Saint Giuseppe Moscati, Saint, Doctor and Miracle Worker

Wow, oh wow!  I was given such a gift on the feast of All Saints and that was being told about a beautiful soul, his name is Giuseppe Moscati.  Faithful Catholic, son, brother, friend,  Doctor, Saint and miracle worker. What I want to share with you is his great gift of intercession just as all the saints in Heaven do but Giuseppe has the gift of interceding for couples hoping to conceive.  When I read this in the article below I just knew I had to share this news with you.  

A male intercessor in Heaven that works miracles for couples having difficulty with conception.  I do not know St. Giuseppe that well but I think getting to know him by asking him to intercede in our daily lives for health, faith and strength to follow Our Lord within our great faith is going to be GREAT.

Hope you will join me in getting to know this beloved Saint and Friend Giuseppe Moscati.  What a treasured gift to receive for this ministry on the feast of all Saints.  Wow!  


Joseph Moscati

Saint, Doctor, and Miracle-Worker

Michael J. Miller

From the Mar/Apr 2004 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine

Giuseppe Moscati (1880-1927), a physician, medical school professor, and pioneer in the field of biochemistry, was canonized in 1987 during the synod of bishops on the laity. Not often is someone with a professional degree from a modern secular university declared a saint. Moreover, it is positively earth-shattering when an internationally acclaimed scientist becomes a certified miracle-worker.

The Holy Father hinted at the connection between sanctity and miracles in his homily at the canonization of Dr. Moscati: “Holiness is man’s union with God in the power of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, in the power of the Spirit of Truth and Love . . . Love has the power to unite man with God. And this definitive love matures through the various works of charity that a man performs in the course of his life.” While some Christians are suspicious of the claim that good deeds bring us closer to God, we have Christ’s own word for it in the Gospel: “Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom . . . For I was sick and you visited me” (Mt. 25:31-46).

The life of St. Giuseppe Moscati illustrates how the Catholic faith and practical charity united a layman with God to such an extent that the power of God ultimately worked in and through him.

Giuseppe Moscati was the seventh of nine children born to aristocratic Italian parents. His father’s career as a magistrate (judge) led the family to settle in Naples. Every year they vacationed in the province of Avellino, his father’s native region, and while there they attended Mass at the chapel of the Poor Clare nuns, with the renowned jurist serving at the altar.

The future saint inherited his father’s piety and intellectual gifts. Giuseppe’s unexpected decision to study medicine rather than law can be traced to an incident during his adolescence. In 1893 his older brother Alberto, a lieutenant in the artillery, fell from a horse and sustained incurable head trauma. For years Giuseppe helped care for his injured brother at home, and as he matured he reflected on the limited effectiveness of human remedies and the consoling power of religion.

When Giuseppe Moscati enrolled in medical school in 1897, the University of Naples—with its openly agnostic, amoral, and anti-clerical atmosphere and its secret societies—was a perilous place for a young Catholic. Moscati avoided distractions, studied diligently, continued to practice his faith, and took a doctoral degree with honors in 1903.

Dr. Moscati then practiced medicine at the Hospital for Incurables in Naples and taught courses in general medicine at the university. Soon he became a hospital administrator. He demonstrated extraordinary skill in diagnosing his patients’ ailments; some colleagues attributed this to his ability to synthesize traditional methods with the findings of the new science of biochemistry.

His approach was indeed holistic, but it extended beyond what can be learned in the lecture hall or the laboratory. “Remember,” he once wrote to a young doctor, one of his former students, “that you must treat not only bodies, but also souls, with counsel that appeals to their minds and hearts rather than with cold prescriptions to be sent in to the pharmacist.”

A flock of interns would follow Dr. Moscati while he made his rounds at the hospital, so as to learn his techniques. While dedicating the Church of St. Giuseppe Moscati in the suburbs of Rome in 1993, Pope John Paul II described the doctor’s method: “In addition to the resources of his acclaimed skill, in caring for the sick he used the warmth of his humanity and the witness of his faith.”

Giuseppe Moscati regarded his medical practice as a lay apostolate, a ministry to his suffering fellowmen. Before examining a patient or engaging in research he would place himself in the presence of God. He encouraged his patients, especially those who were about to undergo surgery, to receive the sacraments.

Dr. Moscati also attended to temporal needs. He treated poor patients free of charge, and would often send someone home with an envelope containing a prescription and a 50-lire note.

On occasion he practiced heroic charity. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in April 1906, Dr. Moscati voluntarily helped to evacuate a nursing home in the endangered area, personally moving the frail and infirm patients to safety minutes before the roof of the building collapsed under the ash. He also served beyond the call of duty during the 1911 cholera epidemic and treated approximately 3,000 soldiers during World War I.

