Words of Wisdom

Blessed Luigi Guanella said...
Plant your heart in Jesus Crucified and all the thorns will seem like roses.


Chronology of Father Luigi Guanella


December 19, 1842

Luigi Guanella was born in Fraciscio di Campodolcino, in the province of Como, Italy, and a few hours later, on the morning of December 20, was baptized in St. John the Baptist Parish, in Campodolcino.

June 24, 1849/50

On one side of the Church of St. John the Baptist, he saw a poor old man begging who then suddenly disappeared.

April 8, 1852

On this day, Holy Thursday, he recieved his First Holy Communion.  Later in Gualder, he was shown by the Blessed Mother a "vision" of his future charitable works.

November 4, 1854

He started his grammar and humanity studies at Gallio Academy, in Como.

November 4, 1860

He entered the Seminary of St. Abbondio.


During his summer vacation, Luigi took his first trip to Turin, where he to know Cottolengo's Institution and met St. John Bosco.

May 26, 1866

Luigi was ordained a priest by Bishop Bernadine, M. Frascolla, Bishop of Foggia, who was a political exile in Como.

May 31, 1866

He celebrated his First Solemn Mass in Prosto, in the province of Sondrio, where he was appointed to serve his first year of priestly ministry.

May 17, 1867

He started his ministry as an acting pastor in Savogno, a suburb of Prosto.  He organized and taught as its sole licensed teacher in the town elementary school.

January 6, 1872

His booklet, "Familiar Advices...," dedicated to Bishop Carsana was published by St. John Bosco as one in a series of books called "Letture Cattoliche," which caused a strong reaction from the local anticlericals.  At this time St. John Bosco invited Father Luigi to join him in Turin.

January 29, 1975

Father Luigi joined St. John Bosco, being accepted as a Salesian the previous month.  During his three years with the Salesians he served as Vocation Director for Late Vocations, Director of the House in Trinita di Mondovi, with duties of preaching, teaching catechism and as a teacher in their seminary of Valsalice.

September 16, 1878

At the expiration of his vows, Father Guanella returned to the Diocese of Como upon his Bishop's request and was appointed Assistant in Tranona, Valtenllina.

May, 1879

He purchased a former monastery in Traona in which he conducted a private, free school, which he was later forced to close by the government.


From 1880 to 1887 he published a series of popular little
ascetic-moral books.

November 16, 1880

A governmental decree deprived him of pay due him from the municipality as an Assistant Pastor.  This decree was lifted on December 7, 1882.

March, 1881

The police monitored all his preaching.  At this time the friction between Father and the civil authorities reached its highest point.  The civil authorities forced the Bishop to transfer Father Guanella to the isolated little town of Olmo di Chiavenna, in the province of Sondrio.

August 26, 1881

Father Luigi left for his new assignment in Olmo di Chiavenna

November, 1881

Appointed by the Bishop, Father Luigi moved to Pianello Lario, in the province of Como, getting away from the interferences of the civil authorities of Sondrio.


He took charge of a little Home just begun by Father Coppini, his predecessor.  From the work of this little home, the new Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence had its beginning.

August 7, 1885

First attempt to expand this Work by establishing a newe House in Ardenno Masino.  It failed because of outside interferences.

April, 1886

Beginning of the Work in Como, with [Blessed] Sr. Clare Bosatta.

April 20, 1887

[The Blessed] Sister Clare Bosatta, died in Pianello.  The process of her beatification were started in 1912.

February, 1888

First attempt to establish his Work in Rome, in the former Pious Schools close to Our Lady of Rest, Madonna del Riposo.  It failed because of a general ordinance by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome prohibiting new foundations.

June, 1890

Beginning of the Work of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in Milan, with Kindergartens and a Home of St. Ambrose ad Nemus

 November 12, 1891

Father Luigi started construction of the Sacred Heart Shrine in Como, the first church built by him.


He published the "Principal Norms for Internal Regulations," the first rules for his two Congregations.  After some changes, they were followed by:

  • the "Constitutions for the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence" in 1907, temporarily approved in 1908 and then definitively in 1917;
  • after a series of Regulations, by the "Constitutions for the Servants of Charity," in 1907 and the Regulations of 1910.  The "Decree of Praise" of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity was granted in 1912.

January 22, 1895

Ordination of the first priest for the Servants of Charity:  Fr. Peter Moroni.

November 1, 1896

Serious fire, perhaps arson, in the House of Como, with no fatalities.

November 18, 1896

Beginning of the House of the Sisters in Belgioioso, Pavia.

