious family. He also founded lay associations. After World War I, Don Orione’s congregations continued to grow, founding various types of schools and paying special attention to the handicapped and the poor. The order spread to many countries throughout the world and in the 1930s, Don Orione did missionary work in South America. He promoted devotion to the Blessed Mother and his seminarians built the shrine of Our Lady of Safe Keeping in Tortona and another shrine in Fumo. Don Orione suffered heart and lung trouble and in 1940 he was persuaded to go the order’s Sanremo house for the climate. On March 12, 1940 Luigi Orione died surrounded by his colleagues; his last words were “Jesus, Jesus, I am going.” When his body was exhumed in 1965 during his cause for beatification, it was found to be intact. It is now exposed at the shrine of Our Lady of Safe Keeping. Luigi Orione was canonized on Easter Sunday, 2004.

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