Benedict Menni, our Founder
Benedict Menni offered his whole life for humanity
Benedict Menni offered his whole life for humanity. He pledged all his years for its good.
If you want to know something about him, if you want to know what was his style, the most outstanding characteristic of his strong personality, take a Bible, open it at the Gospel of St. Luke and read:
"There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands. [...] a Samaritan who was travelling that way came upon him and when he saw him, his heart was filled with compassion. He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him"
This man, that Good Samaritan of the Gospel is the most faithful and fitting portrait that can be made of Benedict Menni.
He was born in Milan (Italy) on 11th March 1841, son of Luis Menni and Luisa Figini, the 5th of 15 children.
Together with the family background, which affects the life of every person, four events intervened in his decision to become a Brother of St. John of God:
He entered the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in 1860 and changed his baptismal name of Angel Hercules to Benedict.
He studied philosophy and theology first in the Seminary of Lodi and then in the Roman College (Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome). He was ordained priest in 1866.
Pius IX entrusted him with the complex mission of restoring the extinct Hospitaller Order in Spain, a task that he began in 1867.
After the restoration of the Order in Spain, there followed at the end of the XIX century the restoration of the Order in Portugal, and at the beginning of the XX century, in Mexico.
On 31st May 1881 he founded the Congregation of Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
He was a man of inexhaustible charity with exceptional gifts of government. By the time of his death in Dinan (France) in 1914, he had created 22 large centres: homes for needy people, general hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals. His remains are in the Mother House in Ciempozuelos (Spain).
On 23 June 1985 he was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II, and on 21 November 1999 he canonized him. The Church acknowledges his holiness, which he lived to an extraordinary degree.
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