The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about “My Cousin the Saint” in today’s edition. Religion writer David O’Reilly, whom I met and interviewed with in the Inquirer newsroom on July 25, does an exemplary job. No surprise. He’s among the best religion writers in America.
So why did his immigrant grandparents never talk about the southern Italy they fled a century ago? Had they left some family secret in the impoverished mountain region of Calabria – a home to the Mafia?
They had, but never knew it.
And it was no dark secret at all, but luminous.
The clan they left behind in 1903 had spawned a holy man, the Rev. Gaetano Catanoso, whom the Roman Catholic Church would proclaim a saint in 2005.
And in the course of discovering his long-lost cousin – a parish priest born in 1879 who grew into what he calls an “ethereal, holy being, so virtuous that he is hailed as a miracle worker” – Justin Catanoso would discover his larger family, his Italian roots, and the faith he hardly knew.
“It was an experience that pulled me into the heart of the family,” Catanoso, now a 48-year-old North Carolina journalist, said during a recent visit to Philadelphia. He recounts his journey of discovery in a new book, My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles.
Read the whole story here.