St. Luigi Scrosoppi’s life bears witness to a great trust in Divine Providence. He was born in the year 1804 in Udine, Italy and entered the diocesan seminary at 12 years old. He was ordained at age 23.
The famine and poverty in Udine inspired Fr. Luigi to care for those most in need. With other priests and a group of young teachers, he dedicated himself to educating poor and abandoned girls in the practical skills of sewing and embroidery, as well as in reading, writing and arithmetic. Nine of these girls decided to take their vows as the first sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence, which Fr. Luigi founded in 1837. The congregation grew, and eventually he opened 12 houses of sisters.
Furthering his priestly vocation, Fr. Luigi entered the Congregation of the Oratorian Fathers, founded by St. Philip Neri, at the age of 42. He continued to guide the Sisters of Providence, dedicating his life to social justice and the poor, including the sick and the elderly. Through his deep union with God, Fr. Luigi was also gifted with the ability to read hearts.
The climate of anticlericalism, which accompanied the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century, suppressed the sisters’ “House of Orphans” and the Congregation of the Oratorian Fathers. However, Fr. Luigi was successful in save the work he and the Sisters were doing with the orphans. In late 1883, he fell ill and was forced to stop working. He died on April 3, 1884.
Special Thanks to the Catholic News Agency for supplying the information on this saint.