“The holy physician of Naples,” as he was called, also made efforts to “humanize” the medical profession as an institution. He was outspoken in his opposition to the unfair practices of nepotism and bribery that often influenced appointments at that time. He might have pursued a brilliant academic career, taken a professorial chair and devoted more time to research, but he preferred to continue working with patients and to train interns.

In another letter to a student, Dr. Moscati wrote, “Not science, but charity has transformed the world,” explaining that only a few go down in history as men of science, but all can leave the world a better place by their charity.

On a Tuesday in 1927, Giuseppe Moscati went to Mass and received Holy Communion (as he did every day) and then made his rounds at the hospital. After a midday meal he felt weary, lay down, and died peacefully. He was not yet 47 years old.

Giuseppe Moscati was beatified in 1975 and declared a saint by Pope John Paul II on October 25, 1987. His feast day is November 16.

The miracle for his canonization was the inexplicable cure of a young man who was dying of leukemia. His mother dreamed of a doctor in a white coat, whom she identified when her pastor showed her a photo of Blessed Giuseppe. Through his intercession, her son was cured and returned to his job as an ironworker. The young man, Giuseppe Fusco, attended the canonization ceremony and presented to the Pope a wrought-iron face of Christ which he had made.

St. Giuseppe Moscati treated thousands during his lifetime, using natural means. Now that he has gone on to his heavenly reward, he continues to have “office hours” and works amazing cures on a regular basis. The Jesuits who staff theChurch of Gesù Nuovo in Naples, where the saint is entombed, post accounts of new medical miracles at their website ( In recent years, St. Giuseppe has cured a young man who ruptured his spleen in a motorcycle accident, restored to health a youngster who, during a severe asthma attack, turned blue and suffered brain damage, and even helped married couples who were having difficulty conceiving a child.

The miraculous power of the holy physician’s intercession in heaven is explained by his conscientious practice of Christian charity while on earth. As he wrote to a colleague, “Only one science is unshakeable and unshaken, the one revealed by God, the science of the hereafter! In all your works, look to Heaven, to the eternity of life and of the soul, and orient yourself then much differently from the way that merely human considerations might suggest, and your activity will be inspired for the good.”

Michael J. Miller translated New Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church; Volume 2: Blesseds and Saints Canonized by Pope John Paul II During the Years 1984-1987, by Ferdinand Holbock, published by Ignatius Press.
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The Gift

 I travelled to the hospital, my mind full of thoughts: I’m meeting Andy at the park…the kids can play on the swings with him while I am busy…How long will the ultrasound take? Half an hour? We might be home by 6 pm.

It was a day like any other day. A special day because I was to see our baby for the first time. But still, just another day. A secure, a safe, a predictable day. My biggest worry of that day was, “Will we get home in time for dinner?”
I lay on the couch in the ultrasound room. There on the screen was our baby. Oh, he was so beautiful. My heart filled with love and overflowed.
My eyes were on the screen watching our tiny baby floating about in his little cocoon. I didn’t really take much notice of the technician disappearing out the door. A few moments later he reappeared with a doctor.
And then life which is always so precariously balanced, as if on a knife’s edge, dipped and then turned upside down. Everything was tossed high up into the air, and when it all fell back down again, everything looked the same but was not the same. Life would never be the same again.
“I’m sorry. We’ve found a problem with your baby. He has a diaphragmatic hernia.” A compassionate look, a touch on my arm, and the doctor continued. “The internal organs have moved through the hole. They are in the lung cavity. There won’t be enough room for the lungs to grow.”
“Even if there wasn’t a hole, the lungs haven’t had a chance to grow much anyway,” I stammered, trying to understand. “There’s lots of time…Something can be done.”
“I’m sorry…nothing… There is a very small chance that your baby will survive but I don’t really think that is probable. It is unlikely that he will have enough lung tissue for independent breathing.”
My mind froze. I couldn’t think properly. I struggled to make sense of it all. Not enough lung tissue? That meant death. The baby would die? How could he die?
And suddenly I understood clearly. It rolled in and hit me hard. I was trapped down a one way street. I couldn’t return. I couldn’t go back those few short minutes to a time which was safe and predictable and held promise. No, I was heading down a long, dark tunnel towards sorrow and nothing could save me.
I knew it didn’t matter what I wanted. It didn’t matter that I was frightened like I’d never been before. It didn’t matter that I thought I would probably die under the weight of the suffering. It didn’t matter if other people had a choice about whether to continue their pregnancy or not. Me? I had no choice. I could not kill my baby. I knew what was right and what was wrong. I had a gift, the gift of my Faith.
It was never suggested to me that I abort my baby. I was so fortunate. Why was an abortion never suggested? I’m not sure. Perhaps the doctor realised I would never agree. Perhaps the doctor, who had looked so gently and compassionately into my eyes, as he gave me the unwelcome news, was the kind of doctor who could never kill a child.
The ultrasound was over. I stumbled off to the bathroom, still dry eyed. But as soon as the door closed behind me, the flood gates flew open. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sobbed noisily and uncontrollably.
Of course Andy knew something was wrong as soon as he saw me. “Our baby is going to die!” And even though Andy enfolded me in his arms and covered me with his love, I knew he couldn’t change anything. He couldn’t save me. He couldn’t protect me. He couldn’t bring back my safe world.
I started praying for a miracle of healing for our child. I could not give birth, hold our baby, watch him die and bury him. It was more than I could cope with. I was not that strong. And so I could not accept the prognosis. I thought, “It’s up to God. God can heal my baby. God is more powerful than the doctors. It doesn’t matter what they say. I know there is a possibility that God will intervene and save my baby. He knows I am weak. Perhaps…”
The doctors would not talk about miracles. They wanted me to prepare myself and our children for death. They would not give me hope.
Over the next few months I prayed and I prayed. Every prayer I could think of. If only I filled my prayer bucket, God might grant me a miracle.
And then gradually I began to accept the situation. I began to add, “If it is Your will, Lord,” to my pleas for healing. “I am willing Lord to give you my baby. But please don’t ask me. You know how weak I am. I will not survive.”
It was a very long five months. I could not think past the birth. Whenever I did, I saw a dead child I was too frightened to hold. I saw a tiny coffin. I saw a yawning, open grave. I saw a terrified woman bowed down by grief.
And then right at the last moment, the fear receded a little and I began to feeI excited. I had come to the realisation that our baby couldn’t stay safely within me forever. I began to wonder what he would look like. I began to anticipate meeting our child for the first time. Perhaps God had healed him anyway and there’d be no need for sorrow and tears. God gave me this period of calm and hope just before I had to face the trauma of his birth.
Thomas was born. He had not been healed. Within seconds of his birth, he was being wheeled away to the neonatal intensive care unit. “Wave to Mum!” said the nurse cheerily as she pushed our baby out of the room. But I could not see him. He was too far away. My eyes were too full of tears.
It was some hours before we could visit Thomas. We had to wait until the doctors had stabilised him before we were allowed to enter the unit and meet our new son.
There he lay surrounded by whirring equipment. His face was partially obscured by a tube. He’d been put into an unconscious state to keep him immobilised and to reduce the stress on his little body.
I stood and looked at him through the tears rolling down my face. He was beautiful Just beautiful. He looked perfect despite the tubes and wires. There was no sign on the outside that he was imperfect on the inside. And I thought, “How could anyone contemplate killing a little baby. This is the same baby I saw on the ultrasound all those months ago. He is now a lot bigger. But he is the same baby. I couldn’t kill him now. I couldn’t have killed him then.”
Thomas only lived 28 hours. He died in my arms, his family around him.
We thought we’d suffered greatly during Thomas’ pregnancy. That suffering was nothing compared to that which descended upon us after Thomas died. All my nightmares became reality. Sorrow and grief were waiting for me, waiting to pull me down into a pit of despair.
Eventually joy did return to life. I did survive despite thinking I wouldn’t. God knew me better than I did. He knew I had more strength than I cared to admit. He gave me His own strength. He knew I could give birth and then watch my baby die. He knew I could hold my dead child and then bury him. Because He knew how much I loved my child. You can do anything when you love.
And so life returned to ‘normal’. But it was not the same life I used to know. No. Life had changed forever. On the outside I look the same. Not many people would suspect the presence of grief locked away in a safe, secret place within me. But it is there.
I often think about what might have happened had we not had the gift of Faith. What if we’d had no support from our family and friends? What if we’d terminated Thomas’ pregnancy? What if we’d killed our son?
We would not have avoided any of the suffering. But the suffering might have been compounded by guilt and uncertainty. We might have asked, “What if he had survived? What if we’d killed him and God intended to save him?”
But there is another reason I am so very glad we were blessed with this gift. Faith enabled me to continue with Thomas’ pregnancy and give birth to our baby. And so we got to meet our son. We were able to hold him in our arms. We got to kiss him and whisper, “I love you Thomas!”

Was Thomas aware of this love? Did he know how very difficult it was for us to say goodbye? Did he know how much we wanted him? I am sure the answer is “Yes”.

Please share my stories on my blog, Sue Elvis Writes