Venerable Francesco Convertini

Venerable Francesco Convertini was born in Italy in 1898.  He was called up for military service during World War I. He was wounded, taken prisoner and transported to Poland. When he returned home he said “yes” to the Lord’s call and decided to become a priest. He joined the Salesian order and set out to India as a missionary. He arrived in India in 1927 and worked most of his life in Bengal. In Bengal, he made a large number of friends and spiritual children, both rich and poor.  He was the only missionary who could enter a house of Hindus or Muslims. He went continually from village to village, on horseback, by bicycle, or on foot with nothing but his backpack.  This way, he could meet many people and talk to them about Christ. He gave himself to all to all equally: Muslims, Hindus and Christians.  Whenever he visited his homeland, Italy, he remained deeply scandalized with the bread that went wasted in the garbage bin, while the numerous children he was caring for in India were dying of hunger.  Fr. Convertini was not a man of theory.  He was very practical and was able to branch out in many directions with the values and ideals of the Gospel.  He understood mercy not as a vague sentimental emotion but in the concrete practice of all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Throughout his life he was able to accept others and meet people with his heart, goodness, and humanity. He was loved by all. He died when he was 78 years old in India and was soon attributed with many miraculous events.  He was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in 2017.