June 20, 1897

Establishment of the House of St. Mary in Lora, Como, which later became the generalate of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence.

May 6, 1898

Establishment of a church for the Italian immigrants in Splugen, Switzerland.  Father Luigi, for the same purpose, took charge of the Church in Andeer, in the Reno Valley, Switzerland.

December 8, 1898

Beginning of a kindergarten and a House conducted by the Sisters in Roveredo, Switzerland.


On the occasion of the world-wide celebration in honor of Alexander Volta, Father Guanella suggested the construction of a beacon, above the city of Como. Vico Necchi was the president of the Committee for the celebrations.  During the
celebrations, Father Guanella hosted the cleric, Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII.

October, 1899

The Servants of Charity opened an institution for boys in Roveredo, in the Grisons Canton, Switzerland.  The Sisters opened a House in Capolago, in the Ticino Canton, Switzerland.

December 8, 1899

Opening of the House staffed by the Sisters in Stimianico, Como.

March 1, 1900

Beginning of the Hose of the Holy Family staffed by the sisters in Fratta Polesine, Rovigo, at the invitation of Bishop Anthony Polin, a friend of Father Guanella.

July 28, 1900

Father Guanella started the charitable social Work of Pian di Spagna by reclaiming an abandoned and malaria infested land on which he founded a new town, Nuova Olonio.  There he established and institution for mentally retarded and on May 5, 1901 blessed the status of Our Lady of Work.

August, 1900

In the midst of great difficulties brought about by the Protestant-environment, Father Guanella brought back the Catholic Mass in the Bregaglia Valley, Grisons Canton, Switzerland, in a temporary chapel, and later built the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 1904.  In the same valley he established another church in Vicosoprano, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, its magnificent marble altar was donated by St. Pius X in 1910.

September, 1900

Beginning of the Sisters' Work in Ardenno Masino, Sondrio, with a kindergarten, oratory, and Home for mentally retarded girls.

April, 1901

The Belgian Countess of St. Rocco donated her house and gardens in Menaggio, on Lake Como, for mentally retarded girls.

March, 1907

Opening of the House of Saronno, Varese for the Sisters.

March 24, 1908

In Como, first Religious Profession of the Priests, Servants of Charity.

November, 1908

Father Luigi accepted the Institution for boys in Ferentino, Frosinone.

December 12, 1908

He could not go personally to Messina, the site of the terrible earthquake, but welcomed many of those made homeless in his Houses.

January, 1909

Beginning of the parochial activities in Rome of St. Joseph al Trionfale.  Father Aurelius Bacciarini appointed his first Pastor.

March 19, 1909

Father Luigi accepted the institution for boys in Gatteo, Cesena.

Fall, 1909

Beginning of the Houses in Carpignago, Pavia, and Musso, in Lake Como.

October, 1909

Opening of the House staffed by the Sisters in Trecenta, Rovigo.

Spring, 1910

Beginning of the House in Trenno Milanese which was later moved to Albizzate, Varese.

August 4, 1912

He participated in the International Marian Congress in Trevers, Germany, where he read a report on his Works.

December 12, 1912

With a magnificent hand written letter of recommendation from Pius X, Father Luigi left for the USA to lay groundwork for a new Foundations.

February 2, 1913

Canonical establishment of the Pious Union of the Death of St. Joseph, a crusade of prayers for the dying, with millions of members enrolled.

May 3, 1913

Departure of the first sisters for North America to Chicago.

December 28, 1913

Dedication of the House staffed by the Sisters in Laureana di Borrello, Calabria.

October, 1914

He decided to establish his last foundation:  the House staffed by the Sisters in Berbenno di Valtellini.

January, 1915

With Father Aurelius Bacciarini, Father Luigi rushed to Marsica, devastated by an earthquake.  Those few days of extreme cold and hard labor in the mountains and in the snow were the beginning of his failing health.

July 2, 1915

The Provincial Deputation of Como granted to him a golden medal for his good social and charitable service to the needy.

September 27, 1915

Father Guanella was struck with paralysis, which, along with other illnesses, caused his death.

October 24, 1915

Father Guanella died in Como at approximately 2:15 p.m.

October 25, 1964

Luigi Guanella was beatified by Pope Paul VI.

(Text Credit:  Mazzucchi, Leonardo. The Life, the Spirit and the Works of Father Louis Guanella.  Trans. Father Peter Di Tullio, S.C.  Broomall, PA:  Havertown Printing Co., 1980.)

(Image Credit:  Congregazione Figlie di S. Maria della Provvidenza, http://www.cgfsmp.org/)


Back to Top

   Site Design © Copyright 2006. Interspire Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved.