MY COUSIN THE SAINT
A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘miracles’

Penn State basketball

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

There are all kinds of miracles, it seems. This blogger points out one that seems reasonable.

Beatification buzz

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

In the news: “According to the Italian daily La Stampa, John Paul II will be beatified on April 2, 2010 — the fifth anniversary of his death. Reporter Giacomo Galeazzi reports that thanks to an acceleration in the beatification process, documents pertaining to John Paul’s cause, called the “positio,” have already been forwarded by a commission of theologians to be examined by cardinals.“This is very good news,” says Msgr. Tadeusz Pieronek, the Polish priest who has been responsible for the diocesan phase of the beatification process in Krakow, La Stampa reported.” The whole story is here.

St. Jeanne

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Albany Times Union reports here: “…Jeanne Jugan, a lowly kitchen maid who took care of the poor and elderly in a French village in the 1800s, has been selected for sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI. She will be canonized on Oct. 11 after a decades-long review by the Vatican that included her beatification in 1982.”

Hawaii’s saint

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

VATICAN CITY — A 19th-century Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii, and died of the disease, will be declared a saint this year at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. Story here.

Miracle on the Hudson

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Plane Splashdown HomecomingMany people will always believe that the safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River a few weesks back was nothing short of a miracle. The pilot, Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, a genuine American hero, offers another explanation here.

Is it really a miracle?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

The Independent reports: “Pope Benedict was this week reported to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of “pseudo-mystics” who claim a hotline to God. Like many within the traditional hierarchy, he is afraid that these witnesses end up in conflict with the Church and lure the Catholic faithful out of the pews and into cult-like groups…New guidelines are being drawn up for local bishops on how to tackle (apparitions). It is the biggest clampdown on phoney apparitions and their associated industries for decades. Pope John Paul II was sometimes criticised for his love of miracles, and the outpourings of popular devotion that come with them.” The rest of the story is here

The Saint’s Room

Thursday, January 8th, 2009


Video by Michael Frierson, UNC-Greensboro. Shot on location in Reggio Calabria.

Coming soon

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

The blog Not Strictly Spiritual writes: “I took (My Cousin the Saint) off the shelf recently, suggesting that Dennis (whose family also happens to hail from Avellino) read it, but in the process I opened it up and read the first three pages. That was it. I was hooked. Not only is the story great, but the writing is amazing. I’ll post a full review once I’m done with the book, but I can tell you right now that this book will be worth your time.”

The full post is here.

Vincenzo Infortuna, mi’amico

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Vincenzo Infortuna
I received a call at home this morning from Reggio Calabria. It was sad news. Vincenzo Infortuna, the 49-year-old husband of my cousin Caterina Catanoso, and father of Domenico and Manuela, died earlier today at his home in Reggio from complications of ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Vincenzo appears in my book several times, initially in Part II during our first family trip to Italy nearly five years ago, and then again in Part III, when I returned to Calabria in June 2006 for research. Vincenzo was a wonderful man — vibrant, generous and soulful. My first night back in Reggio, when I was uncertain my relatives knew why I was there or how much I needed their assistance, Vincenzo told me at dinner: “Whatever you need, we will help you; wherever you need to go, we will take you.”

And they did, for three solid weeks. Even though Vincenzo was traveling to Torino for treatments(and was already partially paralyzed from his ALS), he made time to take me and Germaine, my friend and interpreter, to Roccaforte del Greco to meet Anna Pangallo, the peasant woman who received the second Vatican-certified miracles from Padre Gaetano Catanoso. The photo above was taken in the Aspromonte of southern Calabria, on our way to see Anna Pangallo. It was a memorable day at so many levels — not the least of which was spending the entire day with Vincenzo (Caterina had me over for dinner that evening).

Near the end of my visit, Vincenzo spoke to me at length, and from the heart, about his illness, about his love for the Catanoso family and about his abiding faith in Padre Gaetano. He told me of his prayers for a miracle cure and humbly explained why he believed he was worthy. And perhaps as much, if not more, than my Catanoso cousins, Vincenzo helped me understand truly what it means to have a saint in the family. I have heard from many readers who were touched by Vincenzo’s eloquence and inquired with me about his health. It is gratifying for me to share his story and message of faith with so many others.

When my wife and I traveled back to Calabria earlier this year to visit our relatives and share with them copies of my book, we got to visit with Vincenzo and his family. His condition had grown so much worse since the summer of 2006. ALS is such a progressive, unforgiving disease. But his eyes and face lit up when I was able to show him where I wrote about him in my book, and where his photograph appeared. I will never forget that smile. Nor will I forget Vincenzo. But I will miss him very much.

Ciao mio caro amico.

Doctors and prayer

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Dr. Bolignano
In June 2006, I interviewed a most extraordinary doctor, Giuseppe Bolignano (above), a virologist at the metro hospital in Reggio Calabria. A few years earlier, he had given up on a patient who seemed to have been defeated by an awful case of meningitis. He advised the family to pull the plug. Instead, they prayed overtime to Padre Gaetano Catanoso. When this patient arose from her coma, her inexplicable recovery was later deemed by the Vatican, and Pope John Paul II, as a miracle — the miracle which led to Padre Gaetano’s canonization on October 23, 2005.

During my interview with Dr. Bolignano, I asked him about the line between science and religion, between the cold facts of biology and the mystical nature of the supernatural. His response: “There is a line that is incredible and unexplainable, and when you cross it, there is nothing else left but faith.” Bolignano’s faith is strong, even for an accomplished scientist. While his colleagues at the hospital are skeptical, he is not. He believed he witnessed a miracle.

This story came to mind when I heard about this survey, which reports that fewer doctors believe in the importance of every day prayer.